World Teachers’ Day, celebrated in NSW on 29 October 2021, is an opportunity to recognise all of the dedicated teachers and staff who serve the schools of our diocese.
This year’s celebration coincides with the commemoration of 200 years of Catholic education in Australia. The themes for both events (‘Faith in the Future’ and #BrightFuture) inspire us to look beyond the here and now to the months and years ahead. From my perspective, it is easy to do this with great confidence because of you.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly disruptive to so many aspects of our lives, including the work of teachers and schools. If we were to seek a silver lining though, it would be that the disruption experienced by students and their families has helped reclaim the nobility of teaching in our society and proven that schools—and their campuses, classrooms, and professional educators—are essential to delivering high-quality learning and giving children the best possible start in life.
Teaching is noble work. It's the profession that creates all other professions. The theologian, Tom Groome, suggests that “teaching is a vocation to love—often stretched and tested to the limits”. This year, teachers have truly been stretched and tested, but you have maintained your commitment to faith, hope, and love. Teachers are superheroes and your superpower is the power to create a better, brighter future tomorrow by providing positive learning experiences in the lives of young people today.
In many ways, this superpower is a biblical one. Scripture provides no shortage of metaphors about seeds and the importance of sowing patiently today in expectation of a future reward. One such metaphor is found in Paul’s letter to the Galatians where he urges the first-century believers not to “lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary”. (Gal 6:9)
In our day, and in our fast-paced, instant gratification society, Pope Francis reminds us that “the results of sowing do not depend on our abilities: they depend on the action of God”. He tells us that while it is up to us to sow with love, commitment, and patience, “the strength of the seed is divine. This is our trust, this is what gives us strength to go forward every day with patience, sowing the good that will bear fruit.”
During these especially challenging times, I hope that in planting the Swan River Daisy seeds contained in the bookmark you receive this World Teachers’ Day will serve as a tangible reminder that our work is never in vain and that we have a hope that will always transcend our immediate circumstances.
Thank you for your continued belief in and commitment to the liberating power of Catholic education. The impact of your work is felt directly by the almost 20,000 young people in our schools. It is each one of you who uniquely makes a difference each day in the lives of young people, their families, and the community you serve.
Director of Schools
Happy World Teachers' Day for 2021!