Valuing the profession

Photo L to R: Emily Hough, David Chessell, Debra Lewandowski and Andrew Stein.

Teachers of 2023: Valuing the profession at every career stage

The start of the new school year brings many new beginnings – from newly registered teachers eager to enter their first classrooms, to highly experienced teachers continuing to share their knowledge and wisdom with colleagues.

As Term 1 progresses rapidly, the QCT paused to speak with four teachers – Emily Hough, David Chessell, Debra Lewandowski and Andrew Stein – who despite being at various stages in their career, share the same innate passion for their profession.

Emily Hough began her career at Kingaroy State High School as a Health and Physical Education and Humanities teacher just 18 months ago with great success which she says is a testament to the support of her colleagues.

“As a mid-year graduate, the saying ‘hit the ground running’ really took on a new meaning. I am a part of an amazing teaching team that has supported me, given advice, and welcomed me,” she says.

“I’m looking forward to learning more about inclusive education and teaching new year levels,” said Emily.

Preservice teacher David Chessell was inspired to make the career change from tradesman to teacher after helping his own children with their schoolwork throughout the COVID lockdowns.

“I found myself at home attempting to create some familiarity for my children. When my daughter returned to school, she came home with an ‘Honorary Teacher’ certificate. That was a turning point for my career… I enrolled in an ITE program that same day.”

Approaching his final professional experience, after working in numerous support roles in primary settings, David has plenty to look forward to, but he is most excited to put into practise what he learnt at university and all the things he’s discovered from observing colleagues in action.

“I’m looking forward to creating a safe space and building every student’s trust, confidence, and resilience,” said David.

Debra Lewandowski from Crestmead State School has seen the profession undertake a lot of changes during her 41-year teaching career.

“It’s a very interesting profession. Not many people truly understand what it is, that it’s not just about standing and delivering content,” said Debra.

“I’ve had to learn to use the technology and teach myself alongside my students, whereas it’s second nature to today’s graduates.”

Debra’s dedication to the profession reflects its holistic nature and impact on future generations.

“You hold the future of so many little minds in your hands at any point in time over several years. It’s about the whole child. It's not just about the learning, it's about the social, emotional as well as the intellect side.”

Throughout her career, Debra has never had the desire to leave the classroom.

“I still have this love for teaching because I just love being in the classroom and helping children achieve and grow in all different ways. That's where I think I can best help, in that face to face.”

Andrew Stein, who has spent a decade of his 31-year teaching career in a variety of roles from Pastoral Leader to Head of Boarding and Year 12 Coordinator at The Cathedral College in Rockhampton, says he still finds himself undertaking new opportunities.

“The number one thing for me is the ability to evolve and develop, and not only develop a broad and in-depth skill set in contemporary spaces as a teacher,” said Andrew.

“In the scheme of things, regardless of when you place yourself in a school, whatever time in history, it’s still the same: kids are kids, schools are schools, people are people.”

The QCT looks forward to promoting the work of Queensland’s teachers throughout 2023.

Emily Hough and David Chessell are members of the QCT’s Queensland Beginning and Early Career Teacher Reference Group (QBECT).


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