I am not very much in favour of putting one sector against another because, at the end of the day, the performance and success of teaching in those different sectors are important because the educational outcomes of all those students is important. The work that teachers do is about giving children and young people the skills to take on the world, empowering them to grasp the opportunities that await them in the future, and this ultimately underpins the future prosperity of our state and our nation. As a way of full disclosure, I would also like to make mention of the fact that my wife has very recently started teaching.
A great many of my friends and even former colleagues have now become teachers. It is certainly not uncommon in my former career to see people, when they get to about 30, start doing different things. I think it is fantastic that a lot of them have chosen to be teachers. There is a lot to be said for people who have been part of other careers before becoming teachers, not to take away from those who have not, but I think that diversity of experience is important as students go through different year levels.
We can all remember those good teachers we had and possibly also those who were not so good. Personally, I can remember a number of the great teachers I had who helped me at different points along the way. In particular, I remember the teachers who took me aside and pointed me in the direction of extra opportunities that they had identified as being of interest to me or areas that I personally needed to work on. For example, going right back to year 2, my handwriting was particularly woeful and my year 2 teacher, Ms Nitschke, gave me a whole bunch of additional exercises to do, which I probably did not like at the time. But with the support of my parents, I worked through them and got things back on track.
I can also remember a teacher—Ms McClusky was her name, from memory—who had organised Deane Hutton from The Curiosity Show to come out to the school and do some science shows on a couple of occasions with liquid nitrogen and a water rocket, where you got a bike pump and pumped it up and then it fired up into the air. I would have probably been about eight or nine years old, but I can still remember all of that. To digress a little, in recent weeks I met Deane Hutton at the opening of Science Alive! and told him about that. I think he was quite touched to see an example of someone who pursued a career in an area that he had worked in.
In later primary school, I had another teacher, Mr Chaplin, who held regular running sessions three times a week, which is pretty tough when I think back on it now. We used to accumulate the number of laps we did over the course of the year and as you reached particular milestones—20 laps, 40 laps, 50 laps—you would get certificates right up to 100 laps, when everyone would get a medal. Until that point I had no idea that I could even run but having that opportunity told me that I could and I certainly used that later on, although nowadays I guess I am going a bit backwards, but it was good for that period.
I also had a year 9 science teacher, Dr Woodruff, who encouraged me to participate in what was then the Siemens Science Experience. This was something that was also coordinated by Rotary. It was a fantastic opportunity to work in different areas of science over the course of a week. The one I did was at the University of South Australia. We looked at robotics and we did some medical applications in physiotherapy and some other things, even microbiology, where we were streaking out bacteria from yoghurt onto agar.
I then had a year 10-11 English teacher, Ms Renton-Power, who encouraged me to participate in a public speaking competition. I do not think I won or progressed any further, but I had decided, believe it or not, to talk about some of the ethical issues around the genetic manipulation of the human genome and human cloning. I cannot remember what I talked about, but I imagine it would have been quite interesting at the time. That same teacher gave me the opportunity, with one or two other students from my high school, to go to a local school leaders' meeting at Gawler High School. The premier at the time, John Olsen, and the minister for education, Malcolm Buckby, were there and we were able to fire questions at them on a whole bunch of different areas.
This is not intended to be a year-by-year recollection of my personal schooling. The main point I want to make is about the efforts that individual teachers made, identifying particular things they thought they could help me with and helping me along my pathway to later life. That is incredibly important and I see so much of it still happening today. Through Rotary, I had the great fortune of being part of the National Youth Science Forum district selection committee and meeting so many fantastic students who were interested in science. In their high schools, their science teachers had identified them as being interested in that area and encouraged them to participate.
Another great example I had the privilege to be a part of yesterday morning was at Banksia Park International High School, where they have a global citizens medal program where they recognise the community work and academic achievements of students and then also get them to give a talk on an issue that is of interest to them. This ranged from Scouts, both local and international, to immigration and integration within Australia. There was another talk about some of the issues around bullying in our schools and how the online environment has changed the way that occurs. The last speaker talked quite passionately about poverty, particularly in developing countries. It is a fantastic program and I would like to commend the year 12 coordinator, Bronwyn Eglinton, for her support of that program and also for inviting me to be part of it as a community member of the panel.
A critical point to make, particularly about extracurricular activities—and certainly this was so in my case and for the students receiving global citizens medals yesterday—relates to the role of parents because the support of parents is essential. Whilst there is no question that the standard and quality of our teachers and teaching methods, and making sure they are up to date and best practice, are absolutely essential, we cannot forget that one of the greatest determinants in the educational outcomes of a student is the attitude their parents have to education.
Where parents do not value education, then in spite of the best efforts of teachers that student is already at a very significant disadvantage. I firmly believe that the educational outcomes of our kids are greatest when schoolteachers and parents work in partnership; in fact, grandparents also play an incredibly large role now. I would like to acknowledge that there is also an important responsibility for parents in education. It is difficult, and there are a lot of time constraints. Sometimes some parents themselves have not achieved a high educational level, but I think the effort is what matters, and the acknowledgment that the education of their children is important.
I would also like to briefly touch on some of the really sad things that teachers have to deal with, where students have come through in cases of neglect. I have certainly heard examples from people who have worked in the profession of students being dragged away from their education by parents who are just having are some pretty serious issues of their own. There are students who come to school hungry; it is surprising how many students do go to school hungry. Even in my own electorate, I know of what I found to be quite shocking numbers of students. I am pleased, though, that the government is committing $800,000 to a breakfast program that will help in these cases.
Then there are other really sad cases, like a young primary school student turning up to school saturated because they had to wash their own uniform and had not dried it. I could go on and on, and I am sure teachers could go on and on with so many of those cases. Teachers often have to work with students from difficult backgrounds, and many work very hard to try to give them the best possible opportunity to achieve a quality education. Yesterday, I reflected on a number of schools in my electorate and some of the good work they do. I did not get the opportunity to speak about all of them, so I would like to continue on that today and hopefully get through the rest of the list in the remaining time that I have.
I would like firstly to acknowledge the great work Ardtornish Primary School do. They are highly regarded in the area of phonics, so much so that the driver of this phonics program at the school, principal Mark Hansen, has actually been brought into the department to help with the government's Literacy Guarantee, particularly the phonics component. I would also like to congratulate the Ardtornish Children's Centre on their preschool learning stories award entry, 'Wildlife project', being awarded a state winner through the 2018 Primary Mathematics Association of South Australia's Powerful Learners Mathematics and Numeracy Challenge. I would like to congratulate the students, staff and families on their work on this.
Teachers at Saint David's Parish School, a wonderful local community Catholic school, have worked very hard and I understand are leaders are in the area of explicit direct instruction under the leadership of Leanne Lawler. They are doing a lot of very good work there. I would like to acknowledge that Kersbrook Primary School is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. This is indeed a wonderful school that offers so many opportunities for its students. They are setting up a new nature play area at the moment for the younger students, organising a trip for some older students to Parliament House in Canberra and doing some fundraising events to help that. They recently had a swimming program, and they are about to hold their sports day, so that is certainly a very packed schedule.
Paracombe Primary School is in a beautiful setting up there in Paracombe. It has lovely Indigenous artwork that the school takes great pride in—and I think they should—right along the front of their school, which is a great reminder to the students about some of the Indigenous heritage in the area in South Australia.
Torrens Valley Christian School is an R-12 school in my electorate, and I had the great pleasure of attending their ANZAC Day service earlier this year—wonderful music performance and artworks of an incredibly impressive standard. I was taken on a tour of the school by the school principal, Julie Prattis, where I saw all sorts of things, including some 3D printing. I think it was the first time I had actually seen that in the flesh, and the little car thing that they had made was quite impressive. It is a school that certainly places the development of their students as a whole at the centre of everything they do.
In conclusion, today teachers are operating in complex, fast-paced, multicultural and technological environments, which makes the quality of teaching even more significant in helping our young people to engage with their learning and to realise their potential. We want South Australian students to be inspired to learn and to continue learning throughout their lives, and that is where the commitment of educators is pivotal and why excellence in teaching must be recognised. I thank all teachers for the work they do and I commend this motion to house.
