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ACT EDUCATOR TERM 4

2017

THE DIRECT INSTRUCTION ZOMBIE

CONGRATULATIONS DAN GREENE!

FIGHTING FOR MARRIAGE EQAULITY

Chris Sarra challenges attempts to introduce the U.S. style program into our schools

Peter Curtis talks to Dan Greene about his work with Indigenous kids and winning the 2017 ACT NAIDOC Award

Vicki Lucas explores the impact marriage equality and the postal survey - has on her relationship


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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

INSIDE ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE | TERM 4 | 2017

ON THE COVER Katie Slater is a new educator, elite athlete and winner of the 2017 Anna Stewart Scholarship. This year, Katie was also elected to the AEU's Executive.

OUR STORIES THE DIRECT INSTRUCTION ZOMBIE 14 Chris Sarra challenges attempts to introduce the U.S. style program into our schools. THE LONG ROAD TO GENDER EQUALITY 16

CONGRATULATIONS DAN GREENE! 30 Peter Curtis talks to Dan Greene about his work with Indigenous kids and winning the 2017 ACT NAIDOC Award. THE EAP IS VALUABLE 34 Mathew Noonan shares his experience using the EAP - and not just in a crisis.

Following inspiration from the Women's WE HAVE LEFT THE SAFE ZONE 37 Film Night, Sarah Warren advocates for Karl-Erik Paasonen outlines the ravaging getting involved in future change for impact of climate change and encourgender equality. ages you to take action. WE CAN DO MORE 18 Meg Adamson recounts her experience as a new educator and how she was inspired to revive the New Educator Network. GIRLS' PARTICIPATION IN SPORT 20 Katie Slater examines why girls are withdrawing from physical education and discusses what we can do about it. DISCLAIMER: The assertions and opinions expressed in articles reflect the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the AEU. We do, however, think that these issues are worthy of discussion in our union.

AEU ACT BRANCH

FIGHTING FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY 26 Vicki Lucas explores the impact marriage equality, and the postal survey, has on her relationship.

WE'VE GOT YOU COVERED 40 Minh Lam recounts Nazli Gwynn's story about her car accident on the way to work and her road to recovery.

THE REGULARS PRESIDENT’S REPORT 5 SECRETARY’S REPORT 6 UPCOMING EVENTS 8 UPDATES 10 YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED 44


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CHALLENGING DIRECT INSTRUCTION 14

GIRLS' PARTICIPATION IN SPORT 20

FIGHTING FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY 26

DAN GREENE - 2017 NAIDOC WINNER 30

AEU ACT BRANCH


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AEU ACT BRANCH

ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE


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PRESIDENT’S REPORT

I

entered teaching later in life. After two decades working in higher education, I realised that many of the opportunities and limitations that will define students’ lives had been set by the time they took a seat in a lecture theatre.

That’s when I decided to become a primary school teacher. I fundamentally changed my working life to make a difference at this critical early stage of a person’s education. In making this decision, I joined a profession of passionate educators who are collectively improving the lives of hundreds of thousands of students. We need to apply the same sense of justice to ourselves. School assistants and CIT teachers are currently in the midst of bargaining. By March next year, our entire profession will be at the bargaining table. Despite being covered by three different agreements, we experience a shared injustice. All ACT public educators - in fact, the entire ACT public service - is subjected to an arbitrary two-tiered superannuation system. Educators employed before 1 July 2006 receive a minimum employer superannuation contribution of 15.4%. Educators employed from 1 July 2006 receive only 10.5% superannuation. This 4.9% difference can be difficult to conceptualise. For a 30-year-old teacher, this means you will retire with at least $100,000 less. According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) Retirement Standards, it means you will not be able to retire with a comfortable lifestyle. It means your super will likely run out during your retirement and you will need to rely on the pension. The situation is dire if you take time off during your working life to raise children or care for a loved one. I am one of the educators who receives 10.5% super. I rankle at the injustice. I also know that we can change this. It is why superannuation is one of the issues raised in our discussion paper concerning matters to consider in our next enterprise agreement. Change does not come easily. To do this, we all need to be involved in our union. Life can be busy, but we can always find a wedge of time to fight injustices. Find what works for you - whether it’s debating in your sub-branch, bringing motions to Council, taking part in training or becoming involved in the networks - and commit that time. The more we organise our workplaces, the more formidable we are at the bargaining table.

Angela Burroughs AEU ACT President AEU ACT BRANCH


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SECRETARY’S REPORT

ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

In practical terms, this means using the structures of our union. By the end of Week 2, I need your sub-branch's feedback on how you want to improve your workplace. Our Councillors will then consider the feedback across 93 sub-branches and shape it into our draft log of claims. From Week 7 until mid-February next year, your sub-branch can consider this draft and propose any amendments. At the February Council, your representatives will debate these amendments and endorse the final log of claims. We will then present the log of claims to the employer and commence bargaining. The vast majority of improvements in our working lives are won at the bargaining table. This is where the game plan really kicks in. While I sit at the bargaining table with the power of thousands of education professionals sitting beside me, there are important actions you can take. Please read every EA update I send you, and engage with these issues in your sub-branch and at Council. Support the campaign and take the small but important actions through which the AEU Office guides you.

You might not be aware of this, but you're currently in pre-season training. Don't worry – I haven't registered you for a low oxygen training camp. What I'm talking about is the work we have started to build our collective muscle. One of our biggest events is almost upon us: Enterprise Bargaining. It's our Tour de France, our Wimbledon. While those trophies sit on a shelf and collect dust, our trophies are with us every day, making our working lives better. It's time to get our heads in the game. In the coming months, we need to collectively decide our game plan. This can be challenging because, in this contest, we have 3,000 teammates. The strength of our union is in identifying our shared experiences and working together to achieve a great outcome for everyone. We're not about flashy, individual stunts. We're about working together as a team. That's why, at every step, we're making collective decisions.

AEU ACT BRANCH

Importantly, you can help build power in your workplace. Invite your colleagues to join our union. Every new member increases our bargaining power. Explain what we can win if we do it together. Occasionally, the buzzer sounds and we're in a deadlock. We haven't gone into extra time since the 2011-12 season, when I stood alongside thousands of you in our call for salary justice. Our colleagues across the border were paid 6% more than us to do the same work. Together we erased that gap. In 2012, we went from the worst paid to become the third highest paid jurisdiction in the country. This was a major step in fairly remunerating our profession and was only possible through collective action. This opportunity only comes once every three years, and we want to make the most of it.

Glenn Fowler AEU ACT Secretary


TIMELINE

DEVELOPING OUR EA LOG OF CLAIMS SEP TO OCT

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SUB-BRANCH MEETING Using the Discussion Paper as a guide, meet in your sub-branch and debate what you would like to change in your workplace. Send your feedback to the AEU Office by Friday, 20th October.

OCT

OCTOBER BRANCH COUNCIL On Saturday, 28th October, Branch Council will consider feedback from sub-branches and discuss what should be included in the EA Log of Claims.

NOV

NOVEMBER BRANCH COUNCIL On Saturday, 18th November, Branch Secretary Glenn Fowler will present the draft Log of Claims and outline the context of matters in the claim.

NOV TO FEB

SUB-BRANCH MEETING Meet with your sub-branch and discuss the draft Log of Claims. Notify the AEU Office of any proposed amendments by Wednesday, 14th February.

FEB

FEBRUARY BRANCH COUNCIL On Saturday, 17th February, Council will endorse the final Log of Claims. This will then be presented to the employer and our union will dive straight into negotiations.

