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Vol. 4 No. 1

In this edition

Grad News

April 2011

The newsletter for graduates

Ready to Teach: Graduates at BCE Induction Day Industrial, legal and professional support were key reasons for graduate teachers across Catholic Education’s Archdiocese of Brisbane to join as IEUA-QNT members at the Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) Induction Day on Thursday, 3 February 2011. Over 120 graduate teachers attended the BCE Induction Day held at the O’Shea Centre in Wilston, with over 90 graduates joining as new IEUA-QNT members.

BCE Graduate Induction Day

Labour Day/ May Day

Graduate member Sarah McGhee said it was a priority to become a member of our union in her first year of teaching. “I’ve heard some concerning stories due to growing up in a household of teachers and understand the importance of union support,” Sarah said. “As a graduate teacher, it was important for me to join our union for that peace of mind; knowing that if anything goes wrong I’ve got that safety net there.

ABOVE: Graduate members Daniel Ashton, Sarah McGhee and Michaela Sanderson discuss the benefits of their union membership with IEUA-QNT Organiser Gaye Vale (far left).

“We can’t control everything in our environments, only ourselves - so it is best to cover yourself,” she said.

Social Networking: Risks for Graduates

Graduates attend recent union trainings

Supply teaching workshop gets top reviews from graduates

Member Snapshot

Graduate members received an information pack containing advice to help them through their first year of teaching including fact sheets on duty of care and legal liability; a copy of our graduate publications; salary rate comparisons; and a graduate handbook. If you have a colleague or friend who would like to become an IEUA-QNT member or learn more about our union benefits, please contact our Membership Development Officer Rebecca Sisson on or Freecall 1800 177 938.

ABOVE: New graduate members ABOVE: IEUA-QNT members Samantha Galway, Julie Zuino and Kate Seaton discuss their teaching Janet Jones and Janette Gode reflect on their former education roles year ahead

Graduates welcome to unite and celebrate Labour Day and May Day Labour Day and May Day is a time to unite and celebrate the achievements workers and unions have accomplished to ensure better working conditions in Queensland and the Northern Territory. In Queensland, Labour Day falls on Monday, 2 May 2011 and IEUA-QNT members will be involved in many of the marches and celebrations across the state.

The theme of May Day this year is, “Strong Unions Need Strong Women.” May Day is a very important tradition in the Northern Territory which recognises the achievements of workers who continually strive for improvements in their wages and working conditions.

Graduate members are very welcome and you can find further details about Labour Day on the IEUA-QNT website at

Darwin based members are asked to meet at the IEUA-QNT office, 38 Woods Street at 3:30pm. The march starts at 4:00pm, with people marching up to the Esplanade for an evening of live entertainment and family fun.

IEUA-QNT members in the Northern Territory will also celebrate May Day on Monday, May 2 2011 and graduate members are invited to march alongside their colleagues.

To find out more information about the May Day celebrations in Darwin and Alice Springs please go

ws Grad News Grad News Grad News Grad News Grad News Grad News Grad News Grad News Grad News Grad News Grad News Grad News Grad News Grad Ne Graduate training reinforces importance of teachers’ social standing Duty of care requirements and email-related risks were key concerns for graduate teachers who attended graduate training sessions in Brisbane and on the Sunshine Coast recently. Brisbane-based graduate teachers Alex Vizcarra from St James College and Genevieve Gray from Cannon Hill Anglican College found the practical information provided by our experienced teachers and union officers helpful for their first year of teaching. “I found the duty of care information about negligence very useful for when I am assigned playground duty” Alex said. “It was great to get advice about how teachers should communicate with students over email,” Genevieve said. “Being mindful that email is a form of written communication I will always make sure now to

save any emails I have sent to the maximum privacy students for my own records.” settings available,” she said. Social networking and its effects on teachers was an Rachel Bonato from important concern raised by Siena Catholic College graduates at the session. on the Sunshine Coast said she felt relieved IEUA-QNT Industrial Services to know she could Officer Sherryl Saunders turn to her union for identified a clause from professional, industrial the Education (Queensland and legal support. College of Teachers) Act 2005 to demonstrate how “Our union helps in so ABOVE: Genevieve Gray, Alex Vizcarra, TUH’s Susan Jesburg and communication platforms many instances and IEUA-QNT Organiser Sherryl Saunders reflect on the Brisbane such as Facebook can portray with many issues, especially training session IEUA-QNT Organiser Tanya Moritz with Rachel Bonato, unsuitable teacher behaviour. providing legal support,” BELOW: Taryn Donnellon, Amanda Roberts and Melissa Simpson at the Rachel said. Sunshine Coast session Sherryl encouraged members to think about the messages Other areas covered in the they post on social networking sessions included teacher platforms and whether their registration and a presentation messages portray them as a from Teachers’ Union Health person of good social standing. at the Brisbane session in February. “In social media settings, always act as though many people For upcoming graduate teacher can see your comments and sessions, please view our photos and always understand online member calendar at how to protect yourself using


The “Relief Insight” workshop focused on areas of behavioural management, student concentration strategies, and effective education techniques for teachers to use across Preschool to Year 7 grades. IEUA-QNT member and graduate teacher Karlee Garrad first heard about Carmel’s supply teaching workshops after attending our union’s Strategies For Seeking Employment In The Non-Government Sector presentation last year. Karlee said Carmel’s workshop included engaging handouts, a take-home CD and a useful booklet with teaching tips.

