This week on SBS, Insight takes a look inside the classroom at how some of our most inspirational teachers engage with their students.
While the declining academic performance of Australian school students in international rankings may have captured the headlines, for some students the influence of their teachers goes far beyond test results – teachers have changed their lives.
Denzyl Moncrieff grew up in a tough environment. By the end of year 9 he wasn’t interested in going to school or making friends. The moment when Suzy Urbaniak singled out his performance in a year 10 science test changed everything.
Donna Loughran was an absent high school student. She was bored and didn’t see the relevance of what she was learning at school. By Year 11, Donna had a decision to make about the kind of future she wanted. Luckily, she had Steve Duclos for legal studies and he showed her the possibilities.
Omar Sawan was an angry student. He says he lost count of the number of times he was suspended from school. At one point he challenged the principal to expel him. That principal, Jihad Dib, refused and managed to see potential in an angry school kid.
What happened when these students met the teacher that changed their life? This week, Insight hears their remarkable stories.
“I had teachers say that I’d grow up to become nothing, you know, things of that nature, [that I] wasn’t going to go anywhere. I’d just end up in jail.”
“I think that’s the biggest buzz, when you see your students actually attain their goals and realise their dreams and realise their talents and how they apply to the pathways that they’ve chosen.”
“First time I got suspended I was in Year 5, I told a teacher to go something herself and from that point, you know, I became aware that I could do whatever I want.”
“I think the really important thing that I saw in that rage and in that anger was a person who I thought had just never been listened to.”
“I had a lot of cash in my pocket from my part-time job. However, I had failed my School Certificate.”
“When you consider the number of classes you’re teaching, you’re probably dealing with 120 or 180 different personalities every day and Donna was frustrating.”
8:30pm Tuesday on SBS.