Innovative public high school teacher, Mr Eddie Woo, who teaches mathematics at Cherrybrook Technology High School, has been named as Australia’s Local Hero in the 2018 Australia Day Awards.
In 2012, Mr Woo started posting videos online for a student who was sick with cancer and missing a lot of school. Before long, his videos found an audience across the country and beyond. Wootube now boasts more than 100,000 subscribers and has attracted more than nine million views worldwide – and counting. Mr Woo’s unique and caring approach to teaching is breaking the misconception that mathematics is an inaccessible and difficult subject.
Outside his high school classroom, Mr Woo is a proud father of three and a volunteer facilitator with the University of Sydney’s Widening Participation and Outreach program, where he has personally guided and motivated more than 1,400 students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Mr Woo gave a passionate thank you speech at the Awards. This can be read in full online, but below is his reference to education:
“Let’s learn to truly value our schools and our teachers. Education has been one of Australia’s greatest assets, but things won’t stay that way unless we give educators the cultural and capital support that they need to do their jobs. For instance, that shortage of mathematics teachers I was telling you about has only become more severe since my university days. As a field, education struggles to attract the students with a lifelong passion to change the world for good – and it’s even more of a challenge to keep them there, with almost half of our early career teachers leaving the profession in their first five years. They want a job with better work-life balance and much more respect from society, and who can blame them? Australian teachers are undervalued and overworked, so only those who are willing to make the sacrifices stay. That needs to change. Valuing education isn’t about awards and accolades. It’s much more about trust and respect. Parents, politicians, managers and the media – we all must do our part in honouring our schools and those who work in them. Our children are depending on it.