“I believe in engaging all styles of learning, whether adult or student in my classroom,” Carmel said.

“I found Carmel’s teaching experience and practical tips so helpful, I wanted to attend her workshop again to see what more I could learn,” Karlee said.

“I aim to explore many areas of classroom engagement during my workshops with an emphasis on the practical skills teachers can use to engage their students.”

“Carmel’s workshop was so informative – I found it covered vital practical teaching techniques I did not learn during my teaching degree.”

Carmel has drawn on her teaching experience to compile a handbook for teachers titled “Relief Insight”.

“I wish Carmel had been a part of my teaching course,” Linda said. “Carmel’s focus on the practical connection to the classroom was a huge relief; her workshop touched on humanity and classroom reality.” With over 20 years experience as a full time and supply teacher in Catholic schools, Carmel runs a number of professional development workshop sessions for supply teachers and graduates who are looking for practical ways to teach primary school age groups.

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Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites are a part of modern communication. However, for education professionals the risks associated with their misuse are high. Andrew Knott, Partner from Macrossans Lawyers explains why graduate teachers should be careful about what they Twitter and who they befriend on Facebook.


with students outside and beyond discharging

the duties of the teacher or school officer

There has been a dramatic increase, throughout Australia more generally, in the last few years in the number of teachers being investigated for allegedly having “inappropriate” contact with students or recent ex-students. It is important to be aware that contact with ex-students may also bring contact with current students, for example by attending social events, or the homes of the ex-students (and of the current students). Such contact can and does result, regularly, in employer disciplinary action, professional deregistration and (in serious cases) criminal charges. Classic examples of inappropriate activity are meetings with students which are unrelated to the discharge of the teacher’s duties, text messaging, mobile phone calls (particularly large in number and late at night), counselling of students’ personal problems by teachers or school officers who do not report to an appropriate person and who do not themselves have any skills or responsibilities in relation to counselling or pastoral care.

Graduate and associate members seeking practical teaching techniques for the classroom were spoilt for choice after attending a supply teaching workshop run by IEUA-QNT member and supply teacher Carmel Kuhr recently.

IEUA-QNT member Linda Roberts has recently completed a Graduate Diploma in Teaching and found Carmel’s workshop offered the practical classroom connection that a university degree lacked.

Technology and contact with students: The risks involved with social networking

“When participants come along to one of my workshops, the ideas in the workbook come alive,” Carmel said. “My workshops do not tell graduates what to teach, but rather suggest how to teach by equipping them with the practical skills and techniques they need to path their own future. “I like to challenge participants at the end of my workshops to ‘play’ with the strategies that they have learnt and return for a second workshop to further expand their skills.” Carmel runs professional development workshops on a regular basis and she will be speaking at upcoming IEUA-QNT graduate information sessions. For information on Carmel’s next workshop or supply teaching in general, please go to to get in touch with Carmel or FREECALL 1800 177 938 for more information.

The general rule here is that teachers and school officers must be very aware of the adverse inferences which may be drawn, particularly where they engage in extensive and undisclosed behaviour of this sort, particularly in relation to vulnerable students. Accordingly, teachers and school officers need to be familiar with the instructions that bind them in relation to such dealings with students and to ensure that they comply with such instructions. They should seek advice in any difficult situations which arise, for example, a student claiming to having a personal problem (typically a threat to self harm). These matters should be reported (and that may indeed be required under a policy relating to risk of harm reports) so that the issue can be appropriately managed by the appropriate people in the school.

Material placed “on line” by teachers or school officers While the use of social networking sites and modern technologies is how young people live these days, teachers must be aware of the risks that are involved placing material about their private lives on line. In this context it is critical not to assume that anything is private. Experience has shown that anything put on line, however private the teacher thinks the site is, may result in publicity.

