[Image: Ashley Stewart, Award-winning Australian Teacher | © Education Matters]
To be honest, I've not spent as much time as I should have thinking about the role of teachers in driving positive societal change. But given my experience these past 2 years attempting to home school my 2 primary school aged daughters, that's not a mistake I'll be making again any time soon.
Like pretty much every Australian parent, I've floundered around trying to keep my kids education happening, whilst making 100s of little 'COVID choices' each day as I try to keep the family safe, whilst also juggling the usual daily workload. Suffice to say I haven't excelled as an untrained teacher for my 6 & 9 year olds!
What drowning under phonemes and maths problems has done though is make me re-assess the fundamental influence that teachers have on shaping the society we live in – how they do it day in day out might be beyond me right now, but there's no denying the influence they wield.
So much of how our kids view the world is going to be shaped through the eyes of the teachers they have, teachers who are often undervalued by the school system they operate within, and who seem to be under more and more pressure in the 'self-service' age we currently live in.
I think I've been lucky with my kids teachers so far. From what I hear from them after the school day is done, they seem to be being guided towards becoming 'concerned citizens' – empathetic to others and with at least the beginning of an understanding of the world's challenges (challenges that our generation unfortunately look like handing over to them unsolved).
Long may that kind of guidance continue – hopefully face to face in a classroom in the very near future...