AEU ACT BRANCH


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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

2017 TERM 4 Upcoming Events RSVP at aeuact.org.au/events WEEK 2 RELIEF TEACHERS SUB-BRANCH Wednesday, 18th October 4.30pm - 5.30pm United Voice, 40 Brisbane Ave, Barton TAFE COUNCIL Friday, 20th October 1.30pm - 4.00pm AEU Office, 40 Brisbane Ave, Barton CANBERRA SAYS YES! RALLY FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY Sunday, 22nd October 1.00pm - 2.30pm Garema Place, City

WEEK 3 BRANCH EXECUTIVE Tuesday, 24th October 5.30pm - 8.30pm AEU Office, 40 Brisbane Ave, Barton WOMEN'S NETWORK Wednesday, 25th October 4.00pm - 5.00pm AEU Office, 40 Brisbane Ave, Barton RECLAIM THE NIGHT Friday, 27th October 5.50pm - 7.30pm Garema Place, City BRANCH COUNCIL Saturday, 28th October 9.00am - 12.00pm J Block Theatre, CIT Reid

AEU ACT BRANCH

WEEK 5 BRANCH EXECUTIVE Tuesday, 7th November 5.30pm - 8.30pm AEU Office, 40 Brisbane Ave, Barton NEW EDUCATOR NETWORK Wednesday, 8th November 4.15pm - 6.00pm Kingston Hotel, Function Room

WEEK 6 BRANCH COUNCIL Saturday, 18th November 9.00am - 12.00pm J Block Theatre, CIT Reid

WEEK 7 BRANCH EXECUTIVE Tuesday, 21st November 5.30pm - 8.30pm AEU Office, 40 Brisbane Ave, Barton SCHOOL ASSISTANT NETWORK Wednesday, 22nd November 4.15pm - 6.00pm Kingston Hotel, Function Room

WEEK 8 RELIEF TEACHERS SUB-BRANCH Wednesday, 29th November 4.30pm - 5.30pm Venue TBC

WEEK 9 UNIONSACT END OF YEAR DRINKS Thursday, 7th December 6.00pm - late Venue TBC

WEEK 10 BRANCH EXECUTIVE Tuesday, 12th December 5.30pm - 8.30pm AEU Office, 40 Brisbane Ave, Barton


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ENTERPRISE BARGAINING

IS COMING

MAKE OUR UNION STRONG. ASK YOUR FRIENDS TO JOIN. AEU ACT BRANCH


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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

ACT UPDATES OCCUPATIONAL VIOLENCE

In July, the Education Directorate launched the Occupational Violence Management Policy and Plan. The AEU played an integral role in writing and developing these documents. These documents will have real ramifications for your working lives. For the first time, there is a clear definition of occupational violence that staff can rely on to identify occupational violence. The policy and plan outlines clear and significant duties to all levels in the Directorate to ensure that occupational violence is not tolerated in our workplaces. They also provide practical guidance about managing occupational violence risks and how to keep staff safe. As the plan notes, these are valuable tools to combat violence that has wrongly been accepted in some parts

SCHOOL ASSISTANT REVIEW

AEU ACT BRANCH

The AEU and the Education Directorate have finalised the School Assistant Review. The Review provides clarity around what school assistants do, creates a clear structure around school assistant work and the classifications this work fits into, and determines how this work should be recognised and remunerated.

of our system. Now we must work to eliminate the stigma around occupational violence. If you or your subbranch do not feel safe at work, ask for a risk assessment. If you see or experience occupational violence, remove yourself and others from risk, tell your immediate supervisor and file a Riskman report. If you are in doubt about the appropriate action or need support, contact the AEU Office as soon as you can. Setting new boundaries and supports can be challenging, but this is also a monumental opportunity to foster safe and happy workplaces. Collectively, we can make our schools better places.

We recommend that all school assistants read it and compare the Review with their current work. If you have concerns, your first step is to raise them with your supervisor. Your school should have a copy on site and it is available on Index.


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BARGAINING FOR SCHOOL ASSISTANTS AND CIT TEACHERS

We continue to bargain the common clauses for our CIT teachers and school assistants. The common terms impact union members across the ACTPS and may influence the bargaining parameters for school teachers and psychologists next year. It is vital that we work with other unions to negotiate the best possible common clauses. This is where we negotiate issues such as superannuation, pay rises and leave. Once the common clauses are finalised, we will commence stream negotiations for CIT teachers and school assistants. Currently, we are negotiating the conduct clause for preliminary assessments and investigations. We're bargaining to ensure that you are protected in your workplace, that bullying and harassment are properly dealt with, and that you are guaranteed

procedural fairness if you make a complaint or are under investigation. We have also begun negotiating for our pay rise and superannuation. Our logs of claim state that we want a 4% pay rise per annum and superannuation clauses included in the EAs. In 2006, the ACT Government cut the superannuation rate from over 15% to the legal minimum for all new employees. This has come at the cost of a secure retirement and was only possible because the superannuation rate was not in our EAs. The outcomes of the pay and superannuation claims will be key in determining what action our union takes next. These discussions, however, are still in their infancy, and we are not close to achieving an outcome.

KEEPING TRACK OF THE 2016 ELECTION COMMITMENTS

HIRING FIVE PSYCHOLOGISTS IN 2017 (OUT OF THE 20 PROMISED)

FOUR MORE YEARS OF RESOURCES (APPROX. 60 FULLTIME SCHOOL ASSISTANTS EVERY YEAR) FULLY FUNDED IN THE 2017 ACT BUDGET

SOME MONEY ALLOCATED IN THE 2017 ACT BUDGET. A SMALL PORTION OF PROJECTS FOCUS ON CLASSROOM HEATING & COOLING.

AEU ACT BRANCH


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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

FEDERAL UPDATES GONSKI NEEDS-BASED FUNDING

It's been a long-perpetrated fallacy that governments do not have enough money to adequately fund public education. The AEU rightly treats these proclamations with great cynicism. The AEU recently obtained data from the Federal Education Department that shows under Malcolm Turnbull's so-called needs-based system, public schools in most states have had billions of dollars removed from their resource base. At the same time, the latest figures reveal that, in the ACT, Catholic schools receive more than the School Resource Standard (SRS) from the Commonwealth Government alone, let

NAPLAN ONLINE

In the Independent sector, some of the most expensive private schools are receiving one and a half times the SRS from the Commonwealth alone, in addition to ACT Government funding and enormous fees. In stark contrast, the Commonwealth only funds 16.7% of the SRS of ACT public schools. This figure will gradually increase to 20% by 2023. The Commonwealth is attempting to use its role as minority funder of the public system to dictate the agenda on schooling.

The AEU has called on all state and territory education ministers to abandon the rollout of NAPLAN Online and engage in urgent discussions about issues raised by teachers and principals.

tem. The results will not show us learning outcomes – they will show us whether or not a child has had access to technology and how proficient they are at using that technology.

While it is debatable that NAPLAN Online can be effectively delivered in the ACT, there is no debate that other states do not have the capacity to deliver this under current circumstances. Many schools do not have the capacity, technical support or resources from education departments to roll out the online test.

On top of that, there is a serious professional issue involving computers marking students' prose. Our students deserve to have their written work reviewed by humans. Computer-based marking of students' extended prose is educationally unsound.

This only serves to reinforce inequality in our education sys-

AEU ACT BRANCH

alone what they receive from the Territory Government and private fees.

These combined factors have resulted in the Federal AEU formally opposing the continuation of NAPLAN Online.


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TESTING YEAR 1 STUDENTS

Testing is a part of school life, and teachers have no problem with testing per se. Phonics is a strategy used alongside others to successfully teach children how to read and write. Once again, the Commonwealth Government, under the leadership of Malcolm Turnbull and Simon Birmingham, have overreached by trying to withhold funding from cash-poor state and territory governments that do not impose a Year 1 national standardised phonics test on our 6-year-old students.

schools. The proposal for a national phonics test for Year 1s has been recommended by a right-wing think tank based on a model used in England, where student results are significantly below ours. Indeed, research found that the test was no more accurate than a teacher's judgement in identifying children with reading difficulties and stated that teachers needed more support to assist struggling students.

The NAPLAN tests have been in place for ten years with virtually no demonstrated improvement. Tests in and of themselves do not improve student outcomes. As the AEU has said for a decade, fattening a pig is more important than repeatedly weighing it, and no amount of testing will compensate for the Commonwealth Government's cuts to public

Once again, the Commonwealth Government has chosen the wrong setting to emulate. This idea has not been requested by teachers, but there is an attempt to impose it on us. The ACT Education Minister is supportive of our position. Our resolve as a union to resist more standardised tests is absolute, and we will prevail.

COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT

FUNDING OF ACT SCHOOLS 143.3%

DARAMALAN COLLEGE

143.2%

RADFORD COLLEGE

MARIST COLLEGE

116.3%

BURGMANN ANGLICAN SCHOOL

130.5%

129.7%

BRINDABELLA CHRISTIAN

16.7%

148.4%

CATHOLIC SYSTEMIC SCHOOLS

ACT PUBLIC SCHOOLS

T UDEN T S 100% URCE RESO ARD D STAN ) (SRS

AEU ACT BRANCH

*Based on the Federal Education Department’s 2018 funding figures.


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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

THE DIRECT INSTRUCTION ZOMBIE HAS NO PLACE IN OUR CLASSROOMS Chris Sarra - Professor of Education

R

ecently, a report by the Australia Institute seemed very excited

about direct instruction. But are they talking about direct instruction the pedagogy, or teaching method, or Direct Instruction, the ‘off-the-shelf’ program developed in the U.S.?

RIGHT IMAGE:

Professor Chris Sarra.

AEU ACT BRANCH

Just last year I was at a teachers’ conference in Western Australia’s Kimberley region, and a fellow educator asked me what I thought about Direct Instruction, the product, on which the Commonwealth Government had spent 30 million dollars. "I think it is an obscene waste of taxpayers' money blown on a program where the evaluative evidence suggests it is having no effect!" I told them. I then went on to explain why such an ‘off-the-shelf’ American product is actually offensive to our teaching profession. It suggests teachers are so stupid that they can only teach with scripted words taken from U.S.-imported teacher handbooks. I also noted that as part of the ‘package’, teachers are coached by frequent visits from experts from the U.S. I wondered aloud about how much of the 30 mil-

lion dollars is exported to the U.S. to cover the costs of such expenses. While some bureaucrats and principals squirmed in their seats a little, I got a strong sense that many of my education colleagues were absorbed in my response. I got an even stronger sense of this from fellow Indigenous educators and Indigenous community members when I explained that this approach, despite all of the smoke and mirrors around it, would never be inflicted upon white schools. I explained that the biggest con in all of this is that the zealous Direct Instruction advocates refer to the broadly embraced research by Professor John Hattie, which suggests that direct instruction has a high effect on student achievement. What they do not say is that Hattie’s well-regarded research refers to ‘direct


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instruction’, the pedagogy, or way of teaching, and not ‘Direct Instruction’, the 30 million-dollar U.S. ‘off the shelf’ product developed by Siegfried Engelmann. Disappointingly, Hattie has – for whatever reason – been unwilling to point out this significant difference. During the break at that same conference, I was disturbed by my exchange with some of my teacher colleagues. Three young female teachers and two young male teachers, all of them in their early to mid-twenties, approached me in an emotional state. As they spoke to me, some of them broke down and started to cry. "We hate this program. We really hate it!’ they explained, holding back their tears. As they spoke, they looked anxiously around to see who was watching them speak with me. "You have to keep telling people your views on this. The kids hate it and we hate it, but they force us to use it. We stay here because we love the kids and the community, and when they are not looking we adapt it to make it more interesting… but if they catch us going off the script, we get hammered!" Needless to say, I was hurting for my colleagues. I was also hurting for the many Aboriginal children subjected to an approach that might have worked for just a few children with remedial needs at some level, but was largely a gross and disgusting assault on the intelligence of most of our Aboriginal children. I spent almost seven years leading as principal of the Aboriginal community school of Cherbourg in South East Queensland. We faced some dramatically com-

plex challenges there. In spite of this, we knew the importance of having high teacher morale and embracing Aboriginal children as if they were intelligent rather than cognitively impaired. Real attendance lifted to 94% from 62%, and Year 7 reading improved by more than 80% within five years. These are just a few of the many great improvement stats. In my 30 years as an educator, with many years actually working in schools and classrooms rather than just visiting and observing them, I have come to know a lot about what works and what doesn’t. As the zombie of Direct Instruction – the U.S. ‘off-the-shelf' product – continues to roam the education debate, looking for which jurisdiction will be its next victim and trashing the morale of many Australian teachers, I hope the Australia Institute understands the profoundly important difference between this and direct instruction that Hattie’s research referred to. There is indeed an important place for

direct instruction, the pedagogy, or focused method of teaching in our classrooms. There are challenges in our classrooms across Australia and in many schools and communities. With hard work, excellent teachers, quality learning programs and high expectations relationships, we have transcended these challenges in many places. Imposing an American script on our students, teachers and classrooms is like infecting them with a vile toxic stench and sludge of low expectations. Our children, our teachers and our classrooms are too sacred and precious for this, and we can do better. Our children must be embraced and challenged as highly capable learners, and our teachers must be embraced and challenged as highly capable teachers. This is the only way forward. Chris Sarra is the founder and chairman of the Stronger Smarter Institute and Professor of Education at the University of Canberra. In 2016, he was named NAIDOC Person of the Year.

AEU ACT BRANCH


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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

THE LONG ROAD TO GENDER EQUALITY Sarah Warren - Primary School Teacher

I

n The Handmaid's Tale, Offred This dystopian vision shows the

the Equal Pay Act in 1970.

finds an inscription at the

That was 47 years ago. We have different challenges now, but we still face the ramifications of gender inequality every day.

back of her wardrobe. Rough-

ly translated, it reads, "Don't let the bastards grind you down."

dark side of gender inequality. Every plotline in the book and TV series was drawn from real events. It's the counter-narrative to a life without unionism and feminism. And yet, there's still hope etched on the back of the wardrobe. At the AEU Women's Film Night, we opted for a different kind of feminist fix. The story was also drawn from real events but demonstrated women collectively succeeding in the face of overt sexism.

RIGHT IMAGE:

Panelists Emma Turner, Katy Gallagher and Angela Burroughs at the Women's Film Night (and active members in the feminist/unionist community).

AEU ACT BRANCH

Made in Dagenham is the story of the 1968 Ford factory machinists who walked out in protest against sex discrimination. The strike gained worldwide attention and fundamentally challenged traditional family roles and what was thought to be in a woman's nature. As a result of the brave actions of these women, the United Kingdom passed

When we still have a long way to go, these two stories - the Handmaid's Tale and Made in Dagenham - are important reminders. On the one hand, if we do nothing, we have no guarantee that other people will not recloak women with the inequalities that our ancestors shed. On the other hand, we have immense power to act collectively and create the change we want to see. But that's the important part we need to act collectively. The biggest steps I have taken on the path to gender equality have not been negotiating housework with my husband or seemingly magically balancing work and childcare responsibilities.


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No, it has been through actively getting involved in my union. As unionists, we are pioneers in the ongoing battle for gender inequality. Our union was the first to win maternity leave. This has subsequently been transformed into parental leave, because child-rearing is not "women's work". It's only right that our male colleagues get the same entitlement. Now, our Branch is trailblazing change on occupational violence. Violence in our workplace does not exist in a bubble. It is informed by broader attitudes and ideas about what is acceptable. Children as young as two begin to pick up gender norms. When our students witness violence towards women, it becomes normalised. As unionists and educators, we can begin to break that cycle.

While we won equal pay for the same work almost half a century ago, early childhood educators are now ramping up their campaign for equal pay for comparable work. At the moment, some skilled work is paid less because it has historically been categorised as women's work. Educators are the ones who are leading change on that front too. Yet, when we reflect on another busy school term and the work that is ahead of us, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the daily grind. But that's the beauty of being part of a collective. In those moments where I need a break, I know that thousands of other educators and unionists around the country are keeping the flame alive. So here's my advice to you don't stop! Sure, take a break when you

need it. But you can still become an active member of this community of unionists and feminists who are making change. Your AEU membership is the first step. Take the next one and get involved. I want to end by recognising the women who made this inspiring film night happen. The fantastic panelists, Katy Gallagher, Angela Burroughs and Emma Turner, shared our trials and tribulations, and gave us food for thought. And of course, the AEU staff who are always working behind the scenes - thank you Jacqui Agius, Naomi Brooks and Lucy Barrett! You have filled me to the brim with feminist love, and now I'm ready for the next battle. Join the Women's Network on Wednesday, 25th October to make signs for Reclaim the Night on Friday, 27th October. The March is about raising awareness of violence against women and rejecting the idea that victims of violence bear some responsibility for preventing it.

