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To the teachers who shape who we are

To the teachers who shape who we are

By CASSANDRA CHARLESWORTH

The junior school choir was only minutes into their performance when the little girl in the second row began to quietly cry.

Without breaking beat and with a warm, reassuring smile, the young teacher conducting these oh-so-tiny singers swiftly moved towards the child, gently enfolded her under one arm and sheltered her from the audience while continuing to lead the song.

It was quite simply one of those beautiful moments in life…a nurturing, caring response to a child in need of reassurance from an accomplished teacher who quite literally never missed a beat.

As we mark World Teacher’s Day this October that small moment sums up the incredible power of a true teacher – a person who will take those in need under their wing as they lead the group to achieve.

Every child needs a standout teacher

There are people we meet through life who help define who we are, and for many of us, that person will be a teacher. We may not realise it at the time but they are the ones who believe we can when we feel we can’t, who compel us to be capable of more, or who nurture a spark no-one else seems to see.

That teacher can be the difference failure and success, they can be the catalyst that sees us realise some hidden potential or the person who instils the seeds of confidence that sprout a little later in life.

Of course, not every teacher is a standout and not every encounter positive, but the ones who make a difference can have a profound effect.

No 9am to 3pm profession

It’s easy to take our teachers for granted, and there’s been much talk in the media over recent years about how we do just that.

Teaching is no longer just about the classroom, it’s laced with a growing bureaucracy. It’s about results, accountability and an expectation of always being available to answer any request.

Discipline has become a minefield and for some, the pressure is just too much. So much so that in 2015 it was revealed 40 per cent of new teachers quit during their first year on the job.

In truth is teaching was never a 9am to 3pm, term-by-term profession. For generations, teachers have carefully planned on the weekend, programmed over the holidays, and upskilled with additional study when the need arose.

A little appreciation

Since 1995 the UN has recognised World Teachers' Day on October 5 with the aim of "appreciating, assessing and improving the educators of the world" while providing an opportunity to consider issues related to teachers and teaching.

In Australia, we celebrate it once the fourth term resumes at around the end of the month. So, this October here’s to the true teachers – for the ones who go above and beyond. To the young teacher conducting the choir and the standout ones, we remember later as adults.

I vividly remember mine, am grateful to those I see shaping my children and wonder…

Was there a teacher who made a difference to your world?

CASSANDRA CHARLESWORTH

Cassandra Charlesworth is a features writer with 20 years’ journalism experience. She loves a good old-fashioned story and getting to the heart of a great yarn. She’s also a mum to three children who have encouraged her to hone some secret skills. Nimbly navigating Lego pieces left on her loungeroom floor and creating stylish Barbie attire from all manner of household objects are just a couple of credentials she’s recently added to her resume.

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