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Here for you, here for students

The AEU is here to support you and to fight for an education system that delivers for every child. We’re stronger together. Meredith Peace AEU branch president


OUR first years in teaching will be some of the most exciting and challenging of your new career. No matter how well prepared by your training, you’ll be on a steep learning curve and need a high level of professional and industrial support. That’s where the AEU comes in. The AEU prides itself on protecting and enhancing the wages and conditions of work in government schools, while advocating for a strong, high-quality public education system. Those wages and conditions are the result of a certified agreement between the State Government and the AEU. It covers salaries, career structure, employment arrangements (ongoing or contract), probation, class sizes, workload, consultation processes, leave arrangements and much more. It gives you certainty about your entitlements. Whenever you start work in a new school, you’ll find an AEU sub-branch of members in that school



TUDENT and beginning teachers have their own dedicated AEU organiser — Adam Surmacz. To find out more about what the AEU can offer or to join our New Educators ­Network, call Adam on (03) 9417 2822 or email Adam.Surmacz@

waiting. It plays a critical role in welcoming new teachers, and in ensuring our agreement is adhered to. It represents members on consultative committees, where key school issues are discussed. AEU members have fought hard over many years to secure the conditions we have today. We have done this by working collectively to ensure our public education system is as strong as it should be. Such commitment from AEU members has never been more important than now. Public education is being let down by our state and federal governments and the AEU is campaigning hard to hold them to account. This is about nothing less than ensuring every child gets a high-quality education. Governments are responsible for providing the resources to enable this. Ahead of the November state election we are campaigning with a five-point action plan: for smaller class sizes, a curriculum that meets the needs of every student, more individualised support for all students, up-to-date classrooms and facilities, and

support and development for school leaders and staff. The Napthine Government has cut more than $600 million from public schools since its election in 2010. It is letting our students down. Get involved and sign up to our Put Education 1st campaign ( Join your AEU colleagues in standing up for our schools and our kids. No doubt you’re aware too of the massive cuts to education in the recent federal budget — not only has Tony Abbott reneged on our Victorian Gonski deal, leaving a shortfall of $1.7 billion, but he has slashed overall funding to states after 2016. I urge you to support our I Give A Gonski campaign — As you start your new career the challenges you face, both individually and as part of our profession, will be immense. Be an active member of the AEU to receive the support you need, hold our governments to account and ensure every child gets every chance of a high quality education. �



HE AEU Victorian branch represents 50,000 teachers and education Members hip staff in schools, TAFE and preschools. is FREE fo It’s part of the federal A­ ustralian Education Union, with 190,000 r members nationwide. students! We provide advice and assistance to members on matters including: • Salaries • Work problems • Professional and curriculum matters • Conditions of work • Leave • WorkCover • Legal issues • Probation and registration. • Entitlements and rights We also provide access to cheap loans and health insurance and great computer deals.


A EU h e a d o f f ic e 1 1 2 T r enerry C rescent, Abbotsford 3067 Te l: 03 9417 2822 F ax: 1300 658 078 We b: w w w .ae u v i c. as n . au

The R E S E T button Sometimes classes get off on the wrong foot or groups lose their way. It may not be your fault but as a teacher it is your responsibility. Glen Pearsall offers tips to avoid it happening again.


Review your own role in the class dynamic: Have you put in place the rules and procedures that support students to be active and responsible class members?


Consider the transformative effect of quality activities: Have you reviewed what and how students are learning to ensure it is highly engaging?

Seek support

Ensure you take a collaborative approach to challenging classes: Have you asked for school-level support to back up the actions you take in the classroom?


Take a supportive approach to students whose behaviour is out of their control: Do you have strategies for supporting students who can’t behave?

Teach assertively

Have firm expectations about appropriate behaviour and insist that all class members maintain this standard: Do you have strategies for challenge students who won’t behave?


ECENTLY, I had the privilege of working with graduate and pre-service teachers at the AEU’s PD in the Pub program. It was incredible to see such large numbers taking time out from busy schedules to attend these workshops. The most common question asked at the end of those sessions was “How do I turn around a difficult class?” The teachers who asked me this question were at pains to point out that the students in these classes were well-meaning and engaging as individuals but sometimes just didn’t seem to work that well as a group. As one teacher put it: “They’re cooperative in the playground, great to talk to individually but some days they just forget all that in my room.” The needs and demands of a single learner are complex. Interactions between an entire group of learners as well as their teacher are highly complicated. No wonder then that class groups can sometimes be dysfunctional. So how do you change this? There are no easy solutions but you can review some aspects of your practice to try to turn around class dynamics. The “R.E.S.E.T” method groups the most effective of these strategies into five categories: Reflect, Engage, Seek support, Empathise and Teach assertively (see box). The R.E.S.E.T method encourages you to ask yourself questions under each of these headings. These questions are built on a simple premise: when something goes wrong in the everyday classroom, concentrate not on the students but on your own teaching. The one thing you can always control in a classroom is what you do.

The power of this approach becomes apparent when you have to deal with multiple examples of poor behaviour from a single class. Often when a class is not going well there are many such moments, and there is an understandable tendency for teachers to go back over these incidents in great detail: • What should I have done differently when they did that? • When they said that, I could have said this… • Would it have been better to just ignore that behaviour? However, sometimes it is more effective not to dwell on the incident but to review the systems you have in place to avoid such incidents occurring in the first place. Better to concentrate on the techniques you have for promoting responsible behaviour than to try to think of the exact right strategy you should have used in the middle of a busy and demanding class lesson. Cooperative Classrooms Checklist The Cooperative Classrooms Checklist is a great tool for assessing techniques for promoting responsible behaviour. Whenever an incident occurs or a group is challenging, you can use it as a starting point for dealing with the problem: • Is there a gap in the way the students understand their rights and responsibilities? • Could I have avoided an incident by having another class procedure already in place? • Have I developed the right strategies to address off-task behaviour in a low-key way?

