Educating Girls

17 October 2019

Great Teachers Making an Impact

Great Teachers Making an Impact


The quality of a child’s education is dependent on a number of factors with the most significant being the quality of teaching. What makes a great teacher? Obviously teaching requires specific knowledge of subject matter, curriculum, and standards along with a love of learning. Great teachers are masters of their subject matter and spend time continuing to gain new knowledge in their field; they instil in their students a hunger to learn more on their own. Great teachers are great communicators, not only with their students, but also with parents, colleagues and broader networks.

When we think about our own teachers, the ones that made the greatest impact on our lives and our learning, there is generally a constant factor; relationships. These people formed great relationships with us and showed us they cared about us as individuals. They believed in us when perhaps we didn’t, provided us with personal challenge and enabled us to grow. We don’t always realise the impact of a particular teacher at the time. It is on reflection, as we gain greater life experience, that we can see they challenged us to go beyond, asked us to have a go rather than giving the answer, and steered us to take risks in our learning.

Brené Brown believes that teachers are some of our most important leaders. She reminds us that 'we can’t always ask our students to take off the armour at home, or even on their way to school, because their emotional and physical safety may require self-protection. But what teachers can do, and what we are ethically called to do, is create a space in our schools and classrooms where all students can walk in and, for that day or hour, take off the crushing weight of their armour, hang it on a rack, and open their heart to truly being seen.' We might identify as Early Learning Educators, Junior School Teachers, Science Teachers, Drama Teachers and so many other labels; but at the end of the day the truth is we are teachers of young people and we impact lives. Teaching is one of the most complicated jobs but it is also one of the most rewarding.

Brown recognises that our teachers can 'be the guardians of spaces that allow students to breathe, be curious and to explore the world and be who they are without suffocation.' She states that ‘students deserve one place where they can rumble with vulnerability and their hearts can exhale ... Having a place to belong ... where they can take off their armour, can and often does change the trajectory of their life.' This is what inspires us each and every day; that we can help to make a difference in the lives of these young women.

Last Thursday, on World Teachers Day, the Parents of Ruyton group showed their appreciation of our Teachers by providing morning tea for the staff.  We have a warm and connected School community who we sincerely thank for their kindness and for the opportunity to teach their daughters. We truly love our work.

‘Our teachers really care and you can see it in their lessons and in their interactions.’
‘The best thing about the teachers at Ruyton is the way they care for you and challenge you in the right ways.’
‘The best thing about the teachers at Ruyton is they are happy. They tell us that they love what they do.’

Ruyton students 2019

Linda Douglas

Ruyton Girls' School
October 2019