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World Teachers' Day

SEPTEMBER 28, 2017

Mr WINGARD (Mitchell) (12:03): I rise today also to speak in support of the motion:

That this house—

(a) celebrates World Teachers' Day held annually on 5 October; and

(b) acknowledges the vital and inspirational role teachers play in providing quality education in a range of settings and to a diverse range of community members.

As the member for Chaffey said before, and I am sure members in this chamber on both sides will say again, one of the wonderful parts of this job is engaging with young people. It is one of the parts that I truly enjoy. I think we have a great opportunity, as members of this place, to help inspire and give great thought to young people when we do get to meet them in our community or in fact when they come in here on parliamentary tours. We have the opportunity to get them really excited about being members of the community who give back. By leading the way and showing the way, hopefully we can excite other young people to do the same. Whilst we are not technically teachers, we do have that teaching role.

Another thing I would like to do is thank all the teachers I had over my time. The one thing I noticed about teaching (and I was involved in the sector for a while) is that when you are out there doing the work and you are putting your heart and soul into this job you do not know the impact you are going to have years down the track. If you are an accountant or a lawyer or a doctor or whatever it might be, you can see the results very much before your eyes. When you are a teacher, you are planting a seed and the reward of that seed is not known until it has germinated many years down the track.

I find that a really tough job for teachers because a lot of the time the good work they do is not realised, even by the pupils, until 10 or 15 years down the track when they realise and sit back and think, 'Wow, what that teacher did for me was absolutely fantastic,' and the member for Chaffey mentioned as much. I have many personal experiences like that in my life, so to that end I would like to thank personally all the teachers who were ever involved in my life.

More importantly, I mentioned the schools and the great part we have in this role of engaging with schools. I have a lot in my community that cross over a number of boundaries, and I would just like to mention them on this occasion. Brighton Primary School is one in my community that is shared with the member for Bright, David Speirs, and they have a new principal, Ian Filer, who is doing a great job. I have had a long association with that school as well. In fact, we had them in here for a tour of parliament not so long back and the students were absolutely outstanding. They were so well behaved and so respectful, and again they had that great energy and thirst for knowledge that was wonderful to see.

I have had a lot of involvement with Darlington Primary School over their journey. They have a new principal there as well. We have had them enter our Christmas card competition and they are, again, a very engaged group of students and wonderful kids, and it is great whenever they do come on a parliamentary tour and I appreciate it. I met with Cheryl Ross, the principal of Marion Primary School, and had a bit to do with a number of the students. In fact, one of their students is playing Auskick in the AFL grand final this weekend, so that is very exciting for that school community.

I have a very close association with Paringa Park Primary School, where the member for Chaffey said he went as a young student. Their principal, Leanne Prior, is doing a marvellous job. It is a great little school, and recently I helped judge their Paringa's Got Talent concert, which was an incredibly tough thing to do, as I am sure all members in this place who have taken part in something like that would know.

Warradale Primary School is another great primary school I had in here for a parliamentary tour just a few weeks ago; in fact, the Hon. Michelle Lensink from the other place helped out with that. She talked about the upper house and I talked about this wonderful chamber, and before they moved through I had to explain to the kids how much better this chamber was; I am sure Michelle gave a different interpretation. Bec Maddigan was the teacher who got that group together and, again, they were wonderful kids—so well behaved, so attentive, so respectful—and asked brilliant questions. They were sponges for knowledge. The principal is Greg Graham, and I look forward to working with them more in the future.

Liz Keogh is the principal of Christ the King School. They had their school fete earlier in the year, back in April, and do a wonderful job in their local community as well. The Stella Maris Parish School principal, Sean Hill, is a good friend of mine and does an outstanding job. Every time I go to that school the kids are just so well behaved, so respectful and so engaging. That is what I love about it. I am not sure if I am getting old or if it is a reality, but the young kids of today really do look you in the eye, shake your hand and engage so wonderfully well. That is no more evident than at Stella Maris Parish School with Sean doing a great job there.

I visited St Teresa's with David Speirs, the member for Bright. The principal is Peter Mercer. They are doing a wonderful job and, very much like Stella Maris, they have outstanding students. Sunrise Christian School, which is just around the corner, again has great young students doing good things in our community. I have a very close association with Brighton Secondary School, and just the other day I compered the White Ribbon domestic violence question and answer seminar.

