Over the last months we have seen media stories about falling standards and disciplinary problems in many Australian schools. Politicians and educators seem to be in an endless debate about how to ‘fix’ the multitude of issues that detract from a strong educational delivery where it matters most- in the classroom. The additional problem of teacher shortages across Australia and the pressure this is now putting on all sectors is certainly a concern for all of us. I was horrified recently when Deputy Premier Prue Car stated that over 10,000 classes daily in the public sector were not being covered by a teacher. I expect in 2024 we will continue to hear more negative stories about the state of education.

A 2021 study showed 8 out of 10 teachers believed education news is negative (The Educator, August 2021) and a study conducted by Monash University in 2022 called for solutions that improve the ways that teachers are respected, appreciated, and valued, including calls for the media to contribute to a more positive portrayal of the teaching profession (Longmuir et al, 2022.) In another research study over 65 000 media articles were examined, analyzing how teachers were characterized in the print media and concluded that “… ‘teacher bashing’ is the norm when it comes to stories about teachers.” (Mockler USYD July 2022)

At KRB, students have access to a highly professional workforce, and we see each day teachers who care about each student and our school. It is wonderful to watch the relationships our students have with their teachers at KRB. We all remember those teachers who impacted us at school, and I always smile when I hear students thanking staff for the lesson they have delivered or at the end of an activity. Our staff take on so many roles during the school day ensuring our students are safe and have the best possible opportunities to learn and grow. They demonstrate excellence and enjoy their role. Yet so few of our students ever choose teaching as a career.

So, these Christmas holidays I want to give a shout out to all teachers and encourage our community to speak positively about the profession, challenging negative stories when you see or hear them. Teachers give their working lives to improve the lives of others and they are good at what they do. The future of our society depends on young people choosing this most valuable career.

Happy holidays to the KRB staff and thanks for a job well done!

Reference Article: Australian schools are debating how to control bad behaviour (smh.com.au)