The Anglican Bishop of Armidale, the Rt Rev. Dr Peter Brain, spoke to newly-qualified teachers during a University of New England graduation ceremony today, telling them that they were “embarking on a great and difficult task”.
Bishop Brain (pictured here) spoke of teaching as a “calling” – “a wonderful means of serving others and making a difference” – and of learning as “a God-given privilege”. “Good teachers are life-long learners,” he added.
He pointed out, however, that the teacher’s role was becoming an increasingly difficult one. Teachers were increasingly burdened by having to deal with family and community problems, he said. They faced “a systematic devaluation of the teacher’s role” in society, and they were under increasing pressure to motivate students whose sense of enjoyment in the simple things of life had been blunted by overexposure to stimulation such as that available through new communication media.
Another problem for teachers, he said, was the “deification” of children by “parents who can never let their children learn through failure”. “We’re becoming ‘childolaters’,” he said.
Bishop Brain was the Occasional Address speaker at today’s ceremony – the third of UNE’s four Autumn Graduation ceremonies for 2010 – for people graduating from award programs within the University’s School of Education.
He reminded the 267 graduands able to attend the ceremony that they would be role models for their students, and concluded: “I wish you well as you seek to serve the young people who will be entrusted to your care.” In all, more than 600 people are graduating from UNE’s School of Education this Autumn.
At tomorrow’s ceremony, for the School of Environmental and Rural Science, the School of Science and Technology, and the School of Health, the guest speaker will be Professor Wayne Hindmarsh, Dean Emeritus of the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto in Canada.
By the end of tomorrow’s ceremony, more than 2,200 people will have graduated from UNE over the four days of Autumn Graduation, with almost 1,000 of those having been able to attend the ceremonies and receive their awards in person from the Chancellor, Dr Richard Torbay.
THE PHOTOGRAPH of Bishop Peter Brain displayed here expands to include Professor Victor Minichiello, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of UNE’s Faculty of The Professions (left), and the Chancellor of UNE, Dr Richard Torbay.