Dr CLOSE (Port Adelaide—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (10:58): I am delighted to support this motion and am very pleased that it has been brought forward by the member for Newland. There is no question that after the family background of an individual student and the social composition of the school as a whole, the biggest effect on our education system is that of the teacher. The teacher makes an enormous difference to the quality of the educational experience of each student. That is good news; it also confers an obligation on those of us who are responsible for setting education policy to understand how we can best support our teachers. That requires us to be paying attention to the teacher training that occurs at universities and to make sure that it is not only of the highest standard but also of the greatest relevance to what teachers need to know and understand to be useful to their students and to enjoy their career.
We need to make sure that we invest appropriately in the first few years of teaching. Teaching, although not unique amongst the professions, is one that is most susceptible to people changing their minds about staying in that profession, having tried it for the first one, two or three years. We need to make sure that as policymakers we pay sufficient attention to the support that teachers require in those early years to ease into what can be a very challenging profession and quite a different experience from that in their preservice training, to help teachers settle in and see themselves there for the long term.
Under the previous government—and I am certain it is being continued under this government—there was an increase in investment in public schools for the first years, not only in the kind of professional development that they had available to them and the time off that they had in order to take advantage of that but also in making sure that mentoring was real and making a difference to their experience and to the quality of those first few years.
We need to make sure that we are maintaining professional development continuously for teachers. That is about not only discharging their obligations under the Teachers Registration and Standards Act to have 60 hours of professional development a year but also that professional development being engaging, interesting and relevant.
I am a little older than the member for Newland, who talked about being exposed to robotics during high school. That was not on the radar when I was at high school.
Dr CLOSE:Lost in Space, and we now have the tricorders from Star Trek, so maybe our best education was from science fiction. My point is that I could well be out teaching at the moment and not have had that experience in school myself, and it is so important that we make sure that teachers, as they go through the decades, have the opportunity to have professional development that keeps them up to date with this rapidly changing world that we are preparing our children for.
When the previous government made some big announcements in September/October last year, they included an academy for excellence in leadership and teaching. I expect that that work is continuing to be undertaken. We also need to make sure that we pay teachers well and that their conditions are appropriate. The enterprise bargaining time for teachers is upon the government again, and I will be watching very carefully to see how they respond to the demands and expectations of the teaching profession in public schools.
In all, I think it is worth reflecting on what a difference an individual teacher can make. I thought about whether I should talk about some of the schools that I visited—I visited literally hundreds of schools in my time as minister. It would seem wrong to single out any of those schools because, by reflection, you are suggesting that they stood out and others did not. To a school, they were all impressive and I learnt so much from the opportunity to visit them and spend time with the principals, the teachers, the SSOs and, above all, the students, so I will reach more into the personal experience of my education and my children's education.
Some time ago, I think I had only been a minister for a few months, I was asked by The Advertiser who my favourite teacher was so that they could seek out that teacher and have a photograph taken for the paper. This is a little bit of a sad story because the first teacher I thought of, who had been an exceptionally good history and classics teacher for me in high school, had died. I did not know that until we went searching for him. Mr Swanson made a big difference to me with the constant intellectual challenges he set out. It was never good enough just to parrot back some information. It was always, 'Why? How do you know that? Of what relevance is that?' These were skills in learning that last through the ages, and I thank him very much for the impact he had on my education both in year 10 and year 12.
Another high school teacher I was pleased to see again in another guise was Mr Elvish. He was one of those very few teachers back in the eighties who allowed us to call him by his first name. He was Barrie to us, which was an extraordinary revolution in my time. Later, I found he was running Autism SA. When I became the education minister, I met him in that capacity. He taught me ancient Greek history and I read The Iliad, thanks to him. I thank him also for the impact he had on me. An early drama teacher I had in high school, Mr Cox, works in the Flinders Street building, and I bump into him occasionally in the lift. It is a very great pleasure to continuously revisit one's early years.
Having received the sad news about Mr Swanson, the teacher I then selected was a teacher from my primary school years in year 6. Her name is now Kathy Monks. She was our classroom teacher, but she had a special gift for drama and would put on performances with us. Because at the time I was considered to have a good speaking voice, I was the narrator of these dramas. I was amazed that she had managed to remember me. She had enough substantiating evidence that she had remembered me and was not making it up. I was absolutely delighted to be reunited with her, and I thank her and all her colleagues for the work they did in my early years. I was at Blackwood High School and before that Blackwood Primary School.
My own children have benefited enormously from the teaching they have received, both at primary school and now at a public high school in the western suburbs. The three core values or virtues that I see in the teachers who have made a difference to my children and to me include, first of all, this notion of inspiration. It is a sense from your teacher that there is something to aspire to and that there is a challenge that can be met by your learning that would be interesting and something worth doing.
They also have the very great virtue of patience. Teachers are extraordinary in their capacity to allow students to make mistakes not only in their work but in their conduct as they are learning how to operate in this complex world of ours. That degree of patience and tolerance is remarkable in our teaching profession.
They also have the virtue of care. Teachers know the names, histories and experiences of every child in their classes and they care about them as individuals. The truly great teachers make that felt by the individual students so that they never forget that there was an adult outside the family who cared about them, who understood them and who wanted to see them be all that they could be. My children have certainly had many teachers who have fulfilled all those qualities and demonstrated them to my children, and I am grateful.
The year 5 teacher my daughter had in primary school was not content with teaching individual subjects and pieces of information but wanted the children to join them up and create a demonstration for all the parents to see on the nature of light. These are year 5s, but they were doing work that I would consider to be getting ready for the SACE in the integration of understanding the biology of light and how the eye deals with it, the science of light, how photons work, the art of light, photography and the history of light.
They went to the lighthouse in Port Adelaide to talk about what a lighthouse does and why it matters. They organised a business case where they had to demonstrate why that tour was valid and how much it would cost, and they were required to prove to the principal that this would be a good expenditure for the school. All that occurred simultaneously in a single project that was not deemed too hard for a group of year 5s because the teacher had the desire to inspire them and the capacity to draw out the very best from them, and I thank all teachers for that.
Mr ELLIS (Narungga) (11:09): I rise today in support of World Teachers' Day and the motion:
That this house notes that 26 October is World Teachers' Day (Australia) and expresses its appreciation to all South Australian teachers and former teachers who have dedicated their lives to helping our next generation to be all they can be.
I would like to add my personal support in acknowledging the important role that teachers play in the role of the development of students around the state of South Australia and add, as I said, my personal thanks to that voice.
World Teachers' Day was established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1994 and has grown to be celebrated in over 100 countries worldwide, with this year's theme being, 'The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher'. Today's teachers are operating in a complex, fast-paced, multicultural and technological environment, which makes the quality of teaching even more significant in helping our young people to engage with their learning and to realise their potential.
The quality of teaching is a significant factor in the success of the student, and effective teachers understand that the learning needs of students vary from one student to the next. We, the Marshall Liberal government, want South Australian students to be inspired to learn and to continue learning throughout their lives. That is where the commitment of educators is pivotal and why excellence in teaching must be recognised.
Narungga is home to what I believe to be the largest school outside metropolitan Adelaide: the relatively recently amalgamated Kadina Memorial School. This school is home to approximately 1,200 students, with over 76 full-time equivalents putting those students in a position to succeed. Kadina Memorial School services the townships of Alford, Bute, Kadina, Kulpara, Paskeville, Wallaroo and surrounding districts.
Students also transition from four primary schools at the end of year 7—soon to be year 6, much to the delight of just about every educator I have talked to—to Kadina Memorial School. These schools are Bute Primary School, St Mary MacKillop School Wallaroo, Wallaroo Primary School and Wallaroo Mines Primary School. Narungga is also home to Moonta Area School, which is only 20 kilometres from Kadina yet hosts a further 500 students on a daily basis. This is in addition to the surrounding primary schools that feed into these area schools.
Clearly, there is significant demand for education within the Copper Coast, which this government will need to address as the demand continues to grow. I note that there is also Harvest Christian College, which is a low-fee non-denominational private school and operates under the guidance of the brilliant principal, Mr Peter Ayoub. This school does a wonderful job servicing the over 300 students they have in their care. As I said, there is clearly significant demand.
I will be at the opening of a new STEM facility at the Moonta Area School early next month. Credit must go to the previous government for commissioning this work, which will include refurbished learning spaces, flexible and creative spaces for IT facilities, CAD design suites, creative team spaces, individual work spaces and design study spaces and making areas. These areas have strong interconnections to larger group work and undercover verandahs for use by students at all levels. The covered outdoor learning areas are being created to enable hands-on learning and to support STEM-based curriculum such as environmental sciences.
