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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 October 2018) . . Page.. 4113 ..


issues in the ACT. They need serious discussion and serious reflection as to how we get it right. I hope the minister is prepared to add more than a literal bandaid solution.

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (4.00): I am very happy to talk on this important issue—the importance of valuing and supporting ACT teachers for every ACT child and young person and their family. Despite what Ms Lee has referred to in her speech, it is timely for us to be discussing this matter this week because World Teachers Day is celebrated in Australia this Friday, 26 October.

This is a good chance for us to stop to reflect on our education system, especially with the debates going on around the country and here in the ACT about our schools. It gives us the chance to think about our own experiences with the teachers in our lives who have helped shaped our childhood and maybe the teachers in the lives of our children. As I was sitting here I was trying to recall all of the teachers in my life—Mrs Sadler, Mr O’Keefe, Ms Dibbs, Mr Langford and school principals, Mr Cainier and Mr Southern—and there are a whole lot more, of course, that I could list.

I was out on the weekend with Ms Orr naming a park in Moncrieff and I came upon a former teacher of mine, Mr Allen, aka Roger, who will always be known to me as Mr Allen. He was a primary school teacher for me, and whilst he was very kind in his reflection of me as a student when he was the teacher, he was a little more honest with my daughter on reflections of my work as a student, and she was wickedly enjoying the reflections on my childhood with Mr Allen.

I thought about how that is a really great thing in the ACT: we can from time to time run into teachers we have had over the years and reflect on the difference they made in our lives, regardless of whether it is a small or large thing, and remember that they were a part of it.

Another teacher I fondly recall was known as a relief teacher at the time or an emergency teacher—that can often be the case when you are doing relief work with year 9 students. Mr Volk was our history relief teacher and he played the guitar. As year 9s in the 80s we were all very keen on Van Halen, Pink Floyd and that kind of music. So when Mr Volk came into the class the song we asked him to play on guitar was Stairway to Heaven because we knew it went for 12 minutes and it would take up half the class, and we could usually get him to have another go at it.

We did not do much school work, but we enjoyed the company of Mr Volk and hearing him play Stairway to Heaven. Although guitar was not the class at the time—it was history from my recollection—I learned the first couple of chords of Stairway to Heaven, which is an achievement in itself.

I understand the impact teachers have in our lives, small or large, career-changing or just dealing with bumps along the way. Certainly for the teachers working with my children it has not always been a smooth journey, and I appreciate all the work they do with my children, my friends’ children and the children of the Canberra


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