AEU ACT BRANCH


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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

WE CAN DO MORE FOR NEW EDUCATORS Meg Adamson - Primary School Teacher

I

t’s little surprise that support However, we also know that and mentoring is something most new educators rate

in the top slot on their list of needs.

new educators are the worst at reaching out for help, identifying when they’re not getting what they need, and asking for additional support. In my first year of teaching, I didn’t even know what an Enterprise Agreement was. I had no idea about my rights as a new educator and, even if I did, I wouldn’t have had the guts to stand up and ensure I was getting them. When I became more involved with my union, new educator rights was the first and most natural cause I was going to take up. I want other new teachers to get what I missed out on.

RIGHT IMAGE:

AEU members at the 2017 New Educators' Conference.

AEU ACT BRANCH

It started with ten newbies eating chips and dip in a classroom and asking all the stupid questions we’d ever thought of. Our support group consisted

solely of teachers in their first 3 years. This was done on purpose to make sure it was a safe space, free from judgement and outside influences. We covered topics from portfolios and reports to mental health and wellbeing. Nothing was taboo, and no question was dismissed. Even if it wasn’t the most professional and formal of gatherings, everyone came out of it feeling like they had a voice and knowing they could find support if they needed it. At the end of last year, I met dozens of other new educators from across the country. Their stories of exploitation and confusion around rights were overwhelming and saddening. Everyone was upbeat, and we know teachers do this job because they love it, but the common theme was that they all wished they’d had more information earlier. I decided


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that I wanted to help. I couldn’t change what had happened to these people or to myself, but if I could make an effort to change even one other person’s experience, then I would. And so the New Educator Network was reborn! Our first session was a big success, and the feedback has been hugely positive.

little bit easier in the future. As we grow the Network, we want to provide new teachers with an opportunity to learn

other. Giving teachers as much information as possible, as well as a network of people they can go to for more, can only empower young teachers.

It started with ten newbies eating chips and dip in a classroom and asking all the stupid questions we’d ever thought of.

We tackled TQI registration portfolios and had portfolios on hand from those who had been through the process recently.

some tips and tricks for surviving the more challenging responsibilities and frantic times of the year.

We also discussed what matters to new educators in the upcoming enterprise negotiations. It was a powerful reminder that, while the first few years of teaching are challenging, we can stand together, win important changes and make things that

It will be a forum to share assessment ideas, units of work and report writing tips, and connect with more experienced teachers. By covering both specific issues and big topics we can make things a little clearer for each

From here I hope to see more people come to participate in the sessions, if not for the information then for networking with other teachers who are going through the same things. If everyone knows just a little bit more, or helps out one teacher in their school, then we’re all working to make the teaching profession a little less daunting for new educators.

AEU ACT BRANCH


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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

HOW CAN WE FOSTER GIRLS' PARTICIPATION IN SPORT? Katie Slater - Primary School Teacher

T

he benefits of participat- Sport and physical activity can ing in sport and physical activity are well docu-

mented.

increase the capacity for learning, promote physical and mental health, and introduce skills such as teamwork, self-discipline, leadership and socialisation. Education Departments around Australia have developed policies to support and guide schools with the implementation of physical education. The ACT Education Directorate’s Physical Education and Sport policy states that all students from kindergarten to year 10 must have “mandatory times to be devoted within curriculum time to the area of physical education and sport.”

RIGHT IMAGE:

Katie Slater is a primary school teacher, elite athlete and recipient of the 2017 Anna Stewart Scholarship.

AEU ACT BRANCH

Despite physical education being mandatory within all ACT schools, evidence shows that there is a significant drop in engagement and participation levels of female students within secondary schools.

The age that women are dropping out of physical activity and sport outside of school is also getting lower (ABS, 2003), with recent evidence suggesting there is a 50% drop off for young women aged 10-14 years (Craike, M., Symons, C., & Zimmermann, J., 2009). A number of barriers contribute to this drop off. They include low confidence levels, the perception of a lack of skills in comparison to peers, body image, higher levels of social and peer pressure, and physical exercise becoming a lower priority (Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, 2015). My experiences of physical education in schooling were quite unique. I was home-schooled until the age of 16, so by the time I attended Dickson College my perceptions of physical education and sport had not changed a great deal from when I was


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younger. I studied Health and Movement for two years during Year 11 and 12. During the practical components of the subject, which often required testing, I was usually the only girl who participated. At the time I didn’t really think about why my fellow female classmates were not participating, however the reasons they gave often included not having adequate clothing and/or equipment, being too tired, or that they couldn’t be bothered. Since my college schooling, I have become a primary school teacher and I often think of this disengagement. I recently conducted a survey to gauge other teachers' perceptions of their female students in

physical education (PE) lessons. The lack of participation and engagement in other teachers' lessons appears to correlate with the reasons that my classmates gave. Of teachers surveyed, the most common factors they felt led to female student disengagement in PE lessons included students feeling self-conscious, bored, intimidated and fear of failure, and a perceived lack of sporting ability or confidence. The reasons female students gave these teachers for missing PE lessons included: lack of confidence, being sick, injured or tired, not having the correct uniform, not liking the sport/skill, having their period, and games being too competitive. Another potential barrier for fe-

male engagement in PE lessons could be the lack of reference to female professional athletes in a range of sports. If female students are continually being shown examples of professional male athletes, the value placed on women’s sport is lowered. One teacher cited the lack of resourcing to explain why more male athletes were provided as examples during lessons. This demonstrates the need to boost funding and resourcing available to help improve overall perceptions of women in sport. The media does little to reverse negative perceptions of professional women in sport. It offers minimal coverage and limited statistical information during the commentary. In a study conducted on how

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media affects perceptions of female sports (Lebel & Danylchuk, 2015), participants agreed that the overall quality of women’s sports coverage in the media is lower than the quality of coverage for men’s sports. If coverage was improved, however, it would foster an exciting environment

Firstly, female students need to be provided with opportunities to develop their skills with similarly skilled peers and in gender groups or, if mixed, ensure it is a supportive environment (Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, 2015).

"Knowing what teachers say and do in their PE classes, how they organise their classes and their choices of activities is important because these social practices have the potential to construct, reproduce or challenge assumptions based on gender."

Donna Lopiano, former Executive Director of the Women’s Sports Foundation said, “Sport is a very powerful social change tool because it teaches women and girls confidence, self esteem and strength. It changes them. It’s part of the reason that the guys wanted women out of sports for a very long time.” Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). (2003). Participation in cultural and leisure activities, Australia. Canberra: ABS. Best, S., Pearson, P.J., & Webb, P.I. (2010). Teachers' perceptions of the effects of single-sex and coeducational classroom settings on the participation and performance of students in practical physical education. Retrieved from the University of Wollongong website: http:// ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1673&context=edupapers

A fantastic example of this was in one of the trial games leading up to the first annual women’s AFL competition. More than a million people viewed the women’s all-star game live on TV last year – more viewers than any other game played by men in the 2016 season.

Educators should also consider the implementation of ‘girls only’ programs to reduce peer pressure and issues related to self-image. In a study conducted by Best et. al (2010), of the 39 PDHPE teachers surveyed, 79% believed that single-sex PE class settings allowed students to reach their full performance potential, thus increasing engagement and participation of ALL students.

Craike, M., Symons, C. & Zimmermann, J. (2009). Why do young women drop out of sport and physical activity? A social ecological approach, Annals of leisure research, 12(2), p 148-172.

Educators are vital in the battle for equality in sport. It starts from our perceptions and delivery of physical education lessons. As Wright (2001) said, "Knowing what teachers say and do in their PE classes, how they organise their classes and their choices of activities is important because these social practices have the potential to construct, reproduce or challenge assumptions based on gender."

Another effective strategy could include the introduction of modified scoring and participation rules for female students when playing games with male students. Additionally, the use of role models and giving female students a ‘voice’ and ‘choice’ in the types of activities offered during a lesson can help to increase female engagement in P.E lessons (Murphy, Dionigi & Litchfield, 2014).

