Teachers Are Gold December mail out

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This is our final mail out for the year 2017. This year we have looked at themes that support us in our commitment as teachers: true collaboration, dedication, expression, communication, intelligence and wisdom. Underlying all of these themes is the understanding that appreciation and self-care are foundational in bringing a consistency to our everyday.
As we look back over the year, it’s clear that we offer inspiration to our students, colleagues and those in our community. Is it possible that we can also inspire ourselves?
Taking a stop moment at the end of the year allows us to reflect on and appreciate all that we have learned through our experiences of the last twelve months. It is through this process that we can appreciate how we’ve grown with the choices and changes that we have made that better support us to stay steady and take care of ourselves.
With warm regards and appreciation for the inspiration that teachers bring,

Teachers Are Gold 

Message From Our Team's Manager

Inspiration is something that we all look out for, as inspiration is the kindling that fuels the flame of purpose in our lives. Without inspiration, the flame of purpose dies and life becomes very cold indeed. So, the question arises, where or who do we draw inspiration from? The first thing that may come to mind are superheroes, because aren’t they the caricatures or epitome of what we as a society have defined as being inspiring? Take Superman, for example: He protects and serves humanity with immense strength, x-ray vision to see through anything, is pretty much indestructible, and he does this all whilst being humble and understated in his civilian life as Clark Kent. Pretty inspiring, but a little far-fetched and a bit beyond our reach, right? 
As teachers, do we realise that we are superheroes in our own right? On a day-to-day basis, we stand at the coalface of the many societal issues faced by our youth today. Teachers are expected to deliver an increasingly complex curriculum to increasingly disengaged students - whist facing verbal and physical abuse and other out-of-control behaviours on a daily basis. In fact, most of us have at least one student in our class that we would like to label as our arch-villain nemesis! Like Superman, teachers have the job of serving humanity in its time of need, facing some of the most enormous societal issues our world has ever faced. So, it is time to appreciate this.


We are all superheroes that serve as inspiration to so many.

Every teacher has a story of a student or another teacher that has felt inspired by them and in fact we should actually clock that it happens every single day. Even though it may not be a verbal or written expression of appreciation, when we register those little moments when another is inspired by us, we put another log on the flame of purpose. When we look for inspiration, all we really need to do is look within and be inspired by all we already are and those we have inspired along the way. Also, we need to express appreciation in those moments we are inspired by another, because expressing appreciation puts another log on the “purpose fire” for both yourself and the other. 


As we approach the holidays, it’s worth remembering that inspiration and appreciation are the foundations on which we build our following school year. To find inspiration we can look inwards, reflect, receive and appreciate all the moments that have been offered to us during the school year. The key to maintaining our inspiration and appreciation is in our level of self-care and self-recognition of what has occurred throughout the year. The greater moments and the lesser moments both need to be given the recognition of inspiration and appreciation, for both moments are an opportunity for growth and learning. Even if this last school year felt intense, which no doubt it has, we can marvel in how well we have handled it and all that we have learned and ways we have grown. During the holidays, we find ourselves surrounded by friends and family, so let’s express ourselves in each and every moment we feel inspired by someone else and we will find those superhero powers grow. 
The other day I saw a mug on a teacher’s desk that really could be every teacher’s slogan. It read, ‘I’m a teacher, what’s your superpower?’ 

Maybe Superman isn’t so far beyond our reach after all…

Marshall Chang

Team's Manager, Teachers Are Gold


My name is Marshall Chang and I serve as a NSW Secondary Science teacher who has been teaching for 4 years. I bring a wealth of personal connection and educational purpose to my classroom, which sometimes comes in the form of explosive experiments or colour changing concoctions. I offer students a simple and bridging way to understand science as a wonderment and curiosity of the world around us and the ethical purpose of why we study it. I have the best job in the world because the subject of Science is unlimited in its awesomeness and the profession of teaching makes such a difference to so many people’s lives! 
We invite you to enjoy this month's blogs...

What Makes an Inspirational Teacher?

Is it the teacher who will never be forgotten, who always believes in their students, who inspires their students to go on to get a good job, who always sees their students’ potential despite any so-called shortcomings?



Lived Experience - True Inspiration

I have recently been reflecting on my experience of teaching this year. At the start of the year the job was quite challenging, and some days I would go into work feeling quite anxious and not sure what to expect. Many of the students we were working with had experienced different traumas in their lives, and at times their behaviours could be quite volatile. Classroom situations were tense and these behaviours often dominated the rooms. All of the staff were stretched. and we were constantly trying to put out spot fires, but nothing was really changing.


Can Self-Care Be Part Of Our Everyday?

Expectations about holidays

There is a lot of anticipation about the school holidays, which can start in the last few weeks of term when we are still at school. Often the conversation is about the countdown, ‘Only 5 more weeks to go…’ 


Favourite Recipes

Spicy Roast Vegetables

A beautiful, warming super simple recipe that, when we make extra, can support meals for a few days ahead.

Click here for the recipe.

Debra's Diary

Debra shares her wisdom. . . 

As she reflects on the school year and also on a lot of the practices and traditions we accept as a normal part of the festive or 'silly season'. This includes end of year classroom activities that may not be what students expect from a fun lesson, but are much richer, valuable and demonstrate our true care for their wellbeing.

Debra’s Self-Care Diary for December


It’s nearly the end of term. I have exam papers to mark, but every time I get a free lesson I just want to sit still and not use my brain. I’m watching others beavering away and feeling I should be working, but I just can’t right now . . . feeling totally spent and tired, unable/unwilling to focus and distracting myself with other tasks (tidying etc). Maybe simply the fact that I know I need to stop and rest. Soon!

I noticed another teacher had lots of Christmas cards. I then looked at the three I had. There was a twinge of comparison. ‘He is obviously liked more than me’ is what I thought.  I am always questioning if I am a good teacher. This comparison thing happens a lot; a need for recognition for what I do, rather than an acceptance and appreciation of all that I do do. I put a quick stop to that line of thought because I know it puts me into an unkind, unproductive, negative spin.

I have been tidying up papers on my desk and also throwing out old stuff in my classroom. I want to come back in the new term to a clear space.  It’s amazing how much paper I hold onto with the thought that I will need it again. I probably will, but as there is so much of it, I forget what I have.

‘Miss, it’s Christmas. Can we do something fun today?’ My response is, ‘All my lessons are fun,’ with a cheeky smile, but why do I get that request? Why aren’t normal lessons fun? Is it my teaching? Is it school? Do kids just want to be entertained?

Last days of term and students want to relax and watch videos. I actually have kept teaching to the end. Previous experience has taught me that students ask for a relaxation of the routine, but when it happens, many can’t quite handle the self-management required. Maybe building flexibility into our planning would mean that we would be teaching our students some valuable life skills around self-direction and management along the way?

We have a no junk food rule in our school, so we confiscate things like biscuits, chocolate and fizzy drinks. I think it’s a great idea, but I hate enforcing it, because I know sometimes that’s all a child will eat in a day and taking it away makes me feel bad. The irony is now that it’s Christmas, many teachers start to give out chocolate. The Head has suggested we give out satsumas (mandarins) instead. I like that idea.

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