On a sunny autumn day the Cabramatta High School Teachers Alumni had a picnic to reminisce about their teaching days. They talked with passion about the amazing moments they'd had.
What was immediately obvious was that they all loved their school, colleagues and students. They saw their careers and those with whom they spent each day as a second family. They talked of teachers being a strong team driven to make a difference. They talked about individual students they'd help become wonderful citizens. They had high expectations and were proud of the students' accomplishments. They took pride in the creativity and energy that teaching involves. They celebrated the school's successes, like winning the Rock Eisteddfod as a team. Each teacher was driven to make a difference in their students' lives. And these retired teachers continue to give to their communities and influence others. Truly inspiring.
Great teachers' days are complex. I interviewed current Cabramatta High teachers about their typical day. I found out quickly there's no such thing. They come to work from 7am when there are lesson materials to organise, administrative duties, programs to register, the day to set up. There are morning meetings for whole school activities and these can also be scheduled for lunch time and after school. There's professional learning and collegial teams that meet. Active and inspiring lessons at the forefront of student engagement are delivered to about six different groups of students, with different topics and learning styles. Lunch times are for coaching, interest groups, student feedback, playground supervision. After school there are team meetings, professional learning, marking, setting assessments, debriefing, parent-teacher nights, field trip prep, administration, lesson prep.
It's not a means to an end, but a means to the future.