World Teachers' Day
Friday 31 October 2014 is the day we in Australia celebrate World Teachers’ Day.
The annual celebration, begun by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) twenty years ago, recognises the significant contribution that teachers make to society. As educators, they play a major role in crucial formative years of a child’s life.
This year, the Queensland College of Teachers theme for the day is ‘Teachers Inspire’.
Good teachers not only impart knowledge, they inspire those they teach to continue to learn and develop long after they have left the classroom.
Many of us can look back on a teacher whose skill and care changed our lives.
Growing up in a blue collar family in south-western Sydney, I attended Clemton Park Public School and, as a kid who never sat still and never shut up, I would find myself in conflict with the authority at the front of the room from time to time.
However, my Grade 4 teacher Mrs d'Alpuget treated me as though my behaviour and decisions mattered. This was the first time in my life I considered the concept of personal responsibility.
One day, after being in trouble for a minor misdemeanour, I went after class to Mrs d'Alpuget and, with my new-found sense of the importance of responsibility, said “I’m sorry, I won’t do that again.”
Mostly in life that would be the end of the matter, but the next day she spoke in class and (without naming me) said that one of the students had come and apologised to her and that person had risen enormously in her estimation.
Sometime later, Mrs d'Alpuget had a letter to post and the post box was across the street and a little way down. Despite me being a very young primary school student (it was a different world then and could never be allowed to happen now) she said “Bruce, would you mind going down to post this letter for me. It’s very important; it contains the final payment on my car. After this payment, I will own a car for the first time.”
I felt a new sense of importance and responsibility that I had never felt before as I walked out of the school grounds and posted Mrs d'Alpuget’s final car payment.
I have never forgotten those and similar encounters and having been an average student getting Cs in most subjects I went on to become an A student and win a Commonwealth scholarship to Sydney University to do medicine, something that was relatively rare in public schools in Sydney in those days.
That’s an inspirational teacher.
I encourage you to take the opportunity this Friday to thank our teachers for the invaluable work they do. We can all, whether student, parent or local resident, show our appreciation to our inspirational teachers this World Teachers’ Day.
Leichhardt visit to Kenmore State High School
Kenmore State High School, renowned for its pioneering German Immersion program, last week received a visit from the descendent of another celebrated Australian pioneer.
Ludwig Leichhardt—great-great-great nephew and closest living relative of 19th century explorer Ludwig Leichhardt—is currently in Brisbane to learn more about his namesake’s travels and discoveries.
Leichhardt’s work as both an explorer and naturalist made many invaluable contributions to the scientific community and he famously disappeared in 1848 whilst trekking from the Condamine River in Queensland to the Swan River in Perth.
I met with the current Ludwig Leichhardt at Kenmore High, where talented Year 11 German Immersion students Rorie McFadden and Michael Boyce acted as both our tour guides and translators.
Mr Leichhardt, who lives in Berlin, shared his experiences growing up in East Germany and told me and the students about one of the most significant events of his lifetime—the fall of the Berlin Wall.
He also presented the school with memorabilia, including a poster from the Leichhardt Museum in Tauche, Germany depicting Leichhardt’s travels across Australia.
Kenmore State High School awards night
I was delighted last night to attend Kenmore State High School’s (SHS) Awards Night for 2014 for the tenth time as local MP.
Our local community should be extremely proud of Kenmore SHS’s exceptional standards of education, evidenced by the large number of students who were recognised for their fantastic outcomes over the past school year.
I was particularly pleased to be able to present Keagan Godfrey as the 2014 School Dux.
Ground-breaking music and German immersion programs place Kenmore SHS amongst Queensland’s—if not Australia's—leading schools.
The school also continues to challenge and develop its students in extra-curricular activities and this year, for the first time, one of Kenmore’s Year 9 debating teams won the Queensland Debating Union’s schools competition, becoming just the second public school team to ever do so.
Students’ academic talents were not the only abilities on show, with many also acknowledged for their strong leadership, their cohesive teamwork, and their ongoing commitment to the environment and community.
In particular, four students were presented with the Kenmore-Moggill RSL Anzac Prize for their thorough and empathic approach to sharing the stories of local World War I diggers—a wonderful project being undertaken in partnership with the Kenmore-Moggill RSL sub-branch, which I have written about previously.
Kenmore SHS students should be proud of their many and varied talents and I congratulate all of last night’s award recipients on their outstanding achievements.