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Values and Identity - What does it mean to be a teacher?

Being a teacher in Australia is critical to the improvement and maintenance of Australian society. We are responsible for mentoring students in the process of living and the preparation of their coming futures. It is essential to be fascinated with the subjects that are taught, committed to generating enthusiasm and interest in others and producing an environment respectful to the student’s culture and background. Variety in teaching methodology is very important, not only because students have different learning styles but also as this further stimulates the learning environment. Teachers that value student studies help them make connections across their schooling and personal lives.

The responsibility of a great teacher goes beyond the doors of the classroom. Encouragement to participate in the community and sporting activities provide students with the links and resources to connect with their community, providing opportunities to apply what they have learned in the classroom as lifelong learners.

Being a teacher, means leaving students better than when you found them. This could mean that a student knows more about the specific subject than the teacher, has a new skill, has greater self-confidence, works with others better, understands something better, or is just a happier person in general. I believe teachers are expected to be moral guides (Beavis, 2004) as there is need for values and morals education to bridge the gap between what students know and how they behave. Their role is to give students the best opportunity to be engaged with each learning experience offering them consistency, accuracy and comprehensiveness. This approach seeks to develop within students “sound methods of inquiry and techniques of problem solving” (Mosier, 1951:86); this is grounded in culture and requires a partnership among anthropology, philosophy, and education. It is a philosophy that emphasizes the addressing of social questions and a quest to create a better society and worldwide democracy (Aronowitz, 1993).

Teachers, as professionals are required to continually develop, taking opportunities to learn new skills and enhance their abilities. Regular professional development opportunities to expand curriculum and pedagogy skills as it essentially creates a rippling effect in the lives of students, providing them with the opportunity to gain concrete knowledge and more importantly a desire to apply the knowledge they have gained into their own personal endeavours.

Aronowitz, S. (1993). Paulo Freire's radical democratic humanism. In P. McLaren & P. Leonard. (Eds.), Paulo Freire: A critical encounter p.9. Routledge London.
Beavis, A. (2004). Why parents choose private or public schools.
Mosier, R. (1951) The Educational Philosophy of Reconstructionism, Journal of Educational Sociology, American Sociological Association.

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