Wright, J. (2001). Gender reform in physical education: A poststructuralist perspective. Journal of Physical Education New Zealand, 34(1), 15-25.

When planning physical education lessons, teachers need to implement and consider a number of things.

Educators must challenge the traditional methods used to teach PE lessons to ensure they make their lessons as accessible and equitable as possible. As

for women’s sport and our society would be taking an important step in closing the divide.

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Lebel, K., & Danylchuk, K. (2015). Investigating Generation Y’s perceptions of women’s sport in the media, International Journal of Sport Communication, 2(2). Murphy, B., Dionigi, R.A. & Litchfield, C. (2014). Physical education and female participation: A case study of teachers’ perspectives and strategies, Issues in Educational Research, 24(3), p 241-254.

Victorian Health Promotion Foundation. (2015). Female participation in sport & physical activity: a snapshot of the evidence. Retrieved from VicHealth: https:// www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/media-and-resources/publications/female-participation-in-sport-and-physical-activity-a-snapshot-of-the-evidence


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OUR TERM 3 EVENTS

ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

PHOTOS TAKEN AT:

CIT Workshop School Assistant Worksho Birrigai Retreat Principal Career Structur Marriage Equality Rally Women's Film Night

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CREDIT: Wolf Sverak Photography

op

re Consultation

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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

STILL FIGHTING FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY Vicki Lucas - Principal

A

s I type this, AEU members, along with all other Australians on

the electoral roll, will be tasked with voluntarily participating in the affront that is the marriage equality postal survey.

I get to vote on whether or not I might choose to marry my partner of over 18 years. My heterosexual comrades reading this short article, many of whom have never met me, also get to vote on my right to marry and access the protections offered by that legal status. This exercise means different things to different people, regardless of how they might actually vote. The outcome, therefore, means different things to different people. I do my best to understand that people have different opinions, values and world views. However, those who vote "no” in this survey are essentially saying that they are happy to live in a country that sleeps comfortably at night knowing its laws validate different rights for its citizens based upon whom they love. I imagine, sadly, that they may have been the same 10% who might have voted “no” in the

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1967 Referendum. Each day throughout this survey period, I am reminded that one of the senators elected to represent me and my family is actively campaigning to deny me the same rights as those of my heterosexual, married neighbours. In contrast, there are many Australians who consider this vote unnecessary because all people deserve equal rights. The AEU is founded upon such social justice principles, which is the very reason I am a member. Yet, even amongst those who will vote "yes”, the result and the subsequent Government response means different things. For some, achieving marriage equality is a demonstration that we are a society built upon social justice and inclusion. This is the latest battle to be fought to create a future where all Australians


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enjoy equal rights and respect. It means that our nation becomes the 22nd country to enact such legislation, finally. For others it represents an opportunity to support their son, daughter, cousin, neighbour, parent, friend or colleague who does not currently have the right to marry whomever they love. I have lost Facebook “friends” during the lead up to this absurd plebiscite. I have also found many allies. I have been impressed by the unexpected compassion of straight friends and family who have spoken out against the agony that this process has been for those most affected by it. For me, the outcome of this non-compulsory, non-binding postal survey is very personal. It means more than a wedding. It means more than a piece of paper in a frame. The outcome I

am hoping for is that this survey will result in passing legislation that will declare me to be “married”. The rights that come with that label matter in so many ways and for so many reasons. This survey, in fact, determines my future.

precedence as to whether such a document is valid or overrules the heterosexist ways institutions such as hospitals function. Marriage equality will make that unnecessary and mean that we are more than “friends” or “housemates”.

Should my future include hospitalisation of some serious nature, my partner of over 18 years, who shares a ring, mortgage, pets, children and holiday photos with me, is currently not assured the right to sit beside me. This differs between jurisdictions and between institutions. Marriage equality will mean that she can be by my side and make decisions on my behalf, regardless of what state or territory we are in at the time.

I am currently not welcome to be “out” in a number of places of worship. In all honesty that would probably be the same if I was still straight! Of course, marriage equality won’t change such ignorance and selective reading of biblical text - yet.

We currently have enduring powers of attorney so that we can list each other as next-ofkin. Yet there is limited legal

I cannot currently guarantee our children that in the event of my passing, their mother will have assumed parenting rights if we reside outside of the ACT. Those who vote no are saying they are happy for my children to have such uncertainty in their future. Marriage equality will provide my children with that security.

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If one of us dies without marriage equality, our access to superannuation, life insurance, and other key benefits remain problematic. Marriage equality will mean that we would have the same rights as other married folk during a time when hearts are broken enough. My partner and I have exchanged rings and have what is known as a “civil union” (within the ACT). We can’t, however, technically or legally refer to each other as “wife”. Marriage equality will change that. It will reduce the number of places where I have to play the “pro-

ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

noun game”, using “they” and “their” rather than “she” and “her”. Any interstate travel in which I engage, including representing the ACT Branch at Federal Conference, is currently done under the cloud that is that we have different rights in different states should anything go wrong (e.g. injury requiring hospitalisation). Marriage equality will fix that. I feel like a bit of a pessimist listing some of the reasons why I need marriage equality to happen. However, removing remote and unlikely possibilities from

ABOVE IMAGE:

Teachers and union members gather at the Marriage Equality Rally in Sydney in September.

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the scene frees up space to concentrate on enjoying the actual living of life in a committed relationship. Marriage equality won’t change much in our day to day life. If it doesn’t get through the ridiculous hoops required, I still have bills to pay, lawns to mow, children to feed and dogs to walk. Marriage equality, however, will allow us to do those everyday things with greater peace of mind and future security. Of course, we might not choose to marry. But having the choice will be so sweet!


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Y T I L A EQU N O I N IS U . S S E N I S U B

Unionists for marriage equality. www.weareunioncbr.org.au/equality

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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

CONGRATULATIONS DAN! 2017 ACT NAIDOC PERSON OF THE YEAR

Peter Curtis - Primary School Teacher

D

an Greene is a proud Alyawarre man and the ACT NAIDOC Person of

the year 2017.

While his origins are in Darwin, Dan has lived and worked in Canberra for 19 years and has been a school teacher for the last 15 years. Dan has always been an active AEU member and vigorous defender of our rights as classroom teachers. It is this determination that also drives his desire to close the educational gap. Dan is currently a classroom teacher at Namadgi School and was one of its original teachers when the school opened in 2011. During this time, Dan has initiated a variety of collaborations to develop a powerful sense of identity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from Kindergarten to Year 10.

RIGHT IMAGE:

Dan Greene with Malpa students.

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As the Indigenous Contact Officer at Namadgi School, Dan is the first port of call for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families

seeking support. Dan is often asked to be part of a support team for individuals and families. Most recently, Dan has dedicated his efforts to developing and organising a partnership with the Malpa Young Doctors Program. The program teaches children about leadership and healthy lifestyles while embracing culture and traditional values. It aims to turn primary students into community health ambassadors. Malpa is a 15-week program for students in Years 3 and 4, aimed at education in nutrition, leadership, environmental health, hygiene and health literature. While still a pilot, it is a fine example of community engagement. Dan has been working with two of the school's parents, Karen Parter and Mel Bulger, to ensure that this initiative is effective and targeted.


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This program has been incredibly successful and well-received. It has expanded at Namadgi and continued into 2017, and ABC News interviewed Dan about the program's success and impact. To meet the diverse needs of our students, representatives from a range of organisations make their contribution to life at Namadgi. The Wirrapanda Foundation, Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation, The Smith Family, Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association, Greening Australia and The Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives all provide effective and differentiated programs for the Indigenous students at the school. Audiologists attend the school to assess hearing, and we hope that a partnership with local dentists will provide free dental checks in the future.

Attention to building academic success means that Dan also coordinates the Indigenous Homework Centre for students from Kindergarten to Year 10. Dan first implemented this initiative when he was at Gowrie Primary in 2003 and then at Forrest Primary in 2008. This program is run after school hours to provide support for Indigenous students and their families with homework, assignments, exams and study. Extending into school hours, this program has had a positive impact on student engagement and outcomes, and the relationship between home and school. Dan was the Literacy and Numeracy Consultant for Tuggeranong High School's Closing the Gap literacy project throughout 2011-12 and in the ACT Education and Training Directorate from 2005 to 2007.

