Tuesday, 06 June 2023
Reception to thank supporters of Educators SA
Rod and I are delighted to welcome you to Government House in our capacity as joint patrons of Educators SA.
I know Rod is especially looking forward to engaging in conversations with you later, as his career paths, first as a physicist and then British diplomat, led to teaching High School maths and physics.
His insights, honed by experience in the classroom, have been invaluable as we visited schools across the State in our community role.
We have been impressed by the enthusiasm the students have for their communities and the pride those communities have in their students.
That is in no small part due, as an audience such as this would well know, to the dedication and hard work of their educators and school leaders.
I often reflect, as I am sure you all do, on the educators we knew and who inspired us.
I am grateful to those educators at Linden Park Primary School and Walford Anglican School for Girls, who encouraged curiosity, supported scholarship, lifted up those who were struggling and motivated us to contribute to our community.
I often wondered how they did it. Now I know. It takes passion, commitment, and a large dose of resilience. A “can do” attitude and a sense of ambition for their students. And an enormous amount of hard work, often well beyond remunerated hours.
While it is undoubtedly rewarding to nurture young minds and set firm foundations for their futures, I am aware of how challenging classrooms can be.
Lesson planning takes time and hard work, heavy workloads encroach on family or leisure time, schools as a microcosm of a wider society see educators and school leaders at the forefront of dealing with student behaviours and bearing the stress of ever higher expectations.
A key to success is support and Rod and I thank Educators SA for its role in supporting and representing its 61 member associations, many of which are here today.
As representatives of these associations, you play an important role in driving the development of educator quality in South Australia by running the professional educator organisations.
Growing up in Adelaide, I was struck by how many people willingly give of themselves to contribute to organisations and issues they care about.
Because they care, yes, but also because they want to help influence best practice and build better communities.
Since returning home and meeting so many people who are contributing to our State, I believe this spirit of volunteering and community has deepened.
I congratulate Educators SA for expanding its focus on early career and pre-service educators and launching an initiative to provide free mentoring to early career educators, particularly in country areas.
Knowing that there is peer support and advice on how to navigate challenges from those who have experienced those challenges themselves will be invaluable in helping early career educators gain confidence early that this is the right long-term career path and that they are valued.
The World Teachers’ Day awards ceremony and the Educator Volunteers Recognition ceremony provide a sense of belonging to the profession and the inaugural Educators’ Ball will bring people together and, I hope, create a sense of joy in being an educator.
And there is indeed joy in shaping our future through empowering the next generation of leaders.
There can be no better calling.