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Teacher Graduate newsletter | AUTUMN 2014

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Glen Pearsall is a teacher, consultant and author. This is an extract from Classroom Dynamics: A Teacher’s Handbook, TLN Press, $25. Available at • Are the values I want my class to demonstrate actually reflected in our everyday practice? How does this work? Let’s take an example. I heard about the following incident from a first-year-out teacher. After repeated requests for a student to pay attention to a classmate giving a presentation, the student was asked to move to a table on their own. Instead of complying, the student argued with the teacher at length, and other classmates joined in to “defend” their friend. Instead of dwelling on the incident itself the teacher could review how they address situations like this. Have they established a protocol of not interrupting when a teacher is challenging another student? Are they familiar with a wide variety of verbal and non-verbal reminders that are effective at getting students back on task? Could the classwork be more engaging to help avoid this situation in the first place? Could the teacher have made peer-marking part of the presentation assessment so students are compelled to listen more attentively to their classmates? Of course a checklist doesn’t provide an immediate answer; but it can help you identify the right question. Identifying what aspect of your own practice to polish is probably the most important part of teacher development. After all, a person’s commitment to teaching is personal but how to get the most out of that commitment is really about refining your strategies. �

THE CHECKLIST OO Have you sought lots of information and feedback about your students’ abilities and experiences?

OO Have you established a “no put-down”

OO Do you have a rallying call or greeting, and attention-getting rituals?

OO Do you employ referent and “expert” power — the most under-utilised examples of the five kinds of teacher authority?


OO Do you share with your students a

common vocabulary about cooperative behaviour?

OO Do students have a strong idea of

what kinds of practice you value? Do you live out these values in the everyday classroom?

OO Does your curriculum design cater to

different learning styles and abilities?

OO Is the work challenging enough? OO Are your students engaged in their

OO Do you avoid hollow rules, ensuring

OO Do you have a range of praise

OO Do you have non-verbal signals

that you follow through on what you say will happen as a result of unwanted behaviours?


strategies to keep students on-task? (Cross-praise and proximity reminders are two well know examples.)

OO Have you practised some pivot

phrases such as “That’s not the issue right now” to redirect students to the task at hand?

for keeping students on-task and avoiding interruptions?

OO Do you use more affirmations than commands in the classroom?

OO Have you separated behaviour and student?

OO Do you have a clear incremental

ladder of consequences for inappropriate or off-task behaviours?

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PD for preservice teachers at the AEU

MEET THE Principals If you plan to work as a teacher in Victoria then this event is for you.

FREE for AEU ! members

This is a wonderful chance to meet a panel of primary and secondary principals who will talk about what they look for in a graduate teacher. All participants will have time to ask questions on critical topics like job applications and interviews. These popular sessions provide a unique opportunity to network with colleagues moving towards their education careers and hear from principals with extensive leadership experience.

All sessions will run from 4.30 – 6.00pm

Applying and Interviewing For graduate and beginning teachers Your initial aim when writing a job application is to get shortlisted. The reality is your application is simply ten or so pages stapled together — sitting among 30 or more similar applications.

FREE for AEU stud ent and teach er members !

Why shortlist you? What are schools looking for? This workshop will help you understand and respond to key selection criteria, inject personality into your application, and connect with the context of the school and the responsibility of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. So, come along, have a drink on us and walk away with some new skills and ideas that will assist you when writing your all-important job applications.

All sessions will run will run from 4.30 – 6.30pm





Tuesday August 26 SECONDARY ONLY

AEU head office 112 Trenerry Crescent, Abbotsford

Tuesday June 10

AEU building, 112 Trenerry Crescent Abbotsford

Tuesday September 2 PRIMARY ONLY

AEU head office 112 Trenerry Crescent, Abbotsford

Tuesday July 22

Lord of the Isles Tavern Cnr Latrobe & West Fyans St, Geelong

Wednesday Sept 3

Lord of the Isles Cnr Latrobe & West Fyans St, Sth Geelong

Thursday July 24

AEU building, 112 Trenerry Crescent Abbotsford

Thursday September 4

Oscars, 18 Doveton Street, Balllarat

Thursday July 31

La Maison, 40 Lincoln Causeway, Wodonga

Tuesday September 9

Italian Australian Club 499-501 Princes Drive, Morwell

Monday August 4

AEU Building, 112 Trenerry Crescent Abbotsford

Wednesday September 10

The National Hotel 182 High Street, Bendigo

Tuesday August 5

Oscars, 18 Doveton Street, Balllarat

Thursday September 11

The Flying Horse Corner Princes Highway and Mahoneys Rd, Warrnambool

Monday August 11

Italian Australian Club 499-501 Princes Drive, Morwell

Wednesday September 17 AEU building, 112 Trenerry Crescent Abbotsford



It is essential to book for these sessions. Log on to and choose the event you wish to attend. Follow the prompts to reserve your spot. If you have any queries please call Mary Denman on 9418 2847 or email

Go to for government school teachers and all student teachers or sign up at the session.


Teacher Graduate newsletter | AUTUMN 2014

Teacher Graduate Newsletter Autumn 2014  

The newsletter for student and graduate members of the AEU VB for Autumn 2014.

Teacher Graduate Newsletter Autumn 2014  

The newsletter for student and graduate members of the AEU VB for Autumn 2014.