THIS year has been like no other and there are so many people to thank for getting us through 2020, but none more so than our teachers.
When classes began in February, no-one could have foreseen the challenges that were to come, particularly for teachers who have had to adapt on the run as students were forced into their homes.
Ballarat and regional schools were no different, which was why Friday's World Teachers' Day was so important to stop, pause and throw an arm around the people who have made education possible this year.
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Like many schools throughout Victoria, Woady Yaloak Primary School teachers had to adapt on the run.
Grade 3/4 teacher Emily Wood said the support of parents had made the new way of education possible.
"It's been different, but been really good, we've had really supportive parents here and we couldn't say a bad word about them," Ms Wood said.
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"We have sort of adapted the communications at home, we did have an application where children put up the work and parents to see, we've built a closer relationship now with parents then we've ever had."
For many teachers, giving youngsters the education came at a detriment to their own family
Grade 5/6 teacher Megan Webb said having two children, one in year eight and the other in grade four, at home, had presented her with a different challenge.
"I've had to put a lot of trust onto my own kids that they were doing what they needed to do," Ms Webb said. "Some have thrived in the environment, for others it has been a struggle."
Woady Yaloak Ross Creek campus principal Nathan Harris said he couldn't be more proud of the way staff had jumped in the deep end this year.
"Our staff have to be really congratulated, they took it up with both hands," he said.
"There were huge changes with technology, the way we meet and the way we connected with our families. You can't understate the upheaval in the teachers' world."
Ballarat Clarendon College's Adrian Bunting said the year had had many challenges.
"But seeing other professions and seeing what they have had to face, we've been lucky, we've been able to hold onto our jobs, keep busy throughout," he said.
"At the junior school, we have a high number of students whose parents are essential workers, but we've been able to record lessons every day. I teach literacy in Grade 4 and we studied Treasure Island, we were fortunate to have a good curriculum in place."
Stephanie Sanders, also from Clarendon, said the school was fortunate to be able to transition to remote and flexible learning.
"We had such a great support from IT and supporting members and most importantly, our parents," she said.
Seeing other professions and seeing what they have had to face, we've been lucky, we've been able to hold onto our jobs, keep busy throughoutBallarat Clarendon College's Adrian Bunting
"So many of our parents have been juggling work and having children at home learning, they were able to access all our well-being programs
"I just think how resilient our communities are, our school, but community more broadly. It's lovely to have them all back in the classroom. Fingers crossed it stays, but at least now we know we have programs in place that work."
College principal David Shepherd said it was the perfect time to celebrate the efforts of all teachers this year.
"Our teachers have been remarkable in responding to the challenges of 2020 in order to ensure that our students remain the focus of their attention and care," Mr Shepherd said. "They have adapted to new ways of working with students and with each other and the determination and energy with which they moved to remote, flexible learning - on both occasions - was phenomenal.
"Their commitment to their students and their colleagues, their capacity to innovate, collaborate and problem-solve has ensured that, for the vast majority of our students and their parents, school life remained stable in what were otherwise unstable times."
Mr Shepherd paid special tribute to teachers who were working with the youngest students.
"As a school, we're proud of what we've accomplished in 2020 and teachers everywhere - across Ballarat, the state and the nation - deserve congratulations," he said.
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