DEMOCRACY dictates that citizens live in a world characterised by social justice and equity, one where their range of choices are broadened and they are empowered to make full use of opportunities for their intellectual, social and economic advancement.
Ours is a desire to ensure that the citizens of the future possess the capabilities to reverse the negative effects of climate change and environmental degradation so that we can live in a world that does not threaten our very existence, one that is characterised by true sustainable development and where wealth is equitably distributed.
Creating a more just world is the question before us. As teachers, are we up to the task? Can we confront this challenge with courage, determination, and passion, fearless in our conviction that we have the power to make a positive difference both on an individual and collective capacity?
Fortunately, we know that some qualities of good teachers will never change regardless of era or technological developments. Teaching has and will always be a human job. Good teachers will always be defined by qualities of love, compassion, empathy, caring, selflessness and an overall desire to create a better future.
Good teachers will always be defined by a moral compass that guides them to go above and beyond the call of duty, give of their very best, recognise the divine spark and potential in every child and be prepared to inspire that sense of hope in every child that enters their sphere of influence.
Good teachers will always remember that they have entered into a social contract with high expectations with the society and as such are prepared to be held accountable for their actions. They will always remember that they are not defined by their qualifications, but rather their love of children and the passion, commitment and dedication they display in and out of the classroom.
Good teachers embrace every opportunity to teach in and out of the classroom for they represent hope for a better future. They instill self-esteem and confidence in their charges, rather than find excuses to abdicate their responsibilities.
Their recognition and understanding that they are first and foremost self-directed, life-long learners will ensure that their efficacy and effectiveness are always commensurate with the learning needs of the child, for their practice is defined by the highest standards of ethics and professionalism.
Good teachers will always be surveying the changing dimensions of the education landscape, recognising the dynamic nature of education and refining their knowledge base and practice to keep abreast with the changing needs of the child.
They will ensure that everything they do redounds to the benefit of the child. They will never abuse the sacred privilege and noble status they enjoy in and out of the classroom, understanding that unethical and unprofessional conduct tarnishes the reputation of the entire profession.
Good teachers stand in solidarity with their peers and colleagues. They recognise the wisdom of collective approaches to advancing their status as well as the battle for increased funding for education. They understand that solidarity is not just about promoting their status, but given the global power balance it is a means of keeping forces of greed and control at bay.
Our commitment to promote and defend democracy has now become central to our practice. The rise of far-right extremism has prompted a new sense of relevance and importance of the union and good teachers will be unwise to not recognise the growing global threat that unchecked capitalism has begun to pose and spring into action, knowing what’s at stake.
The new global order is witnessing the rise of a new crop of maximum leaders who are cleverly using social media to capitalise on the uninformed and ignorant. Teachers must now convert such ignorance into enlightenment with a sense of conviction that is unprecedented.
The foregoing treatise will seem to indicate that a lot is riding on the shoulders of teachers as we head into the turbulent future. Our teachers of the future must learn from the present and past generations of teachers, tapping into their vast pool of experience as they position themselves to navigate that uncertain future.
However, despite the challenges, some of which may even appear ominous and frightening, we are confident that our young teachers are more than capable, united and resolute in a common commitment to exercise moral power to ensure that the future of humanity is not threatened further or compromised.