Peter Botsman Award 1998
'When Ray McGuire’s name was mentioned as a recipient of this award, the number of people who were not only able, but indeed, delighted to provide information about Ray is testament to the respect in which he is held and his ongoing influence as a practitioner. Those of you here today who have not met Ray have, nevertheless, through your membership of ETAQ, over the years benefitted from his generosity of spirit towards our profession. Only last year, Ray presented a keynote speech at our AGM and subsequently contributed a paper to Words’Worth for those unable to attend the seminar, to enjoy.
Ray’s teaching career began at Blair State School and was continued at a number of country high schools including Kepnock, Biggenden Secondary Department, and Oakey, before he moved into the far western suburbs, that is, to Ipswich State High School and then to his present school of Bremer State High School, where he continues to serve as head of department.
This finite listing of schools does not begin to scratch the surface of his influence on the teaching and learning of English in Queensland. Through positions he has held such as District Panel Chair from 1987 and long-serving member of the English Subject Advisory Committee, he has both developed curriculum material and been involved in ensuring its effective and equitable implementation. Schools have always been assured that any feedback given by Ray is proferred only after very careful consideration.
Other significant contributions made by Ray include his work on the FLIP program, inservice materials for the English in Years 1 to 10 syllabus and his painstaking work on the Student Performance Standards. No matter how challenging the material, if Ray can see a benefit in it for students and teachers, he tackles the task head on, repeatedly reviewing and refining his thoughts.
Now in its second year, it has gone cross-curricular and multi-year level, following a series of genre work-shops, and with the use of a genre booklet to assist teachers. To date approximately 40% of Bremer teachers have participated in thee workshops.
Such dedication to the quality of English teaching and learning is to be admired by all, but for those with whom he has worked, this is only part of the story. Not surprisingly, teachers feel very confident in his leadership in curriculum areas but this is not always the first thing they are likely to mention about Ray McGuire. He has been described as the quiet ‘Aussie” achiever who enjoys football, the occasional XXXX and just loves English, language and teaching.
His first concern is for his students and he is remembered by many for his prodigious memory of their names, their work and even their results. Just as he is able to inspire his colleagues into achieving their best, so he is able to draw the best from his students. Whilst his leadership motivates others, his personal commitment is to the ‘team’ and valuing all contributions.
Ray is a rigorous and independent thinker, a quality which he brings to bear on the development of professional programs. It is also this quality which leads people to describe him as a philosopher and to gather around when he shares his thoughts. Although Ray has a steady, calm and thoughtful approach, he has been known to rail against ‘the system’ and fights for what he believes in.
Because we need such ‘word warriors’, and for so many more than the reasons I have detailed here today, we congratulate Ray McGuire on receiving the Peter Botsman Award for outstanding contribution to the teaching and learning of English in Queensland in a classroom based position.’