World Teachers' Day

Ms SANDERSON (Adelaide) (12:19): It is a great pleasure to speak in favour of this motion to celebrate and recognise World Teachers' Day on 5 October. I think everybody has wonderful stories that they can tell about teachers and the effect they have had on their lives. For many young children, particularly in primary school, who have the same teacher day in day out, they would spend more time with that teacher than with their own parents, so teachers are quite pivotal in the formative years of your life when you are growing.

They make a huge difference. If you have just one teacher or one adult who inspires you, believes in you or pushes you to work harder or to achieve more, it can make a big difference in your life. As the member for Mitchell said, it is those seeds that are planted that, unfortunately, many teachers do not get the see the results of, but they are there. The importance of how much an impact teachers have in our lives can never be overestimated. Several years ago, I remember talking to an anaesthetist around the time that they were looking at strike actions. I could not understand why they would be striking for more money.

The person I was speaking to said, 'We have people's lives in our hands.' I said, 'Teachers have our children's minds in their hands.' If you are looking at equating money, to me, the value of a teacher is huge to our community and to our society because they are really shaping our future. Teachers are very, very important, and it is a great motion to bring to parliament for us to all recognise. Thank you to the member for Fisher, although the electorate may be called a different name now; I am not up with all the changes.

When I first embarked on becoming a member of parliament, I started doorknocking and one of the first issues that was raised, particularly in Prospect, was the need to access a city high school, in particular Adelaide High School. Many of the local primary schools for several years had been campaigning for access to Adelaide High School. They had engaged a lot of research and put in a lot of effort and time getting all of the different primary schools together to lobby the government in order to have access to Adelaide High School or an equivalent city high school that they could get easy access to.

So I was absolutely thrilled that, even as a candidate, the Liberal Party supported a brand-new high school to be built for the people of Prospect and having access to other areas as well. Unfortunately, we did not win in 2010. However, a week before the election Labor announced an expansion of Adelaide High of 250, which did allow Prospect residents access, which I welcomed. That was a fantastic bandaid approach that helped temporarily.

At the 2014 election, the Liberal Party again recommitted to a second high school in the city. Ours was to be a second campus of Adelaide High School, because many of the residents, in Prospect particularly, liked the heritage and the ethos of Adelaide High and the history that went along with it. Alas, we did not win in 2014, again. However, it was strongly enough put that the Labor government is building a second high school in the city, Botanic High School, which I welcome. That is certainly very welcomed by the residents in Prospect, Walkerville, North Adelaide and the city, because it will be, I believe, a shared zone—thank goodness. It took a while, but we got there and there will be a second high school.

The importance of education can never be underestimated. An example of that is the desire for parents to have their children at what they deem to be 'a good school', which seem to be mostly inner suburban schools because they are on the way to work. It is very convenient for many people to access schools like Walkerville Primary School, North Adelaide Primary School and Prospect Primary School because they are on the way into the city. If you are a working parent, it is far more convenient to have them on the way to where you are going and on the way home.

We have a situation where all the schools in my electorate are at capacity—bar one, which is almost at capacity. At many of the schools, people's postcodes indicate that only 50 per cent are still in the zone. Many people do move into zones specifically to educate their children in what they believe to be a superior school, and I certainly would not blame anyone for doing that. I know that my own mother would have done the same thing, because to her education was the most important thing that she could ever give me, and she went out of her way and went without a lot of things in order to make sure that I was always at what in her mind was the best school, whether that be a state primary school or a private school later on in life.

I have heard stories of families even having fake separations so that the wife will have a home in North Adelaide, just to get access to Adelaide High—it is that important. The reason it is so important is that it is the teachers who make the school, as well as the principal, who directs the whole school. It really is important to recognise our teachers, and we can see that through the achievements of schools and the fact that people will relocate just to access different schools.

I ran a training school and employed many teachers (or lecturers or trainers or whatever you refer to them as). You can see a big difference between someone with a lot of knowledge who is not necessarily good at imparting it and someone who is a good teacher—someone who can share their information well and relate to a five year old, a 10 year old, a 15 year old or whatever age group it is. It is a real skill. It is not just about being super smart; it is about being able to speak to the audience you are dealing with.

I taught briefly at the WEA. They had some training that was for teachers or lecturers (whatever the term is, people use different names), and they said something that resonated very well with me: rather than thinking of yourself as a teacher or a trainer, think of yourself as someone merely on the same path of life, of whom someone else has asked the way. So you are really just imparting your knowledge on the same journey of life as the people you come across. It is about having that ability to share your knowledge. Teachers have the ability to share their knowledge every day with children on that path of life where they need the teacher's guidance and wisdom.

I have spent a lot of time in schools. I have visited lots of country schools, and you really can pick up the vibe of a school just from being there. It is the teachers that make a difference: teachers who are engaged, who are part of the children's lives and who really see the future and push the children to be their best are really very important.

Being a member of parliament, it has also been a highlight that there are a lot of schools in my electorate. I really enjoy taking tours through Parliament House. I have had five year olds from the North Adelaide reception class, and this week I had the year 12 legal studies class from Pulteney. You have a range of ages. I had international students from Adelaide University in last week as well. I have a lot of migrant groups from my electorate come through for whom English is a second language.

I absolutely love bringing people through Parliament House and teaching them about the history of Parliament House and our democracy. I thank all their teachers for having the idea and bringing the children in. I know it is hard: they have to get volunteer parents to come with them, and there is a lot of coordination to have a school excursion. I thank all of the teachers who go out of their way to make that happen so that the children of our state can come in and see what we do here and hopefully be inspired to be all that they can be. I believe that in South Australia and in Australia, in particular, you really can be anything you want to be: you just have to put your mind to it and put the effort in. I believe that there is every opportunity for all to achieve. I commend the motion to the house.