At the celebrations for World Teachers’ day, held at the end of October, Ms Karen Bonini, our retiring Head of Life and Faith, provided the staff reflection. Her words were inspirational and touched beautifully on what it is that motivates and drives teachers. With her permission, these words are reproduced for all to contemplate.
At the outset, I want to make it absolutely clear that we teachers recognise that we are so ably supported by a vast army of people who contribute in so many ways, either directly or indirectly, to our being able to do our job. There can be no equivocation – you count. So to the Property Services team, our Admin staff, Student Receptions, our Canteen staff, our Music and Tech staff, school officers, Naomi and Elizabeth, Maree and our IT team, we share this day with you because you support us in our support of the students.
And speaking of students...I became a teacher 20 years ago and since that time, when chit chat has been happening at social gatherings and people ask the “and what do you do for a living?” question and I tell people I’m a teacher, I’m inevitably met with the same response: “Oh I don’t know how you teachers do it...'.
Over the years I’ve realised that it’s the not ‘how do we do it’, but rather the ‘why do we do’ it that I find has given me the most food for thought. In my heart of hearts, I know I do it for the following reasons, and also know from the countless conversations I’ve had with so many of you that you feel as I do.
So, why do I do it? First, I do it because I love the teaching profession. We are in the most pivotal position in society. We are the repositories of knowledge who then go on to help others to become repositories of knowledge.
Second: I do it because I love the teaching profession. I firmly believe that our profession makes a contribution to the future of society. We don’t always get to see the outcome of our work, but we have been at the coalface of education providing the necessary academic plinths upon which our students can stand.
Third: I do it because I love the teaching profession. At a time when there is so much devaluing of our profession, it never ceases to amaze me that when some institute releases data that endeavours to cast negativity on us, or the latest statistic that seeks to demean us, or the most recent hyperbolic statement about ‘blah’ that implies a lack of ability on our part, we still manage rise above and get on with our job, with collective dignity in the face of misrepresentation of the classroom teaching realities in the 21st century.
So, my fellow CHAC teachers and staff, today is the specific day to remember that we should always be proud of what we do. Today we celebrate our being a community of contributors to the future, whether in the classroom or as an adjunct to the classroom. Today we acknowledge the possibilities we help to create. Today we can publicly respond to the question with pride ‘why do we do it?'.
We do it because it is worth doing.
Happy World Teachers’ Day.