Classroom teaching was once a chalk and blackboard affair with very little technology involved.
For two generations of Canberra teachers, the experience of learning to teach could hardly have been more different.
Trish Ghirardello and her daughter, Amelia, pictured, reflected on the way technology had changed the classroom environment in the lead-up to World Teachers’ Day, which takes place on Sunday.
Amelia is in her second year of teaching at Narrabundah College and her mother is an executive teacher at Mawson Primary School.
“I never wanted to be a teacher because I grew up with a mum who was a teacher,” she said.
“But I kept finding myself in teaching and mentoring roles and realising I was good at them and enjoyed them.”
Amelia, who teaches dance and media, said technology had greatly changed the classroom, not just in the hardware it had introduced but in the way it had shaped students’ ideas.
“I am teaching students who have always had YouTube and the internet and they don’t fathom a world where they didn’t exist,” she said.
“I have asked them ‘should you be taking these things at face value or questioning them’?
“Teachers have to find ways to integrate technology into the classrooms in a way that really adds value and not just have it there for novelty’s sake and that can be quite challenging.”
The Australian Education Union’s ACT branch spokesman Tom Greenwell said World Teachers Day was a good time to highlight the increasing workload on educators.
“Teachers have always gone above and beyond to deliver the best results for their students,” he said.
“However, the job is growing increasingly complex and challenging. Managing online learning environments, individualising student learning, provision of increasingly detailed feedback on assessment tasks are examples of innovations that are improving student outcomes but are also time consuming.
“It’s common for teachers to not get any kind of break before 3pm and for teachers to spend hours of personal time on weeknights and weekends delivering for their students.
“Recognising the crucial role teachers play in our community requires we ensure teachers have given adequate time to do their job and are remunerated appropriately.”