World Teacher’s Day gives us an opportunity to recognise the hard work and commitment of our educators. This year’s theme is ‘the transformation of education begins with teachers’.

Finsch Lamu graduated from a Post Graduate Diploma in Education through Australia Awards PNG earlier this year and is now teaching at Sacred Heart Tapini Secondary School in Goilala District. While he says that his heart lies in rural areas, he didn’t expect the remoteness of Tapini which is only accessible by small airplane.

“The view from above was fantastic, all you can see is mountainous terrain, meandering rivers and green vegetation. When we landed at Tapini Airstrip, I walked out of the plane and was blown away by how cold the place was. It felt like I was somewhere up in the highland regions of PNG.”

Creating lesson plans for five different classes proved to be Finsch’s greatest challenge as a new teacher. There is no internet connection at the school and he had to turn to his colleagues for support. “Your relationships with senior teachers are very important. In a new school far from home these are the only people you can rely on.”

Finsch believes that “teaching is more than standing in front of a classroom and talking to students. It’s about imparting knowledge, skills and values that students remember for a long time.”

He takes his lesson planning very seriously and in the short time as a teacher, has discovered some innovative ways to help his students remember their content.

“I found out that in order to achieve, a teacher must target all the senses. When I teach about reptiles, I bring an actual snake into class so students can see, feel, smell and hear the animal and that’s how students remember for a long time. That is also the reason you remember a movie compared to a math formula.”

Finsch believes that education is about shaping the future. If all stakeholders in PNG work together including government, teachers and parents, the standard of living can be improved for all. He plans to develop his secondary school teaching skills and one day teach in tertiary institutions.

“If you can write or even if you are reading this, someone in the past has sacrificed his/her time and life to help you become who you are now.

“Teachers are like a scope, magnifying dreams of students and pointing them in the right direction. That’s why I chose the noble profession of teaching. As a guide to students in the right path towards successful career and also in life. This contributes to our human resource which is the heart of our economy. In general, when I teach students, I am building human capital which in turn develops the economy and improves our nation.”