The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page - WORDS// RACHAEL JANSEN

This is how I know I could never be a teacher. Two kids whom I have brought into the world are my limit. The idea of man­ag­ing as many as 30 each day, and 30 not re­lated to me, is the stuff of night­mares. All the shoelaces that need ty­ing, the stream of end­less ques­tions, ne­go­ti­at­ing hor­monal pre­teens, and – hor­ror of hor­rors – arts and crafts! Teach­ers cop a lot of flack and, in my time as a jour­nal­ist cov­er­ing the ed­u­ca­tion round for many years, I heard ev­ery one of those crit­i­cisms.

The ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem is a mam­moth beast with many flaws and com­pli­ca­tions, and no doubt there are some teach­ers who are past their best-be­fore date when it comes to their pa­tience, en­thu­si­asm and abil­ity to be all they need to be. This is not a crit­i­cism. I wouldn’t last a week, let alone a ca­reer in a class­room.

The thing about teach­ing, though, is our kids can’t af­ford teach­ers who have hung on past their best. It can’t be seen as just a job.

Teach­ers are men­tors, nur­tur­ers, role models, and ul­ti­mately spend more time with our chil­dren than we do. It’s par­ent­ing with­out the child­birth and I have noth­ing but re­spect for those who ded­i­cate them­selves to it. Yes­ter­day marked the end of ju­nior school for my old­est child, and she has had seven out­stand­ing teach­ers see her through these for­ma­tive years, in­clud­ing four men for the past four of those. Sim­i­larly, my son has had truly amaz­ing teach­ers, who have brought out the best in him (and one who has even man­aged to get him to brush his hair when I have failed for nearly a decade).

These peo­ple have shown a duty of care for my kids well be­yond just cross­ing t’s and dot­ting i’s. Great teach­ers see the big­ger pic­ture. That re­silience is more im­por­tant than re­sults. That be­ing in­quis­i­tive takes you fur­ther than in­tel­li­gence. That self-be­lief is more im­por­tant than study when it comes to suc­cess.

So Mr V, Mr R, Mr P, Mr C, Mrs O, Miss P, Mrs H and a spe­cial men­tion to Mrs B for Year 6 maths – thank you for nur­tur­ing my girl through ju­nior school. For en­cour­ag­ing her to be­lieve in her­self, for be­ing there for her when I can­not, and for al­ways go­ing over and above what is ex­pected of a teacher.

To Mrs S, Mr M, Mrs S, Mrs H, Mrs V and a spe­cial men­tion to Mrs W for Year 4 maths – not only does my boy now brush his hair, he doesn’t com­plain about home­work any­more (much).

You are all mir­a­cle work­ers!

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