Alota Lima has served on the QCT Board since 2012 bringing with her 30 years’ experience spanning multiple roles in education. As the
Elected State School Practising Teacher representative, her perspective has helped shaped and influence the Board’s thinking
with special emphasis on rural and regional matters.
She reflects on her proudest achievements during a dynamic decade, what she wishes people knew about the Board, and her hopes for the future.
QCT: Can you explain a little bit about the role of the Board at the QCT?
Alota: The Board has oversight of the functions of the QCT: making sure that we meet the requirements of the legislation, but also making sure that due diligence is in place; making sure that we observe the rights of teachers and support teachers wherever possible to become the professionals they all want to be; and to make sure that those pathways are clear and understood by all. It's also there to lift the profile of the profession so that people can see the wonderful work teachers do on a day-to-day basis.
QCT: Are there some key messages that you wish teachers and the community knew about the Board and its work?
Alota: One particular focus of the Board is the understanding that teaching is a profession. It has professional requirements and a part of those requirements is ongoing learning and understanding, not only the basics of educating someone — and educating them well — but also having that vision about where we can take students.
The QCT keeps the focus on that forward movement and on that vision of making sure that Queensland teachers are the best teachers they can possibly be and that they have the tools to stay there. The QCT is there providing online support to maintain the professional expertise and to build the professional expertise with those teachers.
Across the board, the Catholic, the Independent, the State school teachers, wherever they are in Queensland, the QCT has got their back and is making sure that they understand the profession and that they understand the pathways to grow.
QCT: How has the role of the Board changed in your time as a long-serving Board member?
Alota: Digitization has been huge, and it's been exciting because it's gone from the old letter in the letter box to now, where everything has changed. We've had a movement towards digitization and film, which has made those pathways more accessible and understandable to people across the state.
We also have national professional standards for teachers now. Those standards describe career stages from Graduate to Proficient, to Highly Accomplished to Lead, and all those things mean something now. That’s all been fleshed out: the processes and the pathways.
We still lead Australia with regard to our regulation and administration of registration in the state. We still feedback into the federal processes about what that could look like, or what that can look like in other States and other countries. That leadership role in the regulatory environment across the country and internationally has grown significantly in that time.
QCT: On a personal note, what has your time on the Board meant to you?
Alota: Professionally, working on the Board has been very good, in that it's helped me to see alternative perspectives. One of the wonderful things about the QCT Board is that it is a stakeholder board, so we have a lot of input from a lot of different people into the process of teaching and developing our children for the future. I found it a wonderful experience and I really do encourage people to apply to be Board members because it does give you that 'outside-in' look. You've got that huge perspective of the whole education process and education in Australia, not just in Queensland and not just within a particular system.
QCT: Has there been a professional highlight or a proudest achievement during your time as a Board member?
Alota: There are probably two things that I'm proudest about with regard to my time as a board member.
One is that I have been a consistent and loud voice about all things to do with regional and remote teaching … about not forgetting the people in the regions and the remote areas and what we can do to support them and build their practice.
Another of my proudest achievements as Board member is the building of the beautiful relationships that we have with the universities in Queensland [regarding accredation of their programs] ... we get alongside, we support, and we help them to cross every line. But the support we bring to the process as well has resulted in some absolutely brilliant work for Queensland, and I think we still set the standard there too.
QCT: On that note, looking to the future, what are your hopes for the next 50 years of the QCT?
Alota: I suspect that at some point there will come another push for the federal government to take over and set up a nationwide registration process and while I see the purposes of that, I also don't want to see our standards drop.
I think our stakeholders have invested so much into perfecting the system and ensuring that we provide the very best for our students to develop. I would hate to see that watered down in any way. I would like to see us remain at the forefront of registration practice and teachers support as their registering body. I'd like to see that continue to grow.
I'd like to see the processors continue to be refined for assessing people coming into the profession, developing them through Proficient standards and descriptors through to the Highly Accomplished and Lead Certification. I look forward to the future and I'm excited by all the new technology. I'm excited by the new possibilities for our students. The entrepreneurship, the journey into wellbeing and finding that new work-life balance — bringing themselves into the picture rather than everybody 'working for the man' — building their own future and their own creativity and I'd like to see the Board help teachers to help students to find their path in this brave new world.
QCT: Was there anything else that you'd like to add about your time on the QCT Board?
Alota: I think that there are some very difficult decisions that are going to have to be made fairly soon and I wish everybody luck and wisdom about making those pathways real, and making those future pathways meaningful for teachers, so that the profession will continue to grow and can continue to develop in a very positive and strong way.