Teacher identity all important
Teachers in Australia need to claim their own story, challenging outdated notions of the early learning sector in an effort to be taken more seriously in the community.
This is the view of Anthony Semann, who presented his ideas at the 2019 Goodstart Early Learning teachers conference recently.
Entitled Being a Teacher: Integrating Identity, Theory and Practice, Mr Semann was joined by leading education expert Sir Kevan Collins, child psychologist Dr Louise Porter and early childhood education consultant Kirsty Liljegren.
Mr Semann’s presentation focused on teacher identity and the importance of carving a narrative and practice in the early years sector.
“Teachers need to tell their stories of impact, without feeling ashamed. We have to find our voice, not just within our work environments but with families,” Mr Semann said.
“We need to challenge outdated notions of who we are and reclaim the term early childhood teacher. Identity is shaped in many ways and we all have a role both individually and collectively to shape it. Teachers play a critical role in quality in early childhood learning.“
Mr Semann said teachers traditionally had been viewed by the community as caregivers for children who were passive and dependant.
But he said they now needed to become social change makers and protagonists who challenged the status quo.
“When you as a teacher walks into a room, you want people to roll their eyes because they know you will challenge their ideas, be a leader of themselves and others, be border crossers and thought leaders.”
Goodstart Early Learning employs more than 1000 early childhood teachers throughout the country and aims to increase that number by 2020 to ensure there are at least two teachers in each of our centres.
Goodstart general manager pedagogy and practice Sue Robb said the organisation’s most important resource was people. “With the right people we can do anything,” she said.
“We need to invest in our people so that they are as skilled and knowledgeable as they can be to deliver the best early learning for our children,” she said.
The conference was also an opportunity to celebrate the region’s new teacher mentors. Conferences are being held throughout Australia.
Read more on the teacher's conference here