Dan used a case management approach to work collaboratively with teachers, students, parents and external bodies. He integrated current research to develop effective Individual Learning Plans, which provided students with clear and attainable literacy and numeracy goals, with practical strategies to attain these goals. Dan also assisted educators to develop clear and efficient assessment procedures, which allowed them to monitor and evaluate the progress of individual students. This was coupled with ongoing support to enable this information to influence and modify students' teaching and learning programs. The success of the program resulted in Dan and his colleague Bea Hale engaging with other teaching staff and members of school communities at a na-

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tional level. In 2012, Dan and Bea presented at the Australian Literacy Educators Association Conference. The presentation emphasised successful teaching strategies, resources and programs that enable students to experience success in their learning. It also focused on facilitating collaboration between teachers, students, and students' families in order to prevent and overcome school disengagement.

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And a last word from Dan; "It would be tremendous to see the day when Indigenous programs are not seen by the society as extraordinary but rather integrated in every facet of study and life in Australia."

ABOVE IMAGE:

Elder Dr Matilda House, Dan Greene and Mel Bulger with students.

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Your school can create Young Doctors too! Find out about how your school can engage in the Malpa Program and create young health ambassadors for their communities. You can find out more here: https://www.malpa.org.au/


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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

THE EAP IS VALUABLE (AND NOT JUST AFTER A CRISIS)

Mathew Noonan - Behaviour Support Partner

L

ast year I made the time to attend a breakfast hosted by then beyond-

blue Chair Jeff Kennett for community leaders involved in providing support and care services for the region.

RIGHT IMAGE:

Mathew Noonan.

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Two important moments really stuck with me. One was the shocking statistics in Australia about the numbers of people who self-harm or attempt harm, and especially about the numbers of people who are not travelling ok mental health-wise but who themselves are directly involved in providing support to others. The second issue was the importance of all Australians, and especially those involved in providing care for others, to properly and honestly ‘check-in’ with themselves and others regularly. It has helped me to realise that for years and years, I have always recommended staff and leaders access and use the Employee Assist Programs (EAP). From incidents in schools, Risk Assessment meetings, staff getting emotional when expressing an ongoing challenge, staff feeling

they are not being productive with their supervisor, friends of mine who have separated or lost a family member suddenly and so on – I thought I had been sincerely promoting the importance and value of using our EAP every time I was involved in a crisis or trauma. While this is good, I realised earlier this year that I needed to seriously and honestly undertake Mr Kennett’s ‘check-in’. I had been finding a pattern very subtly emerging in my head during car rides, in those moments of the day when I could ‘breathe’ (rare, and usually when I was extremely tired), and when trying to sleep some nights or when I was supposed to be relaxing and enjoying my downtime with my family. Some of my most tricky and complex kids, families, colleagues and school leaders that


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I supported were getting into my heart and head in ways that were not as useful or healthy as they could (or should) be. I know I am a visual teacher, learner and leader, but while I tried to ignore it, mental and emotional patterns were building in me which meant I was working hard but needed guidance. I was an advanced sports car, driving with underinflated tires. While I did the typical thing of venting in corridor conversations on the way to meetings with trusted colleagues, it was not sincere ‘check-ins’ or self-analysis or care. I also tried to dismiss my building concerns by telling myself I was ‘being weak’ or silly, or that I should not use valuable resources like the EAP for such minor rubbish. After all, I was an expert in wellbeing, resilience, mental health training and case management. And besides, I did not have the time anyway to do anything more. After weeks of trying to ignore it, when opening my internet explorer one Friday morning I clicked on the ED EAP link (INDEX – Teaching and Engagement top tab – Inclusion and wellbeing – Staff wellbeing – Employee Assist Programs links near bottom), and randomly chose one of the newer providers. Ok, admission time! Years and years ago I had recommended friends access the EAP, some with work issues and others with personal issues. I had accessed the EAP too. My friends and I had some unfortunate experiences, and these doubts were very present in my head at every early step.

When I called on one of the EAPs this time, the first person I spoke to (who was obviously vetting me to allocate my case appropriately and locally) was kind and helpful, but I was ready for it to be silly and a waste of my time. At times, some of the initial processes and steps did feel a little ‘battery farm’ like, and I thought that I was being silly and help was ages away. I had major doubts professionally and personally (then, and for the weeks leading up to my first appointment). The good news! My allocated consultant, their

receptionist, their location, and – most importantly – the ways they have welcomed me wanting to define, unpack, action plan and improve my four goals has been exactly what I needed! My consultant is able to professionally juggle being totally accepting and supportive with helping me link my goals to expert theories (and even to have some fierce conversations with me, and helping me to have them with myself). While the visits and work I am doing in my own time takes time and effort, I have felt and seen measureable progress in defining and actioning my goals.

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Feedback from my colleagues, school leaders and principals has been positive, and fierce conversations with others and myself have been extremely helpful. I have been educated, empowered and supported to identify ways I can operate more objectively and with clearer boundaries (for myself and others). One theory my consultant had and insisted on (which to me sounded like “2 plus 2 equals a puppy”) actually gave me a concrete, personal goal which I had been ignoring for 15+ years. I actioned it (against some resistance) but it has, truly, changed my life. It was scary how the consultant was able to show through evidence that I had this need, but did not think of it. The ‘take-aways’:

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• Delete your and your colleagues’ perceptions and narratives that our EAPs are “just to be suggested after a crisis” (they are! But, they’re also damn helpful just for helping you to ‘sail’ better any time) • The EAPs really are happy to help you improve your work satisfaction, and also look at personal and family issues • If you have had a bad experience with one of the EAPs in the past, try a different one (Hey! Do you like EVERYONE you meet, every day?) • It is a false economy to think you do not have the time for (or are not worthy of) support from the EAP • Investing the time and effort to enhance your strengths

while defining and project-actioning areas you need/want to develop is worth it (and who do you work with who is perfect?) • Ask the people you work with for honest feedback, and especially ask your support networks and mentors to regularly ‘check-in’ with you (and you, them) as a priority. • The investment by the ED in the EAPs and promotion by our AEU is valuable, important and appreciated. We should all be promoting the EAPs and sharing more positive stories and ways that they can help! Yours in education, support and promoting that we all ‘check-in’ with ourselves, our colleagues, and promote our EAPs as useful in a range of ways, often.


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WE HAVE LEFT THE SAFE ZONE Karl-Erik Paasonen - EAL/D Teacher

A

lack of action on climate change is putting people's lives at risk.

We are already experiencing increasing extremes of bushfires and floods. A recent ANU study showed that we could soon suffer through summers of 50°C. We must do something.

My purpose is to get you, as an AEU member, wanting to be involved in the AEU Climate Committee. I’ll do that in three stages. Firstly, I’ll talk through some of the science – the ‘Why should I be involved?’. I’ll be putting it to you that things are considerably worse than is widely understood. Secondly, I’ll talk about broad responses – movements, markets. In particular, that they are about thirty years behind where they need to be in order to make the necessary difference. Thirdly, I’ll make some suggestions regarding an AEU climate committee and you. The Science All of us have heard over the years a range of stuff regarding emissions, carbon dioxide and so on. But it can be hard to fit it all together into a single picture. When you do that, the picture is somewhat dire. A relatively

new scientific endeavour called Earth System Theory brings it all together into one diagram. It’s been known for over a century that carbon dioxide (CO2) has the effect of keeping heat in: in effect, it absorbs some of the frequencies of light. For the last million years or so, through several iceages, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has varied within a particular band. During the coldest parts of iceages, there were about 180 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere. During the periods between iceages, the amount went up to about 280 ppm, at times approaching 300. This was what our species evolved in. In particular, for the last 12 000 years, the ‘Holocene’- a long, steady interglacial - it has sat at 280 ppm with very little variation. This is the period when all neolithic cultures have developed, everything we call ‘civilisa-

