Federation's new Teachers Make a Difference ads, to be shown in cinemas and on high-rating television shows this month, go "up a notch" from last year's productions, says lecturer and social commentator Jane Caro, who wrote the ads.
"We're taking it up a notch. To some extent, it's where school leads you," says Caro.
The Graduate and The Apprentice focus on the teacher that makes the difference in a child's life - one student beats huge odds to go on to university and the other is given the guidance he needs at TAFE to not only build his skills but his self-confidence.
When Federation planned the ads "we want to take an emotional look at teachers because so much of teaching involves connections with kids, with your students", Assistant General Secretary (Communications and Administration) John Dixon says in a video on the making of the films.
"I can remember back to the teachers I had. They all made a difference to my education. It was that personal thing they did, the step further that they went," he said.
Celebrated director Ray Lawrence (Lantana, Bliss, Jindabyne) who worked on the first ads, First Day and Last Day, and the latest productions, knew exactly what Federation wanted. He thought back to the art and English teachers whose ideas and encouragement guided him into film-making.
"I kind of always remember those two people at different times in my life. I think most people have a special teacher," he says.
The "inherent goodness" of the work of teachers in the public school system and TAFE needs to be defined and highlighted, Lawrence said when he took up the project in 2012-13. "It was a joy to do it again this year," he says.
The new ads will gain maximum exposure on the big screen in city and regional centres and a TV version of The Graduate will be placed in top-rating shows such as Downton Abbey, My Kitchen Rules and news programs from April 13-16 on Channel 7 and 7Two.
A strong online campaign has begun, with news and videos about the making of the ads via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TeachersMakeDifference, Youtube and emails to members. The Appentice ads online will be linked to the Stop TAFE Cuts campaign website.
Lawrence will appear on the ABC's The Drum on April 11 to speak about his work with teachers.
Caro said: "I had great teachers. My daughter is a teacher, my sister is a teacher, I want to do what I can to get in there and help."
In a message to be posted online, Lawrence speaks of a similar motivation in wanting to help the teaching profession.
"My son in-law is a teacher in a Sydney public school. I know how hard he works and how much he loves his job and how unsupported he sometimes feels," he said.
He honours the teachers who "encouraged me, guided me, harnessing my enthusiasm, pushing me towards skills that I use to this day".
The director says he will be forever grateful to the public school system that gave him his education.
"You would think that it would be obvious to everyone that this system is one of the most important cornerstones we have in our democracy, vital to our future as a nation. You would think that we would be celebrating such a system, supporting it as much as we possibly can.
"Yet of late we seem to be taking it for granted, pulling it apart," says Lawrence.
"How can we do this to the dedicated teachers who work so hard, supporting and guiding the most important people in our lives?
"So being asked to make these commercials has given me the opportunity, in some small way, to be part of reminding all the teachers that they are deeply appreciated and are making a great and important difference to the lives of our children and our society."
Members are invited to visit the Facebook page, join in the conversations and "Like" what they see.
The Teachers Make a Difference website, http://teachersmakeadifference.org.au/ will be revamped later this year.