They brought in kids from other schools and a number of people sat on the panel; in fact, the member for Reynell sat on the panel. It was really wonderful to see the students so engaged in where their community is going and what impact and input they want to have into their society. I commend principal, Olivia O'Neill, and all the students; in fact, my two kids go to that school. It is the school I went to where I had some of those wonderful teachers, and it is always a pleasure to go back to what is now Brighton Secondary School. For the older people in the place, it was once Brighton High School.

Another great school is Marymount College, which is part of the Catholic community in my local area. I mentioned Stella Maris and also mentioned St Teresa's, which are feeder schools for Marymount College, a middle school for girls.

There are some changes going on there, too. I know a number of the teachers there, and there are some exciting changes going on with Marymount merging with Sacred Heart and the middle school as well, so there are some exciting times ahead for that school. Again, there are some great teachers whom I know personally at Marymount, and I thank them for all the work they do.

I also had a lovely tour of Westminster School. The acting principal, Grant Bock, took me around and it was great to see the facilities they have. I commend them for the great work they do and the wonderful students they have. They have a wonderful school fair, as well, which I visited back in April. The number of people in the community who turn out to support it is absolutely wonderful. The new principal, Simon Shepherd, is starting in term 4 and I wish him all the very best at Westminster.

Seaview High School is another school I have had a lot to do with. Penny Tranter is the principal and Bill Stapleton is the deputy principal. David Speirs, the member for Bright, and I visited there recently and we had a bit of crossover with a lot of the students. To see what Penny has done with that school over the last few years has been outstanding. She really has engaged and changed the culture. Every time I speak to students there, and I often do, with their leadership groups and so on, the pride in that school is growing minute by minute, so a big congratulations to all the teachers there.

In fact, I have been to a staff meeting and a governing council meeting. A couple of the teachers there were actually teachers of mine when I was at school. I will not mention their names, but Phil Lendrum is one. I did have to remind him but, thankfully, he did not have too many bad things to say about me. I. Again, it is great to see these teachers who have been doing the job for such a long time.

Seaview Downs Primary School is another school with an outstanding principal in Des Hurst. He has come in and really just turned that school around and they are going gangbusters. They have really picked up in the IT department, and people are coming from far and wide to get into that school. It is an absolutely outstanding school. One student, Holly, was one of the winners of our Christmas card competition last year, so there are kids with a lot of talent in that school. Again, a big thank you to all the teachers there who are doing an outstanding job.

Sheidow Park is another great school, and Woodend Primary School is, in fact, coming in for a school tour in just under an hour's time so we will catch up with them very shortly. Again, the member for Bright and I have had a fair bit to do with those schools as well. St Martin de Porres has Craig Fosdike as the principal doing a great job in the local community. Reynella Primary School is an outstanding school.

I know that Steve Freeman was at Reynella, but he has now gone to Woodend as the principal. I really admire and respect the work that he did at Reynella Primary School when he was the principal at that school. He had the respect of all the teachers and all the parents and created a really wonderful hub for that community. Steve did an absolutely outstanding job and I am sure that he is doing similarly at Woodend Primary School, and I look forward to catching up with their classes in a few moments.

Reynella South is another school that I love engaging and working with. It has some absolutely fantastic students who really look for any and every opportunity. I have had an opportunity on a number of occasions to speak at their school or engage with their students and the governing council and all the teachers there. They are really passionate about doing wonderful things in that school and in that community. I know they have a new principal there now in Karen Knox.

They have been on parliamentary tours, as well. They are all very respectful and great kids. When the teachers come in, often when they bring students into this place they want to make sure that they are on their best behaviour, and they really seem to be putting in a fair bit of effort, and 99 times out of 100 I turn to the teachers and say, 'These students are absolutely fantastic and so well behaved and so engaged with what is going on.'

Again, I cannot sing the praises of teachers highly enough. A number of my personal friends are teachers, and I know the true importance of teaching in our community and what it also does for our state long term by generating absolutely wonderful people. The thing I think that is so important about World Teachers' Day is the point I made at the very start, and the point I will finish with: so often teachers plant a seed in a young student and it does not germinate until many years later, so they do not get to thank that teacher. I think World Teachers' Day on 5 October is a perfect opportunity to thank all the teachers out there who have had any impact on any student, especially here in South Australia, to make our state great.

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