Teachers Make A Difference

Although it is currently summer holidays for schools in Australia, teachers in at least two states (New South Wales and Victoria) are in the midst of industrial action, in dispute with their respective state governments over pay and conditions.

The New South Wales Teachers Federation has launched a video campaign promoting the fact that teachers make a difference in a young person’s life, in this case those in public schools (see below).

I don’t think any drama teachers reading this website need to be reminded of the fact that we make a difference in our students’ lives. Many of us wouldn’t still be in this profession if we didn’t truly believe in how we can make a difference to some of those we teach. But governments and dare I say many members of the public still need reminders of the importance of teaching. Sadly, teaching is almost without question an underrated, underpaid and under-appreciated profession in Australia.

Teaching is no different to any other profession. There are good teachers, great teachers and bad teachers in the mix. But most of us know that great teachers are remembered by some of their students for many decades to come and have such a powerful influence in shaping aspects of their former students’ lives.

This campaign consists of a couple of short videos focusing on a teacher on his first day paralleling this with a student on his first day at school also, and another showing a science teacher on her last day in the profession being caught by an ex-student who has become a science teacher herself.

Recently I attended the Drama Victoria state conference and apart from the fabulous workshops, one thing was the highlight of the two-day conference for me … running in to four ex-students of mine from two different schools who are now all high school drama teachers themselves. There are few things that make me prouder than when I hear of my own past students becoming drama teachers. To me, this is the ultimate sign of how a teacher can make a difference in the life of another person. If someone is inspired enough to once be your student and now be your colleague teaching the same discipline, then you must have had a strong impact on them. I am sure there are many other drama teachers out there reading this post who have ex-students who are now drama/theatre teachers themselves. This is just one of many examples of why teaching is such a rich and rewarding profession for us all.

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