NGS News

The Complexity of Teaching

Teaching and teachers can profoundly change and significantly enhance lives.

Marcia Devlin, CEO of the Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership wrote an opinion piece recently about the status and role of the teaching profession. At the end of a complex Term 1 2022, three years into the pandemic, I’d also like to add my voice to supporting and thanking our teachers.  

Of course, everyone thinks they completely understand what teachers do – because unlike other professions, we have all seen it firsthand – we have all attended school. But that was in the past and things are very different today. 

As I reflect on the Term just finished, I want to congratulate and thank the teachers at Newcastle Grammar School. The anxieties and complexities of the world we live in — war in the Ukraine, devastating flooding in the north of our State and the highly transmissible Omicron COVID-19 variant — have impacted all of us, adults and children alike.  

Against this backdrop I have watched our teaching staff perform superbly for their students:  

  • delivering outstanding teaching and learning outcomes, from K-12 
  • continually providing a safe, stable, and caring approach to counter students’ anxiety and fears 
  • rising to the significant challenge posed by hybrid learning, which means ensuring students are involved in the classroom while at home in isolation due to COVID.

For example, as at the end of Term 1, we have taught over 400 Secondary students online concurrently with the students in the classroom. 

As Devlin states, “How often do we stop to think about how teachers deal with these matters every day in their classrooms when children and young people ask questions about them, show impact or trauma from them, or display general worry or anxiety from living in our tumultuous and uncertain times?”  

This has perhaps been one of the most complex terms for teachers that I have ever seen. They have managed this without complaint for the last 10 weeks and, at all times, have kept the needs of their students at the forefront of their minds. It hasn’t all gone to plan. How could it? However, they have been magnificent, and I am very proud of them. 

In addition, I want to publicly recognise and applaud our exceptional administrative and support staff, who have kept the School running in very trying times:

  • providing a professional and responsive service to parents’ enquiries and concerns
  • offering care and compassion to students when they are sick or injured 
  • helping to manage the everyday needs of a school in terms of assessments, exams, reports, Parent Teacher Evenings, enrolments, and more 
  • delivering over 20,000 RAHTs to the school community. 

Thank you to all the Newcastle Grammar School teachers and staff. 

We deeply appreciate the many significant roles you take each and every day, and the enormous contribution you make to our School and the students in your care.  

“Let’s also consider speaking up for teachers and to the complexity we all know teaching entails.” 

Erica Thomas
Head of Newcastle Grammar School