From Surviving to Thriving, new educators today are adopting this strategy to shape a better future for our children's education and to make the most of the time they spend in the classroom.
Teachers from all over WA gathered together on Friday August 13, for SSTUWA's inaugural New Educators' State conference, themed 'From Surviving to Thriving'.
Conference organisers, ETC Coordinator, Mary Franklyn and SSTUWA Educator, Cherry Bogunovich, arranged the attendance of approximately 55 participants, a mix of primary and high school educators who are in their first five years of teaching.
They are fresh on the block and are looking for new and innovative ways to teach, cope with common issues and learn more about how the union can support them.
The day began with Lynette Virgona, Principal Consultant in 'Classroom Management Strategy', highlighting the many issues that new educators are faced with today.
Virgona said, “Teaching is one of the most complex professions... you haven't got just one cricket ball coming at you there are thirty balls coming at you.”
She said there are a variety of factors that influence managing classrooms including: “...learning styles, ethnicity, mental health, socio-economic background, family circumstance ... teaching is both an art and a science.”
Teachers were given the opportunity to develop skills, knowledge and improve their classroom confidence. Important political, professional and industrial issues were highlighted and an understanding of their membership rights and responsibilities were some of the topics covered in the seminar.
Health and Physical Education Teacher, Kathryn Dunlop and Year 3 Teacher and Brooke Hull, from Leinster Primary School, are teaching at a multicultural school that presents many challenges, one being its isolation.
Leinster Primary, located in the North of the Goldfields Education District, is approximately 370 kilometres from Kalgoorlie.
When asked about some of the issues they are faced with, Kathryn mentioned that, “Going to a school where we are isolated, didn't know anyone, and had few resources”, presented many challenges.
The teachers said that attending the conference provided them with useful tools and knowledge, it was, “motivating and entertaining”.
Workshops such as, 'TOPS' Teachers Online Planning System, provided teachers with insight into planning and programming, without the normal frustration of preparing such tasks.
Benjamin Allan from Merriwa Primary School has been teaching four years and says that, “TOPS helps us plan our lessons and integrate between subjects.”
He went on to say that the workload of teachers today is very demanding, “...there is just so many things you have to do as a teacher and organising your time and keeping on top of everything I think is the biggest challenge.
Personally just being organised with paperwork and the administrative side of things is the hardest thing to keep on top of, because there are just so many aspects of teaching and keeping track of all the policies.”
Sixty two year old, Sheila McGeown from Clarkson Community High school has been teaching for five years.
Sheila had expressed some important issues that she is faced with being a new educator today.
“I guess my age, but I overcome that one and getting used to the fact that the kids today are a lot different to what they were 10 years ago when my boys were teenagers,” she said.
Innovative workshops such as TRIBES, provides teachers with tools and knowledge they need to overcome these hurdles.
The workshop focuses on learning based objectives that involve; trust, inclusivity, community and respect.
Legal workshops taught the importance of protecting yourself, the common legal issues that teachers face today - and dealing with classroom violence, facebook and cyber-bullying issues.
Teacher of three years, Erin Brawley from Wilson Primary School said, “I have had kids from school try and add me as friends on facebook and I haven't added them... but I would like to know what's happening with these sorts of issues.”
Most importantly, 'The Little Red Book' workshop explained teaching entitlements and allowances. Brooke from Leinster Primary commented, “We are interested in knowing more about are rights, as we can miss out on a lot where we are.”
Drawing an end to the day brought with it lots of chatting and 'Black Friday' drinks for everyone.
Benjamin mentioned that the day had helped him “...see how teachers are valued - and reflect on my own teaching practices and just access things that make it easier for us as teachers, with planning and behaviour management, and share our success with other teachers.”
Whilst Sheila said she now has the “Confidence to try new strategies, confidence to know that I can ring up the union if I have problems and get legal advice...”
It will be on again next year ... and it's an event not to be missed!