Last night I followed Christopher Pyne and Jason Loke at the launch of the ACE Young Professionals, at the Australian College of Educators Annual General Meeting. Below is the bones of my speech for those who are interested:
Thank you very much to you Jason, to Pam, and I would like to thank all of you for being here tonight, especially the Member for Sturt, Leader of the House, and of course, Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne. I have followed with great interest, as we all have, the last few years of education under alternative governments. As a young professional, it truly is humbling to be in the presence of leaders of education, and I do hope that our gathering here tonight leaves a positive imprint of the amazing qualities young professionals, and our more experienced colleagues, can share with each other. Both my fiancée and I studied at the same College growing up, and still treasure the bonds that we built with our peers and our teachers. I have gone on to become a teacher, while she is a Dentist, and a lecturer at the University. The system, the value, and the people in education have inspired us every day to build the best education system that is possible. A heartfelt wish from a humble teacher who shares a home with a humble dentist, is that everyone who has joined us tonight continues to build this system to the best of their abilities, and offers their heart and soul to their faculties, departments, and learners.
As I was interviewed for my first teaching role, I was asked the following question: “Now, we are obviously moving towards the Australian Curriculum and we need our staff to be ready to implement this by next year, how will you teach to an Australian Curriculum, rather than SACSA?”. I cleared my throat, smiled a little, looked the interviewer in the eyes and asked “What’s SACSA?”. Of course I was being facetious at this time, but one thing young professionals can bring to the table, and this is certainly also true of a vast number of experienced professionals, is an unburdened outlook on the future of education. We are the future, that much is true, but we are also deeply engaged with the present. We question, we interrogate, we play devil’s advocate, we try to prise information out of people quickly, and perhaps to a fault, we do so with immediate expectations.
Many of us have blogs or social media feeds, and perhaps with leadership positions in school, we possess an audience to drop thought grenades on as we see fit. As it stands now, we do not always engage with intense, probing interrogation of our theories. We live our lives in front of the quizzical eyes of our students, but are veiled from others. Being able to defend one’s ideas is a sign of great understanding and commitment to the concept. I once proclaimed that Moderation is overrated and a waste of time, at which point I was not challenged.
As I said earlier, we are a part of the present and we need to be ready to shape the future. Young professionals cannot be a part of the future without engaging with every aspect of the Education system, but the education system also cannot build its future without us. We need to be challenged, we need to live up to the expectations, we need to live up to our potential. We need to learn alongside everyone in this room how to take the reigns of research, of Educational reform, and we need to start doing it now.