In my days teaching in both rural and city schools, there were many times when I had to rapidly respond to a changing environment or circumstances around me – shifting my focus or ways of doing things – to create the best opportunity for the students in my care. However, as a teacher, I never experienced what we have seen in 2020.
When school students were restricted to their homes due to COVID-19, Cairns West State School Deputy Principal Cathy Nixon and her team quickly escalated their letter box visits, stopping outside house gates to check in with families and children.
In outback Queensland, Bymount East State School Principal Craig Brims delivered lessons via a drone to pupils, and many remote, rural and regional teachers cancelled their Easter holiday plans to remain in their teaching communities, to keep them safe.
Mackay District Special School teacher Amy Freeman, like many of her colleagues across the state, started posting video lessons on social media for families to use with children.
At John Paul College, in Logan, Year 1 teacher Michael King could feel the sense of unease rising as everyone packed up for a learning-at-home start to Term 2. The former musician, together with the College’s counsellor, decided to film an impromptu performance of ‘What a wonderful world’, which they posted on social media. The song uplifted his entire school community’s spirit.
Teachers have always, and will always, be committed to their students’ education and welfare, but COVID-19 highlighted the extent of that dedication. This Friday is World Teachers’ Day and this year Queensland is celebrating the diversity of teachers. In a year where everyone has done it tough, I would like to thank Queensland teachers for their exceptional work – going above and beyond to ensure 2020 counts just like any other for children’s learning.
At a moment’s notice this year, teachers had to completely change the way they delivered lessons to maximise students’ opportunities to learn. Teaching is complex. It requires deep content knowledge, patience, creativity, intelligence, empathy, adaptability and resilience. 2020 has allowed the exceptional skills, knowledge and attributes of many teachers to shine.
Miss Freeman, Mr King and Mrs Nixon are some of the finalists in this year’s Queensland College of Teachers TEACHX Awards, and we know there are thousands of other teachers who show outstanding commitment and dedication, this year and every year.
This year has highlighted just how crucial teachers are to our communities. UNESCO’s theme for World Teachers’ Day this year was: ‘Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future’. Thank you, Queensland teachers, for doing just that for your students. Thank you, Queensland parents, for working closely with teachers to help ensure children and young people continued to be educated during these tough times. If you know an inspirational teacher, show your appreciation for them this Friday, when Australia celebrates World Teachers’ Day.
Listen to a message from the Queensland College of Teachers Director, Deanne Fishburn, recognising the hard work of teachers.