While we have strong demand for educational services in the Copper Coast, there is either fluctuating or decreasing demand for these services in other parts of the electorate. Unfortunately, a number of schools on Yorke Peninsula have closed due to low demand, with Port Vincent primary school and Edithburgh primary school closing as recently as 2006. I note with great interest the member for Wright's contribution to the chamber yesterday, hypothesising that this government might have an agenda to close schools.
If he had taken the time to type 'Schools closing South Australia' into Google, he would have come across a 2015 article in The Advertiser written by Tim Williams entitled, 'SA losing schools faster than any other state as the Government urges more mergers'. Perhaps the member for Wright ought to tend to his own backyard before hypothesising about the direction of this government. I note with great interest that the total number of government schools fell from 588 to 527 (or 10 per cent) which was 'more than double the proportion of public schools lost in any other state,' and 'made up 40 per cent of the national drop in public school numbers over the same period'. The member should get his own affairs in order before he comments on ours.
On World Teachers' Day, we acknowledge the wonderful contribution that our local teachers make to the lives of students. Parents entrust teachers with significant responsibility to teach their children the proper way to conduct themselves, the curriculum and social interactions. While we acknowledge the important role that teachers play, it is also worth acknowledging the steps this government has taken to improve the system within which teachers operate. We will make it easier for teachers by moving year 7 students into high school in exactly the same way as every other jurisdiction within Australia has done.
Of all the teachers I have spoken to, and there have been a significant number since coming to this place in March, I have yet to find one who does not support this plan from the government. Our wonderful teachers in South Australia will finally be able to develop dedicated middle school programs, which research has shown is beneficial for students in the year 7 age group. The program will be able to fall in line with the national curriculum, which calls for year 7 students to be taught specialist maths, science and English, teachers for which can ordinarily only be found in high schools.
We have wonderful specialist teachers in SA, and on World Teachers' Day we celebrate their contribution but acknowledge that they need access to the relevant demographic of students where their skills can have the greatest effect. We will attempt to supplement the efforts that our teachers go to in schools by increasing parental engagement in student learning. Parents overwhelmingly want to be actively involved in their children's learning, and research supports that this involvement is beneficial to the child.
Parental engagement and parental support for teachers are key to ensuring that education is holistic and not just done in the classroom—anything to make it easier for our teachers in this great state. This is in addition to our policy to enshrine a literacy guarantee for students and getting tougher on truancy so that teachers are afforded the opportunity to actually teach those kids and teach entrepreneurship in classrooms to prepare them for the changing landscape out there in their post-school life.
I also take this opportunity to highlight the calibre of teachers we have working in regional areas. Former Kadina Memorial School principal, Dean Angus, won the Public Education Award's top leadership award in 2016, recognising his unique talents and years of dedication to education. This was the first time a teacher from our area has won this coveted award.
I also note the esteem of the late Aunty Josie Agius, a highly respected Aboriginal elder, who has an award named after her to highlight her pioneering work in South Australian Aboriginal health. She was born at Wallaroo and grew up at Point Pearce, and this award recognises the cultural and community expertise of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working towards better outcomes for children and young people. I am also proud of the efforts of many Narungga constituents who teach the Narungga language and are committed to keeping this culture alive for future generations.
I am also proud to be presenting medallions at every school in my electorate, recognising the efforts of students who go above and beyond their learning and who have made a significant contribution to their school life. On this day, we say thanks to our wonderful teachers in South Australia. We acknowledge the efforts that this government is making in order to ensure that they can continue to do their job well, and we look forward to our next generation of kids graduating the system. I commend the motion to the house.
Mr BOYER (Wright) (11:17): I, too, rise to speak to this motion and offer my words of support to teachers all across not just South Australia but Australia as well. During my contribution yesterday on the Education and Children's Services Bill, I spoke a little bit about what I thought were risks to the teaching profession and the things we should be focusing on in that bill. I was pleased to see that attention was given to a lot of the things in that bill that I think we need to do to make sure that teaching is retained as a desirable profession and that our best and brightest want to graduate from university and work in this area.
I want to build on the comments made earlier by the member for Port Adelaide. She spoke about the theme for World Teachers' Day this year, which is 'The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher'. I wholly endorse the comments of the member for Port Adelaide, who spoke about why it is so important to make sure that the university courses that are being provided to graduates of high school who wish to study teaching and then work as a classroom teacher are appropriate.
That is important not just in providing those graduates with the skills that they need to be effective classroom teachers but also in making sure that we are producing teachers in fields that are going to be in demand in the future, especially given the changing nature of the economy globally, but particularly in South Australia, where there have been many significant changes over the last 10 years. Separate to the issue of the qualifications that our teachers receive is an issue that I see coming up repeatedly as I make my way around the seat of Wright and neighbouring areas and talk to classroom teachers and principals.
Only last night, I hosted some principals from local schools in the dining room to talk to them about how I could assist them in their schools in my role as a member of parliament. The issue that is coming up repeatedly is that teachers and school administrators, too, are spending more and more time focusing on managing the behaviour of students and less time actually teaching kids in the classroom.
My father was an English and history teacher in a country public high school for 40 years before he retired, and my wife spent the first five years of her working life as a high school teacher in the Catholic system. I was fortunate enough to have my dad teach me on a number of occasions. I pay tribute to all those members of parliament here today who have shared their stories about their favourite primary or high school teachers. It is lovely to hear those stories, and it is very important that we recognise the influential and informative things that teachers have done in our lives. The teacher whom I would like to focus on, very briefly, is my own dad, who was, as I said, a teacher of English and history for 40 years.
I had my dad teaching me English in year 7 and year 10 and Australian history in year 12. To this day, some people ask me if having your father teach you in high school was difficult. For me, it certainly was not. As I get older, having spent that time with dad is something that I treasure. Of course, he is someone whom I rate as a very good teacher. You could describe him as an old-school teacher, in many ways. He was very big on spelling, grammar, public speaking, debating and teaching kids how to write an essay and how to write a letter. In my role as a member of parliament, I now see so often that these are skills that are not taught as well as they used to be. Some of those core things that used to be the foundation of our education system seem to be lacking a little bit now in some cases.
In many respects, it is no surprise. My father was certainly one who commented to me, over the long 40-year period in which he taught and with all the change that he saw in his time as a classroom teacher, on the biggest hindrance to him, in terms of doing the job that he loved to do. I note that he had opportunities to move away from the classroom and to instead apply for an assistant principal or principal's role somewhere. However, he decided not to do that because he had been motivated to study teaching and work in that profession because he loved being in a classroom and teaching kids.
He never wanted to move away from that, but he was frustrated because, towards the end of his career, he felt that a lot of his time in the classroom was spent actually managing the behaviour of kids who were disruptive, who were not there to learn and who were not only impeding their own education but greatly impeding the education of other students in the classroom, who did not get the attention and devotion of my dad because he was busy trying to get them to be quiet, or get off their phones or pay attention.
I think it is appropriate, as part of this motion today in which we are acknowledging World Teachers' Day, that we think about what we as privileged people in this place—as legislators and members of parliament—can do to make sure not just that teachers have the qualifications they need but also that they are protected in the classroom and that we let them do the job they want to do. For a couple of reasons, that is really important; one is that it means that the kids in our schooling system today will get a better education. However, it will also mean that the quality of graduates we get from university in the future will be of a much higher standard.
Having supported my wife when she did the rounds after finishing her Bachelor of Education, I know that standing up for the first time in a classroom is a very confronting experience for a new graduate—trying to teach students, trying to capture their attention and trying to impart wisdom to them. If that experience is a poor one, we cannot really expect our best and brightest graduates to choose teaching as their profession of choice. It will be a very sad day when teaching is seen not as a profession of choice but as a fallback position.
I encourage all members not just to use occasions like this to offer platitudes to our teachers about how they are so important and it is a respected profession and an important profession, because all those things are true and all those things are self-evident too, but to spend our time thinking about what it is we can do to make sure that the teaching profession retains the respect it deserves and that the people we send into the classroom to teach our kids are the best that they can be. I commend the motion to the house.
Mr PATTERSON (Morphett) (11:25): I also rise today to support the motion by the member for Newland that this house notes that Friday 26 October is World Teachers' Day. As has been said earlier, World Teachers' Day aims to focus on appreciating, assessing and improving the educators of the world and to provide an opportunity to consider issues related to teachers and teaching.