Some teachers and school officers place material on sites such as Facebook, which is very candid about activities in their private lives and they often do so on a site which includes material identifying them, identifying that they are a teacher, and possibly identifying the school at which they teach. Sometimes these sites are publicly accessible and sometimes, though technically of restricted access, they are in fact easily accessed by those with the appropriate skills. This is an extremely dangerous practice, as disclosure of “colourful” events in a teacher or school officer’s life may well lead to investigation by employers and/or professional registration authorities and subsequent action. Teachers in particular are perceived by the community to be in a special category and are, sadly, particularly vulnerable to criticisms based on non-workplace behaviour. The second aspect of this issue is that it is very risky to be engaged in interaction with students through such sites. It is almost inevitable that the contact will move from limited appropriate interaction to overfamiliar association outside the teaching role and outside the role of the school.

Recommendations • • • • • •

Do not communicate with students and recent ex-students unless expressly approved by your supervisors; Familiarise yourself with employer instructions in relation to such contacts; If in doubt, see your superior or discuss as a school staff; Take extreme care when using online material; Operate on the principle that nothing is private; Remember, as a professional school teacher, confidence in your integrity can very easily be undermined by inappropriate contact with students or colourful descriptions on line of your private life.

Andrew Knott has more than 30 years experience in employment and industrial relations matters. He focuses on contractual, industrial, professional conduct and equal opportunity issues. You can also read Andrew’s articles in The Independent Voice.

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“I decided early on that IEUA-QNT membership was important to have - especially for a graduate - to ensure I had back up and support in case I found myself in an awkward situation professionally or personally. “ extended to a fulltime teaching role. All graduate teachers should use contract work to build up their reputation if they cannot find a fulltime teaching position straight away. My most rewarding teaching experiences all come from those moments when a lightbulb goes off in a student’s head. It is great as a teacher to see these moments of realisation materialise while you are teaching.

Steven Crawley St Teresa’s Catholic College Sunshine Coast, QLD

teven Crawley completed Year 12 at Siena Catholic College before stepping forward into the world of university studies to find his calling in life. Little did Steven know, that fate already had his best interests in hand. This is Steven’s story.

In Year 12, my senior Modern History teacher Mr Baker called me the student most likely to become a Modern History teacher. Most students back then had comical titles like “most likely to become a dictator” or “most likely to go on Oprah”; but as a student who idolised Mr Baker, I took this title as another of his wise insights.

As a graduate, I am always concerned about my teaching style and hope that I am using the right teaching methods to get key points across to my classes. Most teaching is trial and error. With the National Curriculum coming in, there is a lot of change going on in schools. Some experienced teachers are also unsure about what is happening. There is more pressure on graduate teachers to understand these education issues, and I have leaned on my colleagues and mentor for direction to understand these. I also am interested to read the information and updates supplied by our union. I have found it is very important for new graduate teachers to become members of our union for a number of reasons. Firstly, support. Secondly, there are legal issues that may come up that as a teacher you will need advice on.

After school I had no idea where my life was going to pan out or where I was going to end up.

If I need help or advice, it is great to have your colleagues to talk to, but sometimes you need an outside opinion and it is great to have our union to go to for this.

I had engaged in a number of introductory courses at university, but I was still unsure about pursuing any of them as a career path.

I would tell all graduates who are thinking of joining our union that they are better to be safe rather than sorry.

Not having any particular goals in life, a family member convinced me to apply for a job teaching English in Japan. I never thought I would actually get the job, let alone be moving and living in Japan! But that’s where I ended up – and that was where I underwent a pivotal life changing experience through teaching. Now, as I embark on a new chapter in my life as a Modern History and English teacher at St Teresa’s on the Sunshine Coast, I cannot believe how fate has come around full circle. My senior school Modern History teacher Mr Baker is still my role model, although I have now added colleague and mentor to this list.

Join Your Union Today To join IEUA-QNT, download a membership form from our website or call our membership department on FREECALL 1800 177 938.

We both teach at St Teresa’s now - I take Year 11 Modern History and Mr Baker takes the Year 12 class. Teaching can be daunting at times, but I have Mr Baker to go to if ever I have a question or problem. It has been extremely helpful having a mentor. Mr Baker gives me plenty of ideas and lends years of experience for ways I can teach Modern History to my Year 11s. Lesson planning and teaching techniques are vital to a good teaching day if I’m not sure how to get a message across. As a graduate teacher, I have found the best thing I can do is network and establish connections with other teachers and professionals. I have learnt how helping other colleagues during stressful days is also a great way to network. My personal tip: Leave a jar of chocolates on your desk. The pathway to my fulltime position was not guaranteed. I was on a two month contract at St Teresa’s before my position was

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ISSN: 1835-9612 Grad News was prepared by Lauren Bremner, Belinda Hogan-Collis and Rebecca Sisson Editor: Mr Terry Burke, Branch Secretary IEUA-QNT PO BOX 418, FORTITUDE VALLEY QLD 4006 PHONE: 1800 177 937 FAX: (07) 3839 7021 Email: Website: ABN: 74 662 601 045