Release type: Speech


World Teachers' Day message


The Hon Jason Clare MP
Minister for Education

Think back to when you were little. When you were in those little chairs. When you played in that playground that seemed enormous.

We don’t remember much from when we are little.

Our mums and dads. Feeling love and looked after. Or not. A big family adventure maybe. Grandparents.

And school. Friends. Fun. And that special teacher.

That says something doesn’t it?

It tells us how important teachers are. How important you are.

There are more than 300,000 teachers in our primary schools and high schools today who shape, change and create the people we become. And we need more.

That is why we will soon open applications for new Commonwealth teacher scholarships worth up to $40,000 each.

I hope they will encourage more young people to want to be a teacher.

To get one you will also have to give something back. In return for the $40,000 scholarship you'll have to commit to teach for four years.

We're also improving teacher training. A lot of teachers tell me that when they started, they really didn't feel ready for the classroom.

That the uni course didn’t give them everything they needed to know. That the prac wasn’t up to scratch.

That is why we are making changes to what’s taught at uni.

To make sure teaching students are taught the fundamentals about how to teach children to read and write and how to manage disruptive classrooms.

A lot of teachers also tell me that they don’t really feel valued by their community. We need to change that too.

About 20 years ago, New York City ran a recruitment campaign.

They wanted more people to become a teacher.

The message was really simple.

Here it is: “You remember your first grade teacher’s name. Who will remember yours?”

Simple and powerful. Powerful because it’s true.

Next week, we will kick off a campaign just like this right across the country.

It will tell stories like this.

Imagine a little boy called Matias.

He is five years old, he's in his first year at school, and he's blind. At his school athletics carnival this year he wanted to run without a cane, just like everyone else. So his teacher takes his hand.

They take off together and all his mates start cheering.

“Tay Tay he’s our man. If he can’t do it, no one can!”

This is Matias in that moment.