It is important that this house expresses its appreciation for not only the current teachers but also former teachers here within South Australia whose lives have been dedicated to educating present generations. Many members have spoken previously about the effects teaching and education have had on them and will have on future generations, for those children going through schooling now. Children's development and education are vital for the future successes of South Australia. This important development and education part of children's lives hinges upon our state's teachers, which is why the overall profession deserves the utmost respect and trust of this state community.
There is no denying the influence teachers can have on students because a great teacher is able to change a student's life. Most people fondly remember at least one teacher from their schooling who had a profound impact upon their lives. Whether this teacher gave invaluable future career or university advice or was just a friendly face during a difficult time, teachers play an integral role in the development of their students.
The role of a teacher is not purely to educate students, to teach them either Pythagoras' theorem or how to write an essay; it is also to help them be the best that they can be and to learn and have lifelong learning skills once the children leave the classroom. A great teacher is able to make learning fun and engaging, ensuring that a student's academic success is at the forefront of every lesson. Motivating students to be excited to learn and develop their knowledge is not always an easy feat. We have heard about challenging behaviour issues that teachers are confronted with, but every day teachers are constructing new teaching techniques or designing assignments that will ensure high student engagement and learning.
Teachers are able to make the complex seem simple and help our future generations understand and apply knowledge in areas best suited to each individual student's talents, needs and aspirations. Certainly, in this changing environment of where the jobs of the future are, it is really a challenging role for teachers to be able to predict where those career paths are and therefore try to teach their students to cope with that. We have seen teaching techniques change, predominantly because society is continually moving forward. The pace of that change is certainly very rapid these days, and the things I learnt when I was in year 12 students are now learning in year 10. The content of information available and the advances are accelerating that.
Teachers, predominantly those educating students within the high levels of secondary education, are able to foster each student's unique talents and assist them in developing a plan for their life after school. They are able to help students realise their talents and passion for a particular subject or career path and assist them in achieving their goals. On paper, this sounds a lot easier than it is in practice in terms of teaching.
While students are off having a mental refresh during the holiday periods between terms, teachers are marking assignments and planning for the upcoming terms. Teachers are the unsung heroes of a student's success and early childhood development. It is quite often teachers who discover if a child has a learning disability or dyslexia or is just struggling with a particular area of their learning. The teacher then tries to take corrective actions, either on their own or by putting the child onto a specialist.
Teachers must and do remain incredibly patient, especially with particular students who lack direction or motivation. We have heard that a virtue of teachers is their patience and caring for their students. Through these qualities, they are able to work with the needs of each individual student and tailor lessons and teaching mechanisms around this. My wife is a teacher and has been teaching since 2000. I see firsthand the work teachers do not only in the classroom but in the preparation, follow-up, marking and report writing that goes with it.
It is enjoyable to hear about the improvement that she sees in her students from the start of the year to its conclusion in their education and also in their behaviour and attitude in most instances. A rewarding part of the job is hearing from parents about how their child has progressed, that the child really enjoyed the year and that they look up to the teacher. I think that is certainly a reward in itself for teachers. Because of this, the demands on teachers these days go beyond just educating children. With working families working so hard, teachers often spend more time during the week with the children than the parents themselves.
With the internet, teachers are now accessible to students and parents after hours, which brings both positives and negatives. It is a positive, in that teachers are accessible, but this accessibility needs to be respectful and considered. I point this out because, as a society, we have trusted teachers to educate and, at times, give guidance to children. Some would call this discipline. In previous times, the decisions by teachers were on the whole supported at home by the parents, usually by increased chores or a restriction of movement and privileges.
In more recent times, I hear stories from teachers that they are being challenged more and more by parents about their teaching methods, the marks given to assignments and also areas of discipline. I encourage parents to at least take steps to hear another side of the story than that given by their child. We must remember that for various reasons children may give a one-sided story. If the fuller picture were known, I think that the teachers' actions would certainly be justified. I feel that is really important because, if teachers know that they are supported by parents at home, it will mean that, overall, the children will benefit as the teachers' time is spent educating rather than explaining and documenting.
I will speak briefly about my electorate of Morphett, which has 12 schools offering either primary or secondary education. I would like to briefly highlight two schools and their staff for their dedication and hard work. It is by no means a reflection on the other schools, but these are schools that I think are worth pointing out. Ascot Park Primary School is located in Park Holme. It is a specialist physical education and sport school. It is the only primary specialist physical education and sport school endorsed by the Department for Education. The teachers have done a terrific job.
Just recently, I visited the school for a sport presentation for their netball and soccer programs. I would like to acknowledge the hard work of the coaches and teachers involved in the teams. They have gone out four mornings a week since March to teach students skills in soccer and netball before school starts, so starting early in the day. Through playing sport, these students have built valuable friendships and learnt leadership and teamwork skills.
Finally, in the time left, another school and its teaching staff I would like to applaud is the Kilparrin Teaching and Assessment School and Services. This school provides a range of support services for students with vision and/or hearing impairment and additional disabilities through early intervention programs and specialist preschool support through the school's early learning centre. Most of the teachers in this school acquired additional university postgraduate study, learning specifically what methods of education can be used with these students.
These are just some of the areas that highlight how teachers can have a profound and positive impact on a student, and one that will be remembered by the students long into their professional careers and adulthood. I congratulate all teachers on their hard work.
Ms WORTLEY (Torrens) (11:35): As a former teacher and as a parent, I am delighted to have the opportunity today to speak in support of the motion moved by the member for Newland acknowledging World Teachers' Day and showing appreciation for all South Australian teachers and former teachers who have dedicated their lives to helping our next generation be all that they can be.
The United Nations World Teachers' Day celebrates the role teachers play in providing quality education at all levels. This enables children and adults of all ages to learn to take part in and contribute to their local community and global society. The theme of this year's World Teachers' Day is 'The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher', and this theme was chosen to mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in which education is recognised as a fundamental right, a right that cannot be fulfilled without qualified teachers.
The UN World Teachers' Day, of course, was celebrated on 5 October, which falls in our school holidays, so we will be celebrating it here in South Australia this Friday, 26 October. There is an estimated 264 million children and youth still out of school globally and, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the world needs to recruit almost 69 million new teachers to meet the 2030 education goal of universal primary and secondary education. This teacher gap is more pronounced amongst vulnerable populations—girls, children with disabilities, refugee and migrant children and poor children living in rural and remote areas. There remains so much more to be done to achieve this goal.
Today, I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the many wonderful teachers we have in South Australia and the many dedicated, hardworking teachers in our public and Catholic schools in my electorate of Torrens: teachers at Hillcrest Primary School, Klemzig Primary School, Dernancourt Primary School, Wandana Primary School, Hampstead Primary School, Vale Park Primary School and Avenues College B-12; and, in our Catholic schools, St Pius X, Kildare College, St Paul's and St Martin's.
I would also like to acknowledge TAFE teachers and those in our universities. We know that there are many challenges—they are new challenges to some degree—facing teachers today. We have heard about some of them already: social media, mobile phones in classrooms and also those associated with the internet, where some sites are set up to target teachers, and of course this can be damaging. Respect for our teachers must be a priority; they deserve it.
We have all had teachers who have made a difference in our lives, and I know that I have, too, as has the shadow minister for education, who spoke about them earlier. It is always wonderful when I am out and about in the electorate to meet people I had as students and for them to remember me and some of the things we did in our classroom and to talk about the things that they loved about being in that class
Today, it is important to acknowledge these teachers who go above and beyond what is expected. I know that the many teacher friends I have take a lot of work home with them. They work through the school holidays. Very often, people talk about the number of holidays teachers enjoy. A lot of their holiday time is spent preparing for the new year, reading through the records of their students so that they know the students before they get into the classrooms and also getting ready for what is going to be perhaps a new year level that they are teaching or a new school.
I would like to wish all the teachers in South Australia and across Australia a happy World Teachers' Day for Friday. In the words of Greek philosopher and writer Nikos Kazantzakis:
True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.
Mr BELL (Mount Gambier) (11:40): I rise in support of the member for Newland's motion and give thanks to all teachers both past and present who have served in the South Australian education system. As a former educator, I believe that teachers are a strong influence in a person's life. The formative years of our lives are spent in the education system and a good teacher not only educates but guides and inspires. After a parent, they are one of the biggest influences upon a child's life. The right teacher can bring out the best in a student and have a huge impact on their aspirations and career pathways. You always remember the good ones; their words of advice and encouragement stay with you long after leaving school or university.
