Today we celebrate World Teachers’ Day – a day which provides an opportunity for us to reflect on the individuals who work with the girls at Lowther Hall to help them learn and thrive. The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed many families to observe the practice of teachers much more closely than usual over the last 18 months, as they have “zoomed in” to lounge rooms and kitchens to deliver virtual learning, facilitate activities and to check in on their students. The passion, knowledge and care of these professionals has not been diminished as they have pivoted in and out of remote learning and I know that perhaps more than ever, parents and carers have come to appreciate the relationships that teachers foster with their students and to observe with admiration, their patience, their skill and their investment.

The job of teaching has changed a great deal over the 30 years that I have been part of the profession. Teachers have continued to be experts in their various fields, imparting knowledge of history or mathematics or music, but they have increasing also come to be professionals with deep knowledge of the health and cognitive conditions that they may need to assist young people to navigate as they learn. They have become skilled listeners and protectors as they have absorbed more responsibility for the well-being and psychological health of their students and they have become values leaders as they have taken on the task of helping those in their classes to understand their responsibilities to use their voices and to work for a more sustainable, inclusive and fair future.

During the last two years, with girls at home for their learning for many weeks, parents and caregivers have also often had to take on the role of teacher, particularly when students have been in younger year levels. I want to celebrate you today as well, and thank you for the contribution you have made to the positive learning experiences of our girls, which have been able to be sustained even under the most challenging of conditions. Your dedication and commitment has allowed us to maintain strong connections between home and school and to ensure that girls continue to make positive gains across the curriculum.

As we head into next week and the return of all students to face to face learning, I know that our teachers are feeling excited to have time in classrooms with their girls and that the girls are looking forward to finishing the year working in person with their teachers. I am incredibly proud of all of our teachers at Lowther Hall. They are an incredibly talented, devoted and capable group of professionals and I know that our girls’ lives and their learning are enriched through their work. Happy World Teachers’ Day to all!

Ms Elisabeth Rhodes