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PTC Awards Night Inspiring


Through their tireless work as part of professional associations, educators spend endless hours volunteering their time and expertise to better the profession and improve outcomes for their colleagues and students.

Their unpaid work and dedication often goes without acknowledgment, which is why the Professional Teachers’ Council of New South Wales’ Presentation Evening on Tuesday was so important.

The event, held at Australian Catholic University in Sydney, formally recognised the hard work of more than 20 educators representing their respective associations.

It was clear as we gathered in the foyer before the ceremony that many of the award recipients had been joined by their colleagues and peers from their schools and associations for support – which made the energy in the room positively electric.

On the night, there were several Outstanding Professional Service Awards, but also major awards given to four recipients from various categories. Dr Anita Collins from the University of Canberra was named the recipient of the Music Trust Award for her research into the benefits of music education. During her address to the audience, Collins said that despite her time being mostly taken up in research at the university, she continues to work in the classroom as a music teacher part time – which is something she encourages all those working in universities to continue to do where possible. The Exceptional Service Awards for 2014 were given to two worthy recipients, Ailsa Homes-Walker and Carol Taylor.

The audience learned that Homes-Walker’s service to the education sector as the director of PTC NSW has spanned 17 years, during which time she was part of a successful lobby group to ensure that teacher librarians were recognised as accredited teachers by the NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards.

Taylor, who has only recently retired, began her education career as a teacher of English and history. More recently working with the Board of Studies in NSW, she has played a significant role in shaping the assessment policies and procedures in NSW education.

While addressing the audience, Taylor acknowledged her “fabulous career at the board of studies”.

“I have gone through a number of farewells, as you can imagine, leading up to my retirement in October,” she said.

But she went on to say that this acknowledgement was the one that meant the most to her because it came from her peers.

As the recipient of the Media Award for Excellence on the night, I was thrilled to share with the audience the story that won me the major prize for my positive portrayal of the work of teachers and schools, recognition of their value to the community and contribution to changing public perceptions of the significance of teaching as a profession.

In February 2014, I wrote a feature about the Bakharia family after interviewing the eldest child, Abdulah, about winning a teaching award.

Abdulah shared with me the personal story of his beloved mother, Rada, who taught herself to read and write as a child and harboured a lifelong ambition to become a teacher. Although her dream was never realised, Rada instilled in her children a love of education from a very young age and remarkably, all eight of them went on to become teachers in their mother’s honour.

I was moved by the reaction of the audience to the telling of this story, and was delighted to be able to spend time chatting after the ceremony to many people about the wonderful work of Abdulah’s family and other teachers in schools all across New South Wales.

My presence at the award evening affirmed for me something I already know about educators – they truly are a remarkable group of people unlike any others, and the formal recognition given through the awards handed out on the night were a fitting acknowledgement of some truly extraordinary people in our sector.

There's more to this story:

Friday 31 October 2014 is World Teachers’ Day and the Professional Teachers’ Council New South Wales (PTC NSW) seeks the support of the media in the recognition and celebration of our teachers and the teaching profession.

World Teachers’ Day is an important acknowledgement of the professionalism of teachers and their invaluable contribution to the future of our society through their professional teaching associations.

UNESCO first declared World Teachers’ Day in 1994. Since that time communities around the world have been honouring their teachers on this day.

"World Teachers’ Day is an opportunity to publically acknowledge the work of all teachers. It is also a time to express gratitude to the many volunteer teaching associations and show them how much they're valued," said Denis Mootz, President of the Professional Teachers’ Council NSW.

“It is the opportunity for the community to reflect on and acknowledge the vital and challenging work that all teachers do” he said.

In recognition of the outstanding work teachers undertake through their professional teaching associations the Professional Teachers’ Council NSW established the prestigious Exceptional Service Awards and the Outstanding Professional Service Awards as an acknowledgment of excellence in the profession.

These awards recognise the outstanding professional contribution to education made by teachers through professional teaching associations.

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