Let me tell you about a teacher called Scott Maxwell. Scott has been a music teacher at Mount Gambier's Grant High School for nearly 10 years. There was some pretty big news for Scott earlier this month after he was announced as a finalist for the 2018 ARIA Music Teacher of the Year award. He made the top four out of a thousand nominations across Australia, which speaks volumes about how he is thought of by his students and peers. Ironically, Scott told me that when he was a young muso he used to watch the awards on television and wonder if he would ever be up there on stage one day.
Scott uses the language of music as his connection to students. When he started teaching 15 years ago in the APY lands, one of the first things he did was introduce a music program. Suddenly, he said, senior kids wanted to come to school. What Scott has, and what resonates with students, is an energy for teaching and for inspiring his students. With fellow Grant High School teacher Mike Bakker, Scott has created two original high school musicals for today's generation, using current world events as themes. Scott says that it is a massive rush watching students bring the roles to life and perform songs he has written. 'It gives kids the liberty to create,' he says. 'Computers can never replace creativity.'
One of the nicest things to happen since he has been nominated for the award is that ex-students have been reaching out to him, telling him that his teaching inspired them and made a difference in their lives. There is probably no greater reward for a teacher than hearing those words. Not every teacher is lucky enough to get national recognition, so today let's give thanks to all those hardworking and inspirational teachers out there doing good work every day.
Ms BEDFORD (Florey) (11:43): It is a privilege to speak on this motion today and share my thoughts on teachers and teaching. They have been put on the record many times over the 20 years I have been in the house, as has the fact that all my siblings and their spouses were teachers, that the father of my children was a teacher and that my electorate is blessed with so many wonderful teachers that it would be foolish to start naming any of them in particular.
The new electorate of Florey has inherited some marvellous new schools, and I very much look forward to getting to know all the teaching staff in those schools over the years. Also, something that I do every year is make sure I visit every school for World Teachers' Day and provide them with something for the their morning tea. I am helped to do that by bakeries in the electorate. It is always wonderful to call through to schools and thank them personally for everything that they have done.
As everyone has said and acknowledged, teaching is a wonderful and honourable profession. In my life, I have definitely had some very wonderful teachers and some very ordinary teachers. Of course, learning is lifelong, so I think that we are all going to be in the position of acknowledging people who influence our lives in one way or another and who teach us things until the very end.
I would also like to mention the University of the Third Age, which is in my electorate, and the wonderful efforts of the people who make themselves available to tutor in certain subjects and the many people who attend the University of the Third Age. They are also part of what we lovingly refer to in our office as the 'World Teachers' Day bun run'. I commend the motion to the house, as I do teaching as a profession to people who have the time and patience to look after children and pass on knowledge.
Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (11:45): I rise to support the motion by the member for Newland:
That this house notes that 26 October is World Teachers' Day (Australia) and expresses its appreciation to all South Australian teachers and former teachers who have dedicated their lives to helping our next generation to be all they can be.
World Teachers' Day was established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1994 and is celebrated in over a hundred countries. This year, the theme of World Teachers' Day is 'The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher'.
Today's teachers are operating in complex, fast-paced, multicultural and technological environments, which makes the quality of teaching even more significant in helping our young people to engage with their learning and to realise their potential. The quality of teaching is a significant factor in the success of the student, and effective teachers understand that the learning needs of students vary from one student to the next.
We want South Australian students to be inspired, to learn and to continue learning throughout their lives. That is where the commitment of educators is pivotal and why excellence in teaching must be recognised. That is why we are here today, noting our school teachers who have educated us over time and who are the educators of our children into the future. I will reflect on some of my early educational experiences, although they were a little while ago now. I was educated during the late sixties and seventies at Coomandook Area School.
The Hon. T.J. Whetstone: Are you that old?
Mr PEDERICK: You can talk. The first principal I can remember was Harry Harris, who then went over to a job on Kangaroo Island and, sadly, died too young. Ron Wigney then played a significant part. He had some difficulties. I remember there was a terrible situation of a murder-suicide involving one member of the teaching staff. It is one of the most significant memories of my secondary school career—I was in year 8 at the time—and it is something you never forget. The rumours went through the school on the day, and then obviously there was the reporting in the media the next day. It is one of those stark memories you wish you did not have when growing up, but it certainly stands out.
Ron Wigney was the man who had to manage that. At an end-of-year assembly, he was the man who said something along the lines of, 'If you thought it was hard and a long time here at school, wait until you get out.' I think that no truer words were ever spoken: you had to face up to the realities of life, business and work. He was a very respected man. I had not seen Ron for a couple of years, and I was pleased to catch up with him a few years ago.
David Mellon, who now lives in Murray Bridge, was also a principal at Coomandook. He ended up with my former grade 2 teacher as his partner. I think that is magnificent, just through a series of different circumstances.
The Hon. T.J. Whetstone: Were you the date maker?
Mr PEDERICK: No. You have memories of all these things when you start talking about issues like this. I certainly remember my grade 1 teacher, Liz Loen, and Robyn Wilson, as she was then, back when I was in grade 2. I have some fantastic memories of Robyn; not so fantastic was the discipline she meted out with the ruler. A ruler on its edge on your knuckles when you are disciplining yourself is interesting. I am sure I only had to do it once.
An honourable member: Self-disciplining.
Mr PEDERICK: Self-disciplining under instruction. She was a fantastic teacher and lived only a few kilometres down the road from me at Coomandook. I then had Ian Tilley in later years; I think that was in about years 4 and 5. I am not sure about year 3; it might have been Robyn Wilson again. It was all a little while ago. Then I had Alan Head, who sadly passed away a few years ago. His wife was our next-door neighbour on the farm at Coomandook. She was Dorothy Tucker and is now Dorothy Head. She still operates a thrift shop in Murray Bridge and does a great job.
My most significant memory of Alan Head is the dancing lessons he gave us, the old ballroom dances, which sadly we probably do not see enough of. There was maypole dancing, and we learned the military two, military three and a whole range of other dances. It may not seem significant at the time, but it does help with your overall education process. Before I speak about the broader motion, I want to reflect on one teacher, who was the deputy principal at the time, Bob Chapman.
We had a school trip up the river and we were on a houseboat. For whatever reason, the boat lost power and started going sideways towards a bridge and we had no power to pull out. Bob Chapman was a bit of a smoker as it was, but I reckon I never saw him smoke as many cigarettes as he did that day when we were heading towards this bridge. Between Bob and the crew on the boat, they managed to berth it sideways against one of the bridge pillars and we all got off safely. Because of his care for the kids, I reckon he should have been sponsored by a cigarette company. He was stressed and I can understand why. You probably could not do that these days on a school trip.
What I would like to say is that teachers do frame your lives. That is the point I am trying to make. You have childhood memories, no matter how old you get, of how they frame your lives. What has been indicated already this morning by speakers, including the member for Wright, is the fact that teachers have to do far more than just educate these days. They have to be psychological advisers and they have to provide food, with the assistance of breakfast clubs. I am glad we have put in $800,000 for that program.
It is amazing: breakfast clubs are across all forms of socio-economic backgrounds; it is not specific to one section of society. It intrigues me that kids go to school hungry, but it is a sad reality of life. If they are hungry, they do not learn properly, because how do you learn when your belly is growling and all you can think about is the next thing you can eat? Certainly, the challenges include guidance and counselling.
We have counsellors at schools but, as I said, every teacher has to be a counsellor because there are so many demands on kids. There is the use of technology, the use of mobile phones, bullying on mobile phones and that sort of thing. It is a very hard job, and I commend teachers for the amount of work they have to do, not just around education but the extra work they need to do. In some cases, they are basically replacing the caregivers or parents because, sadly, there is not a lot of love at home for those children. I commend the teachers who do that. It is tough.
The role of caregivers and parents is pivotal as well, to assist with learning. There is always homework to do and, as has been indicated, parents can link in faster and more easily with teachers. We cannot say enough good things about teachers and the challenges they face and, with World Teachers' Day coming up, I commend them for everything they do, not just in educating our children but also in guiding them into the future so they can be great citizens and make our community a great place to live.
