Who values the faith of our teachers? Senator Deborah O’Neill.

Senator O’Neill drew on her own faith to teach high school English. And she has nothing but praise for those who live out their faith as teachers in our schools today.

Having taught English at secondary schools for nearly two decades, Senator Deborah O’Neill knows what it takes to love, teach and occasionally discipline a student.

For her, that meant having to draw deeply on her faith as a Catholic Christian. And she has nothing but respect for teachers with a living faith — across all of Australia’s religious traditions — as they bring everything they have to teach our young. But her message is particularly for Christian teachers, who she recognises as being the face of Christ to students in our schools.

“You are the face of Christ in your schools… the bringers of care and compassion, and forgiveness, and hope, and love.”

— Senator O’Neill

That’s not to say the Senator can’t snap back into disciplinarian mode, when it comes to the question of faith in schools.

When she hears that there are some policy experts suggesting that Australia’s Christian schools shouldn’t be able to hire teachers for the value of their faith, the longtime English teacher shuts down the scuttlebut. And smartly too.

The faith of Christian teachers in Christian schools is valuable, and will continue to be recognised as such in our Parliament. At least as long as this Senator is holding class.