Principal's Blog

Our teachers, our heroes

“Teachers, I believe, are the most responsible and important members of society because their professional efforts affect the fate of the earth.” This quote by renowned author and physician, Dr Helen Caldicott, expresses the incomparable esteem in which our educators should be held. Similarly, playwright George Bernard Shaw stated that “[t]o me the sole hope of human salvation lies in teaching.”

The teaching profession has not always received the level of respect that should be afforded to those entrusted with instilling values, knowledge, skills and attitudes into our future generations.

Early in the pandemic there was an awakening to the important role that teaching plays in the lives of our children. This was sometimes expressed in humorous videos, cartoons and memes in which parents apologised for taking for granted how difficult it is to educate children and, in some cases, begged the teachers to take their children back. 

Like much good humour, the effectiveness in these jokes lay in the inherent and often unspoken truth that underpins them – we do take our teachers for granted. They do work incredibly hard and what they do is not at all easy.

On the day that we finally break free from lockdown and welcome back so many year levels to campus, I am not yet prepared to be grateful for any “positives” that have emerged from these very difficult two years. Yet one thing I hope we can hold on to is a deeper understanding of the enormous value of our educators and I hope that we, both within our school community and in broader society, are more willing to celebrate the contributions of these heroes.

I do not use the term “hero” lightly. During the pandemic, our teachers have had to yoyo between on-campus learning and distance learning again and again. Now, with schools opening up as we learn to “live with” COVID-19, we have set our teachers the Herculean task of hybrid learning. This requires teachers to maintain the learning, focus and engagement of students who are both in the classroom and who are accessing the class from home due to isolation.

The Government’s roadmap sees the staggered return of students to campus. Of course, in many cases this staging does not correspond to an educator’s need to support their own children’s distance learning, particularly when there is a mismatch of days between when they and their children are required on campus.
Yet our educators, as has been the case throughout the pandemic, jump to it and accept the ever-shifting landscape because they care so much for our students. This is not surprising – it is what King David staff are so well known for – but it is, nonetheless, worth acknowledging. 

Our teachers, and indeed all of our supporting staff from across the School, have consistently shelved their own concerns and prioritised the needs of our students. When the pandemic began, we did not quite realise that we were in for a marathon and not a sprint. Yet they collectively have carried our community through and I am simply in awe of the professionalism, stoicism and positivity that have been consistently displayed in the face of significant adversity.

In a welcome back video that I recorded for returning students, I made a request of them that I extend to you as well. I ask that if you share my sense of overwhelming gratitude, then you take a moment to acknowledge the tremendous effort and input of our staff. You may wish to send them an email or a card to say thank you. I know it will be appreciated and I also know that it will help to reinforce this important cultural force of showing due respect to the wonderful humans that we are so lucky to have at our precious School.