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tion’. The important thing to understand is that temperature tracks CO2, with a bit of lag-time while it melts ice-caps and heats millions of cubic kilometres of ocean, all of which take up the excess energy. As you can see in the graphic below, since the beginning of the industrial revolution, CO2 levels have been rising rapidly: that’s the near-vertical line on the right. It is currently at about 405 ppm. That level of CO2 has not been seen since about 3 million years ago, when the average temperature was several degrees hotter and the sea levels several tens of metres higher. The Earth system does not respond immediately; however, when it responds, there will be no stopping it. So far, average global temperature has risen 1 degree

ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

Celsius. There is considerably more – at least another degree ‘baked in’, inevitable. At the same time, while the rate of annual CO2 emissions has started to level off, it has levelled off at a very high level. The Paris commitments that governments have made, even if they actually fulfil their promises, commit the Earth System to something above 3 degrees. That’s 3 degrees average. The Arctic is currently warming at at least twice the rate of other parts of the world. How do you think Australia is going to go? Never mind Sydney real-estate values, what do you think a metre of sea-level rise will do to refugee flows as major river systems are overwhelmed by salinity? In effect, we have left the safe zone. This is the legacy that we are leaving to our children and

ABOVE IMAGE:

CO2 Concentration readings, demonstrating a steep incline in the last century.

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students. Together, we will have to act to draw CO2 levels back down to within Holocene norms. It is for us to not make that impossible for them. Movements and Markets We should be frank with ourselves. The governments of the world have known about the importance of this issue for 30 years and have made various attempts, of varying success, to grapple with it. But they are unlikely to do enough on their own. That said, the movements that one would have expected to grow in response have been very slow to come together. There has been some movement over the last five years, largely through groups such as 350.org, but really, the movement to stop the rush to climate catastrophe is about twenty years behind


39 BELOW IMAGE:

Canberra bushfires in 2003, during which four people died and 470 homes were destroyed.

where it should be. Why are there not masses on the streets – not just marching, but occupying buildings and government offices en masse? Why is half the population still voting in favour of continuing to destroy the very biosphere that keeps them alive? Why are you, personally, not taking this matter fully in hand? Obviously, the answers are complex. An AEU ACT Climate Committee? What can we do in the face of that? First, we can come to grips with the enormity of what we face. This is not meant to induce depression, though it may, at times, and with reason. But it is important to face reality as best it can be known. The responses we hear about at the moment are not sufficient. Mucking about with long-life electric bulbs, a few solar panels, a bit of recycling… these are the responses of thirty years ago, when perhaps we had the luxury of tinkering at the micro-level. We no longer do. The big gap in the social move-

ments that have developed has been the lack of union involvement. Faced with neoliberal legal regimes, unions have been driven back into concern with pay and conditions, to the point where members think this is what unions are about. Unions used to shape this country. We must step up again. What could we as AEU members do? I suppose there are two areas. • As members of society and unionists, we might decide to: • Set up an educational process, via our own branch leadership and UnionsACT, to encourage other ACT unions to become involved • Find ways for other members to materially engage with the issue, whether through personal divestment or other means • Engage with pushing the issue through electoral means. • As teachers, we can bring together or develop materials for other teachers on topics such as:

• ‘The Anthropocene’ and its implications • Planetary boundaries and their implications • Using school gardens as sites to educate students about the carbon cycle, perhaps in partnership with the CSIRO (what methods lead to least carbon loss/greatest sequestration, and how do we measure it?) These are only suggestions. I don’t want to be prescriptive. The membership of this committee will decide what to do. The difficulty is the gap between what needs to be done, and our customary view of what it’s appropriate for us to do as people who don’t identify as ‘activists’. The time is past now when that distinction has any meaning.

Would you like to become a founding member of the AEU ACT Climate Committee? Email aeuact@aeuact.org.au to express your interest. AEU ACT BRANCH


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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

JOURNEY INSURANCE

Minh Lam - from the State School Teachers' Union of WA (SSTUWA)

O

n the eve of starting a new school year, Nazli Gwynn was deep in

thought and full of hopes as she headed into Byford Secondary College.

Driving along Anketell Road in Perth’s south, Nazli had no idea that she would soon be dealing with issues more challenging than seating arrangements and the student make-up of her classes. Looking ahead, Nazli could make out a vehicle that resembled a tractor, but it was in the wrong lane. She wasn’t alarmed as she thought the vehicle would soon move back into the correct lane. To her surprise, the tractor started to swerve erratically and remained on the wrong side of the road.

RIGHT IMAGE:

Nazli Gwynn's Toyota Yaris at the scene of the accident.

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“I wondered if the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel and began to question my safety,” the Year 7-10 English, Health, and Creative Writing teacher recalled. “I chose to drive off the road in an attempt to miss this mound

of steel. I drove as far left as I could and simply watched this thing drive into the side of my Toyota Yaris.” The mound of steel Nazli collided with was not a tractor. It was a semi-trailer carrying a road-flattening machine, which had disengaged from its truck, and its safety braking system had failed. “On impact, my car rolled,” Nazli said. “I counted three rolls and kept talking myself through each roll. I surf and have been taught to relax if you're ever in a similar rolling situation. “So, I relaxed and kept checking in with myself, acknowledging the fact that my brain was still active and I was, in my mind, OK. “The car then stopped rolling. I tried to open my driver's side door, believing that the car may


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blow up.

legs and maintain fitness.

ance.

“The door wouldn't open, so I climbed out of the driver's window and crawled as far from the car as I could to feel safe.”

“I now wear a very small ankle brace for when I am walking anywhere or standing for an extended period,” Nazli said.

Witnesses, including a work colleague who was travelling minutes behind Nazli, came to her aid, and she was taken to Fiona Stanley Hospital and later to Royal Perth Hospital.

“I see my physiotherapist twice a week and have started pool rehab. As an ocean swimmer, being back in the water is magic. I can't swim much more than 400 metres, but that's better than a few weeks ago."

Journey Cover is provided to all financial members of the union. If a member has an accident while travelling to and from work that results in an inability to work, they may be entitled to a benefit for any lost income.

Nazli had sustained upper, middle and lumbar spinal fractures, a fractured pelvis and cuts to her left knee and ankle in the accident. She was confined to a wheelchair for several months while her neck, spine and ankle healed, and wore a neck brace to avoid overextending her neck and thoracic spine. During this time, Nazli spent two hours a day in the rehabilitation gym to build strength in her arms and

“I also meet with a stress therapist to work through my trauma; these feelings come in waves, but I'm certain that in time, I will be alright.” Nazli has been unable to work since her accident, and recovery is her priority. But she has not had to worry about the financial cost of her ordeal due to being eligible for the AEU's Journey Cover Insur-

Nazli has been able to pay her bills and out-of-pocket medical expenses, as well as maintain her mortgage payments. “I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would be this well supported,” she said. “I am a new teacher and had never considered how valuable this sort of cover is, especially because I had very little holiday leave accrued. My holiday leave ran out after 10 days. “(Before) I wasn't 100 per cent aware of how my union supported its members outside the

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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

BELOW IMAGE:

Nazli Gwynn in hospital after the accident.

to help and communicate with the insurer." “You never think that this sort of event would happen to you – you hope that it never will, but for me, it did.”

workplace.” Nazli’s grateful that her claim has been smoothly handled throughout the process. “Thanks to the SSTUWA and (union organiser) Dorothy Roe and the Member Assist team,” she said. “Whenever I have been unsure about something, they're free

Doctors are unable to fully determine the long term physical damage to Nazli’s body for another 12 months. This uncertainty has not affected Nazli, who has an assuredness and enthusiasm about her long-term recovery that bodes well for the future. “Personally, I am determined to recover as well as I can,” she said. “I used to take my Year 7 students running for a break, for example. Now, there will be limitations to what my spine can cope with for a while, but with regular exercise and appropriate

rehab, I can't envisage too many hitches." “I am a positive person with a firm sense of optimism and I have an incredible support network of work colleagues, friends and family, so I can't go wrong.” Nazli returned to work in Term 3, starting part-time and gradually transitioning to full-time by the end of the term. She also has another ambitious goal in mind. “Before the accident I had plans to swim the Rottnest Channel Swim, the Busselton Jetty Swim and the Rapid Ascent Adventure Race in Dunsborough,” Nazli said. “Instead I watched and cheered from my hospital bed. I have a long-term goal of swimming to Rottnest solo in 2019 for the third time. Let’s bring that on!” For more information about Journey Cover insurance for AEU members visit: http://www.aeuact.org.au/aeu_member_benefits

We're on this journey together.

