Education Week 2018

We should be celebrating Education Week and those who make our education system the fantastic system it is. Education Week is celebrated on an annual basis from 6 August to 10 August. The theme for Education Week 2018 is, "Today's schools creating tomorrow's world."

We are here this afternoon not to score political points but to celebrate how New South Wales public schools are equipping young people with the capabilities and skills they will need into the future and to consider how our students, parents, communities, teachers and other school staff can best thrive.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Do not forget the grandparents.

Ms TRISH DOYLE: We cannot forget the grandparents, school communities, friends, and parents and citizens associations. The messages from Education Week this year are about developing a growth mindset; applying learning in the real world; the evolution of the classroom, especially as we move into the next century; integrating technology; building strong relationships—many schools are part of a community hub—creating schools where every student and family feels cared for and loved; ensuring a system-wide commitment to excellence and innovation; and placing students at the centre of our efforts. I commend everyone who works in the education system, especially within the public school system, this week and every week.

I just told a colleague about something lovely that happened to me just before the school holidays. A former student of mine saw me in the supermarket and raced towards me shouting, "Ms Doyle, Ms Doyle". He threw his arms around my knees and asked when I was coming back to school because he missed me. I said to him, "I have a new job now, mate." He looked at me and said, "Could you at least turn up at recess and play handball one day." So I did. I turned up and met my old kindergarten class, who are now in year 4, and we played a game of handball at recess. It was fantastic. It was also great to see my old colleagues again.

It gives me enormous pleasure to pay tribute to those colleagues, who, day in and day out, spend many long hours before school, during all their breaks, after school and in school holidays ensuring that excellent student learning happens in their classrooms. Students, teachers, school communities and all school systems deserve recognition. It would be remiss of me not to note the comments that my former colleagues make when they run into me about teacher workloads and the stress they feel. It is important for me to give voice to some of the stories of my colleagues—the people who work at the coalface. One teacher said, "The personal rewards are few nowadays and the cost is great…I have never been more stressed in my life."

Constant testing of our students and constant collection and reporting of data has become cumbersome and tiresome. It often does not give parents the useful information the system tells us it should; it just taxes our teachers. For example, to write reports teachers devote a minimum of 72 hours of their own time twice a year outside the core business of teaching in the classroom. The exorbitant workload of teachers must be acknowledged. It is diminishing the quality of teaching because there are just not enough hours in the day to achieve all that has to be done. In Education Week 2018 I pay tribute to all teachers for their professionalism and thank them for their time and dedication.

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