THE TEACHERS’ GUILD OF NEW SOUTH WALES 125 YEARS – WHERE ARE WE NOW?
The Teachers’ Guild of NSW this year celebrates a long, impressive and honourable history of service, support and training for the vocation of teaching; always maintaining its foundation aim “to promote in all possible ways, the care of education," strengthening collegiality and standing detached from industrial issues.
Founded in December, 1891 by a group of leading practitioners as a professional association for teachers from all levels and sectors of education, the Guild, over a period of decades, embarked on and maintained a substantial influence on NSW Secondary School Syllabus Committees, produced a prestigious journal The Australian Teacher, set up the Teachers’ Central Registry which was used by independent schools to find suitable staff, arranged professionally stimulating meetings at various Sydney schools, including an annual Dorothy Knox Lecture which attracted high calibre speakers, established The Gurney-Soubeiran Trust to support retired teachers who found themselves in financial difficulties and held an annual ecumenical church service.
Perhaps the Guild’s most influential endeavour was the setting up, in 1948, of a Teacher Training Committee to oversee the implementation of a diploma program that would train teachers for the non-government sector. Candidates were engaged as student teachers in schools, learned theory at evening lectures and obtained all their practical experience, five days a week, under the supervision of experienced practitioners. Regular school based assessments, essays and exams were conducted over what became a three years apprentice style scheme catering for pre-primary, primary, secondary and specialist teachers. During the 1970s the diploma became a full-time pre-service program within the Guild Teachers’ College, later to amalgamate with the Sydney College of Advanced Education and eventually the Guild Centre within the University of Sydney, all of which have since passed into history. Today, The Guild continues to promote a long established theme of deep interest in the professional development and encouragement of colleague educators, providing opportunities for members of the profession to network, refine skills, and receive recognition. In addition to post-nominal acknowledgment afforded to members (MTGN) the Guild has created a suite of prestigious awards to identify and honour educators over a range of experience through a World Teachers’ Day Dinner, Master of Teaching Scholarship, Early Career and Post Graduate Research Prizes, Honorary Fellowships (HFTGN) and Fellowships (FTGN). Several accredited professional learning events are offered throughout the year provided by highly qualified experts in their field, a mentoring program is being developed and members gather annually at a dinner at which awards are presented and an educator who has given significant service to the profession is honoured.
As the longest established professional organisation for teachers in Australia, the Guild has for 125 years been an undeniably important influence in the history of education in NSW and continues its commitment to the care of teaching, to stand on the shoulders of past and current members who have helped to shape education in this State and positively enriched countless number of school students’ lives.
The Guild remains an important influence, embracing the new while retaining the core values on which it was founded, and emboldens members to always uphold and advocate the motto Doceo Ut Discam – I Teach That I May Learn.