St Peter's Boys Prep Teachers - I Salute You

  • October 06, 2016 | Rob Macaulay - Headmaster

I am writing this article on the morning of World Teachers’ Day: 5 October.  It is interesting to reflect on how the role of the teacher has changed in our modern world. Traditionally, the teacher has been the imparter of knowledge and skills aimed at preparing the child for a place in an industrialised workplace. Numeracy and literacy were combined with general knowledge and scientific skills to become the basket of goods delivered by the teacher.

Over the past twenty five years we have seen an enormous increase in the emphasis placed on what were previously regarded as recreational activities. With ever increasing opportunities to earn a good living in the worlds of art, drama and sport, schools have been forced to move their thinking away from offering these activities as complementary, to adjusting their basket to include the offering of a mini-academy in each of these areas. Professional coaches and teachers have been employed and Headmasters have lost their jobs based on the perception of the old boys’ network that the school's first team was not performing.

Let us now add to the mix that there is a general breakdown of community living and institutions, such as the Church, are often marginalised in a post-modern and secular world. Both parents are now having to hold down full time jobs in order to cope in our consumerist and competitive society. Who then, is responsible for the inculcation of values and the growing need for a highly developed sense of EQ in an increasingly global society? 

Who is expected to deal with the fallout when modern pressures cause traditional family structures to collapse? Schools now employ psychologists, counsellors and other professionals to help with the demand to be community centres and even faith centres. However, it is the teacher at the coalface who first encounters these demands.

While high schools move towards the employment of more and more specialists in these various areas, the traditional primary school classroom teacher is expected to diversify and become not only a “Jack of All Trades” but “THE Jack of all Trades.”  At St Peter’s, our teachers have not only taken this role on willingly, but with a huge amount of passion.  Teachers, on this World Teachers’ Day, I salute you.