Mr HUGHES (Giles) (11:55): I also rise to support this very good motion that recognises World Teachers' Day. I will try not to go back over my primary school years because that is a long time ago. However, I will say that early education, even before the start of primary school, is incredibly important, and I would argue quite strongly that we need to allocate more resources to our kids before they get to primary school as well as in those early primary school years. You are always playing catch-up for what you do not do in those years, and often you do not succeed.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending Adelaide University's Ingenuity presentation at the Convention Centre. Unfortunately, I had only the lunch-hour period so I did not get to have a look at all the stalls I wanted to look at, at all the amazing work that is being done. It is being done, in part, as a result of the contribution of our teachers both in the public and private education sectors in this state and elsewhere. One of the people I did catch up with was Sarina Barsby, who is in her final year of chemical engineering. She has a scholarship from BHP.
I know Sarina; she knows my kids, and she went to school in Whyalla, the Whyalla Town Primary School, the public primary school in Whyalla where my kids went, and then to Samaritan College, the low-fee Catholic school in Whyalla, for her high school education. As I said, she got a scholarship from BHP. She was working on the neutralisation of saline heap leach raphinate process—and I am sure all of us know what that is. There are a number of different elements involved, but the element she was working on was to optimise the leachate process they are looking at for potential use at Olympic Dam.
At school, Sarina obviously had an enthusiasm for science and the broader STEM subjects, and it was because of the work her teachers, as well as her family and probably her peers, that she has progressed so far. This is someone who has gone to school in Whyalla, received a scholarship from BHP and who, when she graduates, will work at Olympic Dam and make a contribution to our state. I know a lot of people like this, who have come from the public or private education system in regional South Australia and who have gone on to make a fantastic contribution.
When we were in government, we made a significant contribution towards improving STEM facilities in South Australia, and I was incredibly pleased that we got five of those STEM facilities in my electorate. That will benefit our teachers because they need decent facilities in order to be able to deliver the content needed. Sometimes, subject content in this day and age is downplayed somewhat, but it is incredibly important in addition to hoping that we end up with kids who go into the world with a sense of openness and curiosity so that they are willing to have a go at all sorts of things.
One of the proud moments of my life was being invited back to a couple of the schools in Whyalla that I went to, both Samaritan to give the graduate day speech and Eyre High to give the graduate day speech. I listened to the member for Hammond wax lyrical about his school years. I can make a claim to the two schools that invited me back to being both a rebel and a ratbag at both schools. At the Catholic school, I was far more of a rebel than a ratbag, and for being a rebel they felt they had no choice but to expel me. Then I ended up in the public education system and, alas, I deeply disappointed my parents. They thought I would be the first child in an extended family to go to uni, but my timing was impeccable and I managed to get expelled in year 12 for being a ratbag.
This is not about me. In my leaving year, we used to have a leaving public exam. There was a teacher who had a marked impact on me. He said to me, 'You're going to have to pull your finger out because this exam is in three weeks.' He talked about the social contract—the contract between a student and a teacher—and he actually put it into a context that appealed to me. So I did pull my finger out and got through the public leaving exam that year.
The thing about that teacher, in the way that he taught and the way he reacted and engaged with students, is that it left a mark. I went off and did 10 years' worth of labouring jobs, and I would never regret that. But because of what that teacher did, I eventually had the confidence to say, 'No, I'm going to go to uni.' It was the spark that he planted, the confidence that he had, that led me to go to university 10 years later.
That is what teachers can do. Great teachers can really make a massive difference to a person's life. We know that there are a lot of kids who come from incredibly difficult backgrounds, and a good teacher can to a degree partly compensate for that. A good school can to a degree partly compensate for that. On this day, we need to acknowledge all those fantastic teachers. I would like to go through my schools, sites and services individually, but in my large electorate there are over 80 sites and education department services, all the way from the remote APY lands—an area the size of England, with 3,000 people, connected by dirt roads, so the teachers who go up there are isolated, it is remote, and their dedication is amazing—all the way down to the south with the Cowell Area School and some of the bigger schools in Whyalla and Roxby Downs.
In all those schools, you come across teachers who do an absolutely fantastic job. They do a fantastic job even with the equivalent of students who are like me in this day and age. So all the best to our teachers. They deserve all the support we can give them. It is sometimes really difficult because everyone pretends to be an expert. Just because we have been to school, we pretend to be an expert. A lot of parents do, and some of them might be, but a lot of them are really not very well informed at all and that can create all sorts of conflict. Our teachers do a great job. I take my hat off to them.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Member for Frome, I will give you the call.
The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (12:04): Thank you. I did stand first, but I thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. Today, I also want to support the motion brought by the member for Newland; I think it is a great motion.
Teachers are a very integral part of our children's future. We must remember that teachers have children for only a very small part of their lives. They do not have them in the school holidays; they have them for only about six hours a day. Parents have their children for far more time than the teachers, so parents play a part in the teaching of their children.
Teachers make a great impression on the future direction of any student growing up. Other members have gone back on their younger days and things like that, and I would just like to quickly reflect on my younger schooldays, and my primary schooldays in particular. I had the privilege of being taught at Wandearah, a small community just south of Port Pirie, in one classroom comprising seven grades and one teacher.
At that school, I learnt how to be able to relate not only to grades 1, 2 and 3 but also to grades 5, 6, and 7 because we were in the one classroom. At one stage, when you got to grade 3, the teacher would ask you to read the primers, or the readers, to grades 1 and 2, so you would go home at night-time and be very proud of yourself because you got your sticker for reading not only to the teacher but also to the students themselves, and I believe that my education was very, very good.
In my electorate of Frome, in particular, I have a great range of primary schools and secondary schools, ranging from public schools to Catholic, non-Catholic and Lutheran schools. Also, just starting next year, we will have a Uni Hub, which is going to be facilitated in Port Pirie. Instead of having to go to the universities in Adelaide, people will be able to have some tertiary education in the country.
Schoolteachers are really sometimes under great pressure at the moment. In my younger days, we did not have the social media, we did not have the mobile phones and we did not have the technology we have today. Today, we have all this new technology. We have mobile phones, the internet and all of that, so the teachers really need to be on top of their education opportunities. I think that the member for Florey indicated that sometimes people criticise or say that teachers get many holidays. They may have holidays, but in those periods they are preparing for their students in the next semester. They are actually getting all the information, marking reports and things like that.
Certainly, I endorse and commend the motion to the house. I also want to compliment members of parliament on both sides for their dedication to the education of our young kids in this state. I commend this motion to the house.
The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER (Morialta—Minister for Education) (12:07): It is with great pleasure that I rise to speak on this motion, and I thank the member for Newland for bringing it to the attention of the house. It is World Teachers' Day on 26 October. I think it is absolutely appropriate that this house expresses its appreciation to all teachers in South Australia, past and present, who have dedicated their lives to helping our next generation be all they can be.
We want our schools, our learning institutions here in South Australia, to be the best in Australia. We want every student in every classroom in every school in this state to be supported to fulfil and to realise their full potential. This is something that is a bold aspiration, and it is an absolutely worthy one. However, it can only be realised through the extraordinary dedication of a teaching workforce across South Australian schools which is dedicated, capable, high quality and which is at its heart about supporting every child to achieve their full potential. It is a calling, not just a job, and it is something that, as the Minister for Education, I am very passionate about, and I know that the shadow minister is as well.
We have an extraordinary opportunity in our professional and working lives as members of parliament, not just people in the education portfolio, to spend time working with schools in our electorate or, as the minister and shadow minister, across the entire state, listening to teachers, parents and children, of course. Teachers are able to give us insight into the work they do. We celebrate their achievements, their victories and the things they are so proud of, and we listen, of course, to the ways in which we can help them better serve the needs of the students to whom they dedicate their lives.
It is a privilege when we talk to teachers to hear stories which invariably come to things that have happened in their class. They name the student who has presented this or that challenge to whom they are providing this or that support. There is a personal relationship there. Of course, the families of teachers are all too aware of this. Anybody who has a teacher in the house gains an extra 20 or 30 family members every year as most teachers when they come home are still thinking about the needs of those other key people in their lives.
Members have reflected during the course of the discussion this morning on individual teachers they have encountered in their own lives or their children's lives or in their electorates. So as to not curtail the opportunity for other members to speak on other motions, there are hundreds of individual teachers I have encountered as a minister, a shadow minister, a member or indeed through my own life, but I think one person really sums it up for me and what I would like to reflect on.