Glenn Fowler AEU ACT Secretary

Nazli's story is unfortunately all too familiar to the AEU - members have faced as long as 12 months off work. The long-term consequences, both financially and professionally, are already serious - but would have been immense without the protection of Journey Cover. It is sometimes forgotten that these protections to and from work were ripped away from all workers by the wave of anti-union laws brought in

AEU ACT BRANCH

by John Howard. Workers like Nazli would have been left to struggle alone with no help. Instead, far-sighted leaders of our union reacted to this savage attack on workers' rights by deciding to establish an AEU Journey Cover policy for every member. Many members whose lives would have otherwise been completely ruined have instead been able to rebuild their work-

ing and personal lives. This is the key to union membership and our union - we act collectively to look after everyone's rights. You are never alone. Journey Cover is proof that when you help out one member, you help out all members. Its existence is a credit to those who established this protection and benefit for future members.


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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

Your questions answered Our best advice for your concerns. This term, we’re answering your questions about the transfer round. For more detail, call our AEU ACT Office on 6272 7900.

Q A

What is the Transfer Round?

The annual classroom teacher transfer process, often called the “transfer round”, is designed to provide opportunities to ensure that all schools are appropriately staffed and that teachers can gain experience in a range of settings. Teachers are placed in a position for up to 5 years, with all placements ending on the 26th of January. Permanently-engaged teachers may be identified for transfer at the end of their placement either at their own election or as the result of a review with their principal during the Annual Professional Discussion process. While a teacher or school leader can apply for transfer at any point during their placement, most transfers occur during the annual transfer process.

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Q A

I’ve been told that placements can be for one term or even less. Is this true?

A teacher or school leader’s first placement in a school or central office position is generally required to be for 5 years. This means that if, for example, a teacher is transferring from one school (original school) to another (receiving school), they should expect the length of placement to be for 5 years in the receiving school. Exceptions to this may be where the teacher or school leader has requested a shorter placement, or where the position the teacher is placed in will not exist beyond the 5-year period. As all placements end on 26 January, it should not usually be the case that transfers are for less than one year. It is the AEU’s position that the only circumstance in which a transfer should be for less than a full year is where that

transfer has been initiated midyear and not through the annual transfer process.

Q A

What if I’ve been identified for transfer, but don’t find a position at another school?

The first thing to remember is that you remain a permanent employee at the same classification as you were prior to the round. It will be up to the employer to determine what steps to take next. They may elect to offer you a choice of alternative placements that are suitable to your skills, qualifications, experience and classification, or to have you remain in your previous position. Whatever the case, you should continue to receive work appropriate to your classification and within your expertise and capabilities. It is never acceptable for an educator to be given work that is outside their area of expertise, odd jobs


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or busywork as this is unproductive, insulting to the their professionalism and potentially de-skilling.

Q

I applied for transfer but didn’t get a placement. Now I’m being told it’s my fault for not applying widely enough. Do I have to apply for positions that I don’t want?

A

In short, it is not your responsibility to apply for positions that you do not believe are suitable or consistent with your goals and career plans. While the EA provides that the onus is on the teacher to nominate a reasonable range of positions/schools, what is reasonable will depend on the circumstances. There is no good reason why a teacher who lives in Gungahlin should be required to apply for a job in Conder,

or why an experienced college mathematics teacher of 20 years standing should apply for a position teaching lower-secondary students. As the EA makes clear, “all teachers and school leaders have a responsibility to plan their career pathways and professional growth”, and teachers should take their own needs and goals into account in determining whether it is reasonable for them to apply for a position at transfer.

Q A

I’ve accepted a placement in a position/school that’s very different to where I am now. What support can I expect?

The receiving school is required to identify measures, including professional development, to assist in the transferring teacher’s transition to the new educational setting. It must not be the case that a

teacher is asked to transition to a new placement without support. If you do not believe you have received sufficient support for your transition, as a first step you should raise this with your direct supervisor.

Q

There’s a new teacher at my school who has transferred in and is clearly struggling with some of the changes. What should I do?

A

Be supportive, show solidarity and offer them assistance wherever it is welcome and appropriate. Think about how you would like a colleague to react if you were struggling to adjust to a new workplace, and act accordingly. As unionists and as professionals, we know that we’re stronger together.

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ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

WELCOME TO OUR NEW MEMBERS

Congratulations to everyone who joined or re-joined during Term 3. By joining our union, you’re helping us all win better pay and conditions, as well as ensuring our students have the learning conditions they deserve. CONGRATULATIONS AND WELCOME TO THE AEU! Tamara Player, Dion Oxley, Nicole McNaughton, Claire Granata, Joel Suryawanshi, Cayley Vranjican, Kimi Hall, Anne Birtwistle, Mike McGinness, Andy Miles, Maia Parker-Sloan, Rami Paul, Rebecca Lowe, Andrea Price, Kirrilly McKenzie, Kendra Hall, Jimmy Barker, Glenn Jones, Victoria Stowers, Ho Tin Lee, Sammy Wong, Maddie Clayden, Holly Pelengaris, Georgia Watson, Janine Waters, Karlee Carter, Dan Ewin, Amy Wynnyk, James Czarny, Ben Crossman, Becky Volz, Roz Thomson, Rebecca Sadler, Kaye Mees, Sebastian Gray, Greg Stenning, Lauren Gum, Alex Keech, Jacque Gibb, Natalie Behm, Brendon Jones, Michelle Mid-

dleton, Leisa Gough, Dan Bartlett, Randal Toonen, Zain Mohsin, Natalie Eaton, Chloe Muthukumaraswamy, Anna Wilson, Amelia Frantz, Nam Kim, Tony Kennedy, Jenny Puleston, Sharon Davis, Laurence Mandapat, Anne Johnson, Sebastian Halme, Haydn Dobson, Michael Hermes, Morgan Galbraith-Hamilton, Renee Hesketh, Christopher Hammerer, Andy Cruwys, Vincent Chiang, Tim Kane, Kai Scott, Rod Apps, Rachel Watts, Lyndall Nash, Ryan Elwell, Dorothy Peisley, Tanya Turner, Caitlin Mahoney, Zac Todd, Ali Whitfield, Gina Harrop, Natalie Torres, Leanne Pope, Janelle Ridgeway, Phil Carnall, Stephen Demamiel, Paul Jurak, Alison Chesson, Jacqui Watts, Raina Jose, Stephanie Borst, Carlee Cornwell, James Collingridge, Mitchell McLean

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OUR AEU ACT OFFICE TEAM

GLENN FOWLER Branch Secretary

Glenn.Fowler@aeuact.org.au

GERARD DWYER CIT Organiser

Gerard.Dwyer@aeuact.org.au

Sean van der Heide North Organiser

Sean.vanderHeide@aeuact.org.au

MONIQUE MORTON Member Services Officer

Monique.Morton@aeuact.org.au

VINCE MCDEVITT Lead Organiser

JACQUI AGIUS Senior Industrial Officer

Vince.McDevitt@aeuact.org.au

Jacqui.Aguis@aeuact.org.au

NAOMI BROOKS Communications Officer

PATRICK JUDGE Industrial Officer

Naomi.Brooks@aeuact.org.au

Patrick.Judge@aeuact.org.au

Malisa Lengyel South Organiser

DAWN NIXON Business Manager

Malisa.Lengyel@aeuact.org.au

Dawn.Nixon@aeuact.org.au

MEAGAN PEARCE Membership Coordinator

LUCY BARRETT Administration Assistant

Meagan.Pearce@aeuact.org.au

aeuact@aeuact.org.au

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AEU ACT BRANCH

ACT EDUCATOR MAGAZINE

ACT Educator Term 4 2017  
ACT Educator Term 4 2017  
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