The next generation of teachers was celebrated at a special event last week to commemorate the achievement of 66 proficient teachers – 30 primary and 36 secondary – who will educate and guide the minds of tomorrow.
At Villa D’oro Function Centre in Wollongong, guests gathered for the Teacher Accreditation Recognition Ceremony - an initiative under CEDoW’s Awards and Recognition Program, acknowledging the achievements of teachers who have reached this significant career milestone.
A Proficient Teacher is an experienced teacher who has demonstrated that their teaching practice has met the requirements of the Australian Professional Teaching Standards across all seven standards for full accreditation in NSW.
“Accreditation celebrates quality teaching and inspirational teachers,” said CEDoW Leadership and Professional Growth Team Project Officer, Robyn Fletcher. “I have certainly learned from the passion and enthusiasm of teachers - new to the profession. We feel the future is assured when we look out and see this quality and inspiration before us. There are not too many professions that command this sphere of influence on the lives of young people.”
Mrs Fletcher spoke about the “family” the new teachers were joining as part of the CEDoW school system, and the special bond between teachers, students and parents.
St Joseph’s Albion Park teacher, Jean Claude Seedoyal [pictured above], said the process to become a Proficient Teacher was a challenging road, paved with the help of his colleagues. “The process allowed me to reflect on the way that I taught and the lasting impact it had on my students,” he said.
This sentiment was echoed in the words of St Michael’s Thirroul teacher, Ronelle Peardon. “When you finally receive your degree, there is a certain sense of relief and rightly so,” she said. “You have spent the last four years or so slogging away with study. It is only when you step into your first classroom that you quickly realise that this is only the beginning."
Both teachers spoke about the importance of industry peers.
“We are the lucky ones who have found their marigolds amongst their colleagues,” said Mrs Peardon. “We’re the lucky ones who have fantastic mentors that guide us along this ever-evolving journey of learning and refining our craft.”
On the night, guests included proud parents, partners, friends, principals, CEO staff, the Director of Schools and Bishop Brian Mascord.
The guest speaker for the evening was Kristy South, Instructional Coach at Nazareth Shellharbour City, who has gained the accreditation level of Lead Teacher. This title recognises a teacher as an advocate, mentor and leader in the teaching profession.
“Achieving Proficiency is recognition of your dedication, knowledge and experience, a significant achievement in your teaching careers, and it celebrates quality teaching,” said Mrs South. “Personally, when I think of accreditation I think of one word - impact.”
In her speech, Mrs South encouraged teachers, of all levels, to constantly upskill and continue their own education: “I hope that in the coming years as you continue in your teaching careers, you consider and begin accreditation towards the Higher levels, as I know there are many experts and Highly Accomplished teachers here today.”
The night was concluded by Director of Schools, Peter Turner, who acknowledged attendees. “At this stage of my own career as an educator, I know that teaching is indeed an inspirational and noble professional calling that is constantly evolving,” he said. “Good teachers discern, respond and adapt - they grow and develop and constantly hone their pedagogical and relational skills.”
He also encouraged all teachers to maintain a growth mindset and never stop learning or growing.
“I feel encouraged and reassured that our kids, and their families, have you in their lives making a difference, having an impact, being a source of good and positive influence in their learning and their faith,” Mr Turner told the audience. “I pray that you will have empathy in the most challenging times and keep a smile on your face, especially when it's hard to find a reason to. In the relationship with your students, find ways to give them a voice, an authentic role in the construction of their learning and capacity building.”
CEDoW would like to congratulate all the staff who have recently become Proficient and hope that they will continue to have a positive impact on the lives of the students they teach.