There was a young woman who was a student at Norwood Morialta High School when I was first elected who was an extraordinarily high achiever. She got great marks in all the seven subjects that she chose to do at year 12 and had scholarship offers from around Australia. She left South Australia, as so many young people do, unfortunately. They have this perception that they need to leave, and I think that is changing. She undertook scientific studies and engineering studies at universities interstate under scholarship. Her home is still in Rostrevor, so occasionally she comes back. She did some intern work for me one summer, so occasionally she drops into the office to say hello to the staff.
She told us that she had a brainwave in about her fourth or fifth year at university that the path that she was heading on, potentially extraordinarily and professionally financially rewarding as it might have been, was not what she wanted to spend her life on. The thing that had touched her most was the teaching of her high school teacher who had really set her on the road to all these things that she was doing at university, and that is what she wanted to do with her life. She wanted to inspire young people in the love of science, particularly young women and particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
So she shifted her gear, and after about 4½ years at university she decided to become a teacher. She is now teaching high school science at a disadvantaged school in the Northern Territory because with all of the options available to her in the world regarding any job she could do, she decided that the most meaningful impact she could have in this world was as a high school science teacher in a disadvantaged school. I thought that was the most extraordinarily appropriate story for all of us.
We have parents in our lives who are our first teachers, we have so many people we interact with throughout the course of our natural life and the teachers at our school who made an impact we remember until we die. It is a worthy profession. It is an utterly laudable calling and it is a way that you impact on the lives of those you see. I have such high regard for teachers. I feel so lucky that I get to spend so much of my professional life engaging with so many teachers—teachers who dedicate their lives to the betterment of the children they work with. I commend this motion to the house and I commend the work of the teaching workforce around South Australia.
Mr PICTON (Kaurna) (12:13): I also rise to support the motion to support our teachers across the state who do such a wonderful job. A number of members have referred to teachers in their own lives who have influenced them and who probably helped to lead them to this place. I know that in my life I have been influenced by teachers, particularly in my own family, as I spoke about in my first speech in this place. I refer to my mother, my grandmother, uncle and aunty who are all teachers. It really has instilled in me through my life the value of teaching, the commitment teachers have to making a difference in our society and for the children they teach. It is particularly important that we mark this occasion in the parliament.
I am very proud and delighted with the work that has happened over recent years in terms of improving facilities across our schools, improving the facilities that our teachers have to provide their great teaching for all children in our state. Particularly in my electorate, I look at the STEM facilities that have been built and are soon to be opened at the Seaford Secondary College and see what a difference they are going to make and the power they provide the teachers at that school in using those new facilities not only to instil skills but also to inspire lifelong learning in the students of my electorate.
That is only going to be increased with further investment from the previous government in the Building Better Schools program. In particular at Seaford Secondary College, that is going to help deliver a performing arts centre. Taking those students who are learning drama, music and other performing arts out of transportables and into a newly purpose-built facility is going to help teachers inspire those kids to take their dreams a lot further.
We know that the complexity of teaching is only getting harder and harder, and we see that in a number of ways—first, in terms of the complexity of children who need to be educated and the complexity of needs they have. We have greater needs in terms of special schooling across our state, an area that has seen more investment and will continue to need more investment in the future. There is a greater need for support officers to help teachers with students with autism and a whole range of disabilities in our schools, so while we are thanking teachers today it is important we also thank support officers in our schools who provide a great service to our students.
Technology has its pluses, but it also has its minuses, and that is another aspect of complexity our teachers have to grapple with, both in terms of how they integrate that into the curriculum and some of the threats that technology leads to, particularly in terms of what we have seen recently with bullying. Sadly, we know that teachers have to deal with that day in, day out, and it is another aspect of their work that is now more complex than it has ever been before.
Another aspect of complexity is that, sadly, there are more and more demands on teachers. You only have to look at any national newspaper to see somebody calling for something to be taught in our schools. More and more of whatever society's ills there are, people say, 'If only we taught that in our schools, then that problem would be fixed.' More and more is being lumped on teachers to deal with. Not only does it make it more difficult to teach the standard curriculum but it also means that teachers have to deal with a whole range of new aspects of learning that have never had to be dealt with in our schools before.
I think it is important that we continue to raise the status of the teaching profession in this state. I will always be supportive of teachers and the high status they should have in this state. We should respect our teachers. We should treat our teachers well. We should make sure that our teachers are well paid. We should make sure that they have a high standard of education before they commence work in our schools, and we should not knock our teachers. There are too many people who knock our teachers. Recently, we saw our Prime Minister knocking our teachers in what was a pretty desperate appeal for votes.
Sadly in this parliament, we have seen people knocking teachers and their holidays and things like that. It is pretty easy to bag teachers, but I do not see a lot of those people who bag teachers rolling up their sleeves and going to work in a classroom, looking after 30 kids and trying to deal with a huge curriculum as well as dealing with behaviour management and kids with special needs, lesson preparation, marking and behind the scenes work that needs to be done and dealing with kids who have child protection issues. The complexity of teaching is massive. You do not see those people who go around bagging teachers pulling up their sleeves and working in a school for what, no doubt, is a lot less pay than those people are on.
I will always stick up for teachers. I thank all the teachers in my electorate who work day in, day out to help their kids, whether they are in government or non-government schools. Let's back them, let's back the profession and lets make sure that they have the tools, the skills, the background and the support they need to look after the kids of this state.
The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE (Chaffey—Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) (12:19): I, too, rise to support this motion. It is an important motion that recognises, through World Teachers' Day, the great work that our teachers do. It is celebrated internationally on 5 October, but in Australia we celebrate World Teachers' Day on the last Friday of the month. Our teachers play a vital role not only in our schools but in our communities. They play a vital role in our homes: they influence parents, they influence their students and they also influence the way that our students and our children think.
One of my fondest memories of school was of attending Henley High some years back—not that many, but some—and of my tech teacher, Mr Rowe. He was a great ally of mine because I was always very keen in tech studies. One day he came to me and said that he thought that I was a bit too smart for school and suggested that I get a job, and I did that. The best thing I ever did was to leave school and get an apprenticeship at GMH. The advice he gave me and his influence over me through my schooldays was profound. It was a great night when, some 40 years later, I met Mr Rowe, Roger Rowe, a constituent of the member for Flinders. We met up and we celebrated the times we had together 40 years earlier. We celebrated the decisions, the influence he had on me and where my career path took me.
I want to touch on the importance of teachers and the profound impact they have had on my family and on everyone's families. Good teachers are an asset for the rest of our lives. The member for Kaurna said that they deserve respect; well, they have to earn respect, like all of us. It is about how those teachers earn respect. Good teachers are good teachers.
In my electorate of Chaffey, I have over 40 schools, preschools and childcare centres, and they do an amazing job in growing, educating and preparing our children. They are not only educators but also coaches, good community Samaritans and people of substance who help to create a really strong and vibrant fabric, particularly of our regional communities. Our regions are continually recognised at the South Australian Public Education Awards.
This year, Christine Laxton, from Renmark Primary School, was a finalist in the School and Preschool Support Award; Amy Hunt, from Barmera Kindergarten, was a finalist in the Innovation in Practice Award; Sofy Pipinis was a finalist for Credit Union SA Primary Teacher of the Year; and Tricia Yandell was a finalist for Secondary Teacher of the Year. These awards recognise outstanding teachers who are dedicated to inspiring students through exceptional mentoring, and that is what it is about: teachers being mentors, being held in high regard and earning respect so that kids listen, so that they respect their opinion and their teaching skills and become better people themselves.
I was pleased to see Riverland teachers acknowledged by their peers for outstanding commitment to and enthusiasm for the profession. Our local students are fortunate to have wonderful role models ensuring students achieve their highest potential.
I think that World Teachers' Day is an absolute accolade for teachers. I think that all teachers are put under more and more stress on a day-to-day basis, given the requirements of teachers to up the ante with teaching skills. We look at techniques with teaching. If we look at the way schools are portrayed, they are always looking to better the school up the road, so we need to make sure that we have good leadership in our schools.
By and large, I think that this motion is a great acknowledgement of what our educators do not only for our children but for us as community people, and I really do pay homage to the great work that our teachers—particularly those in the regions of South Australia—do for our kids. By and large, all teachers, small and large, metro and country, do a great job, and I commend this motion to the house.
Mr TEAGUE (Heysen) (12:24): I rise in support of the motion and commend the member for Newland for moving it in this house. In recognising that 26 October is World Teachers' Day (Australia) and expressing our appreciation for teachers, I wish to take the opportunity to recognise three teachers in particular.
Firstly, Kathy Teague, my mother, was a teacher throughout my upbringing. As I observed in my initial remarks in this place some months ago, she has been the primary role model in my life. Mum was not only a fine teacher for many years, teaching history at St Dominic's Priory College, but a role model, leader and mentor to so many of her students and those who came in contact with her in that teaching environment. I always gladly take any opportunity to recognise my mum, and I particularly do so in the context of this day, but also in coming days as we celebrate her 70th birthday, which comes at the end of a long and successful teaching career, exemplifying the role that we would expect of all teachers.
Secondly, I wish to recognise and thank John Lambert, the leading mentor and role model teacher of mine through my time at school, who gave his long life of professional teaching service entirely in the best spirit of education, that is, in pursuit of excellence at all times, with a view to caring for and nurturing those for whom he was charged with the responsibility of teaching.
Thirdly, I wish to recognise in particular, among so many dedicated teachers throughout Heysen, the principal of the Bridgewater Primary School, Barb Jenkins. During the short time I have been the member for Heysen, I have had the opportunity to interact, collaborate and cooperate with Barb as we look for ways to enhance the experience of education for those at Bridgewater Primary School.
Like so many in charge of our primary schools throughout the state, Barb takes it on board as a personal responsibility to look after the life, health and vigour of all the students at the school; to look after the infrastructure and the surroundings; and to ensure that all students who come in contact with Bridgewater Primary School are receiving the best possible education outcomes. I commend three wonderful examples of teachers to celebrate this very special occasion.
Ms STINSON (Badcoe) (12:28): I rise to support the motion from the member for Newland to note that World Teachers' Day is 26 October, which, incidentally, is my mother's birthday, so happy birthday, mum. I am really proud that in my family there are lots of teachers. My grandad, my mother's father, is a teacher. In fact, he was a school principal at regional schools around the Mudgee area of New South Wales. That is probably one reason that my mother's family moved around so much—they moved to wherever the work was and to wherever my grandfather was posted.
My grandad certainly had a lifelong passion for education, which definitely rubbed off on my mother, who always prized education and who instilled in us girls the importance of getting a good education. The passion my grandfather and my mother have has certainly flowed on to me and my sisters. It was so much so that two of my sisters are also teachers. Between them, they have taught in all sorts of far-flung places, including some of the remote Aboriginal communities in northern WA, the Cocos Islands, where one of my sisters was the only teacher for quite some time and taught children from Malay backgrounds, and also France.
After getting her qualifications, one of my sisters spent some time in France to learn over there. My sisters have certainly made a huge contribution to education not just in Australia and, in particular, remote, regional and quite disadvantaged places in Australia but also overseas. I want to take this opportunity to recognise the contribution that my sisters have made. They are younger than me and have long teaching careers ahead of them, so I am sure that they will touch many lives in their careers.
I also want to thank my grandfather for his commitment and passion for education for a long, long time. He attended Bathurst Teachers' College back in the day when it was just a teachers' college. Over the decades, it transformed into Charles Sturt University. I was lucky enough to attend Charles Sturt University for my first degree, which was my journalism degree, and attend what was then Mitchell College. There is a legacy, I suppose, in that central western part of New South Wales, as far as our family and its connection to education are concerned.
For me, of course, public education has been absolutely critical in my life and has probably made the biggest difference to my life. My family did not always have the greatest of fortunes. There were certainly long periods of unemployment for both of my parents. That could have had a really detrimental effect on my sisters and me, but because I had the advantage of a good public education I do not think I suffered too terribly. The fact that I am standing here right now is obviously testament to the education and support that I got through the different public schools I attended as a child.
I was lucky enough to attend about eight different primary schools, which is quite a lot of different schools, as my parents moved around and looked for work. At each of those schools, I was provided with different opportunities. They had different ways of teaching, and although that probably contributed to a bit of a disjointed education, particularly in my primary school years, it also made me a more adaptable child and flexible young person who could roll with the punches and soak up different experiences from the different places where I went to primary school.
Of course, the thing that made that education great was not really the curriculum, the school buildings, where the schools were or anything like that. It was, of course, the teachers. I have been lucky to have had many great teachers over time. Some of them were my teachers for only three or six months, as we moved from one school to another. With others, I absorbed their wisdom over longer periods of time. To each and every one of them, I say thank you very much for putting up with the rather chatty girl in the classroom who liked to distract others, which was generally the comment I got on my report card each year.
I want to mention a few teachers who made a particular difference in my life. In high school, Mr Arch Fowler, who was at Port Macquarie High School, was a particularly passionate and devoted teacher who always took great care with me, particularly when I was studying modern history. There were only two of us in the three-unit modern history class and he really gave it his all. He was passionate about the subject matter but, more than that, he was passionate about us doing well and having every opportunity to succeed in our senior exams to get our higher school certificates and to be able to thrive in our lives, get into the university degrees that we wanted and have the careers that we wanted.
Certainly, his passion for the subject matter and his dedication to his students have stayed with me my whole life. I hope he knows what an important influence he has been on my life and the lives of many people in our class and how we have carried those lessons with us throughout life.
I want to thank the many teachers who sent me lovely messages when I was fortunate enough to be elected. My old school principal, Mr Longstaff, and Mr Brown both sent me messages and cards, which really touched me. My year 11 and 12 year supervisor, Jill Hartley, is a Facebook friend of mine, and it was lovely to receive a message from her. I think my teachers probably got something out of seeing one of their students elected. Even though I am in a different state from where I went to school, I think they got a bit of a buzz knowing they had made a difference in my life and had given me the opportunity to do something good with the time I have on this earth.
I also want to mention the non-educational aspects of school for me and for many children. Going to public school enabled me to have a diverse range of experiences that my family simply would not have been able to afford or get me to. Sport of course was a big one. I pretty much played every sport I could. I am not sure I have any particular talent for sport at all, but it gave me the opportunity to play, to learn about teamwork and to learn new skills, which is something that everyone needs.
Whether it was athletics, swimming, netball, volleyball or touch football, I was into it, and I was able engage in those sports through my school. I was also encouraged to participate in other extracurricular activities such as debating and public speaking outside school hours. These were facilitated by the school at no cost to my parents, so it was a great privilege for me to be able to engage in those activities.
Art was another big one for me. It is excellent that I now hold the shadow portfolio for art because it was certainly a big passion of mine at school. I think there were only three students across the state who studied Art History Unit 4 in year 12, and I was the only one in my school. It was something I was very passionate about. All those lessons come back to me in my current role, as I have the great privilege of visiting our cultural institutions and seeing the wonderful local, interstate and international exhibitions we are blessed to have in South Australia.
Lastly, I also benefited from community engagement at my school. There was always a strong feeling at all the public schools I attended that life was not just about us and our little community—that life was broader than that. I was taught that, while we may be having a bad day, others out there are having a much worse one, and we need to do everything that we can to support the most vulnerable in our community.
Every public school I went to would have charity days and would explore the different ways that students could get involved in helping our communities. It is obviously a lesson that has stayed with me. It spurred me into becoming involved in student leadership even when I was very young, and then into university and of course where I am now. Public schools in particular provided a place for me to thrive, to figure out who I was and to feel like I belonged, even though my family was constantly moving, especially when I was quite young.
It has been wonderful for me as the member for Badcoe to be able to see some of those things reflected in the public schools within my local area, and I just want to mention a few of them. Forbes Primary School, for example, is doing a fantastic job, particularly with vulnerable kids. I look at those kids as I visit schools around my area and remember what it was like when I was a child. I would like to commend the efforts of Forbes Primary School, Plympton Primary School, Black Forest, Ascot Park and Edwardstown—
Dr HARVEY (Newland) (12:38): I would just like to thank all those members who made a contribution on this motion: the members for Port Adelaide, Narungga, Wright, Morphett, Torrens, Mount Gambier, Florey, Hammond, Giles, Frome, Heysen, Kaurna and Badcoe, the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development and the Minister for Education. As has been reflected upon by all of today's speakers, teachers do a very important job. It is a tough job, but one that all those teachers I have spoken to find incredibly rewarding. We thank all teachers for the work that they do and wish them all a very happy World Teachers' Day this Friday.