Volunteer Bulletin October 2021

Come to Coffee with CST – classroom management, your teacher persona, the larger class + fine-tuning lesson strategies | Happiness, friendship and more in our lessons for adults | Time to renew your teacher status | Meet 2 new Development Managers |

Dear volunteer,

Children are finally back in school and although ethics teachers can’t be, we’re using Term 4 as an opportunity to get fighting fit for teaching in 2022. That’s why we’ve created some new online training sessions – plus we have a wonderful series of workshops from our Classroom Support Team looking at your common classroom concerns in more detail. And although we’re all probably spending less time at home now, we thought you’d still like to keep in touch and explore ethical concepts in some more lessons for adults. The details are below.

If you were listening to ABC radio on Wednesday morning, you might have heard our CEO Evan Hannah talking about what people get out of volunteering with us. Later that day we had a number of enquiries from people who had heard the interview – there’s clearly an appetite, now that the lockdown is over, for getting out into the world again and making a difference. You can listen to Evan here, 1h 50m into the program. And why not suggest to people in your network of family and friends to become an ethics teacher? We have some ideas for that below.

We are constantly in touch with the Department of Education and will keep you updated with any new developments about what 2022 could look like for us as and when we find out.

Why not refer a friend?

This is the time of year when we focus on getting new volunteers for the year ahead. Historically, 70% of our volunteers have been parents. Parents make great ethics teachers – but we also want to find more community volunteers so that families throughout NSW can have the choice of ethics at their child’s public school.

This year we’re doing things a bit differently – working with volunteer resource centres, targeting suburbs on SEEK Volunteering, speaking on the ABC, etc. We have big plans – we’d like ethics to be available at 640 schools by the end of 2022.

You can help … by referring a friend to become an ethics volunteer. A personal recommendation is always going to be the best approach. Why not post a recruitment meme on your own social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram) and mention it to people you know – ‘I think you’d make a great ethics teacher…’

Contact our Communications Manager Susan Ardill if you’d like to receive some images such as these for your social media.

Renewing and refreshing your teacher status for 2022

Be 2022-ready with these training courses inside your Volunteer Renewal program within EVIE…  Login to EVIE to complete these online sessions or tasks.

  • Sadly, reports of domestic violence have risen sharply during the lockdowns and it’s possible children may reflect this in some way in the classroom. So what should ethics teachers be aware of? How have reporting procedures changed and what are the key points that all child-facing volunteers and their supervisors need to know? Find out in this short Child Protection refresher training course.
  • Primary Ethics has been systematically reviewing and updating our policies and position statements. Our 2022 Policies course will direct you to what’s new and what’s changed.

We’ll enrol you soon in your Volunteer Renewal program. When you’re enrolled, this is what you’ll see the next time you log in to EVIE. Follow the onscreen prompts to update your personal information, access your assigned training courses and then sign the Volunteer Agreement ready for 2022.

Make sure you complete the Volunteer Renewal program by end of January 2022, so that we can include you on the Authorised Volunteer List for your school. You’ll get access to lesson materials when you’ve finished the program.

While the courses above are a required part of your teacher renewal process, we also have a course on offer which we highly recommend for all teachers:

  • Supporting students with additional learning and support needs.

You have already been enrolled in this and can do it whenever suits. The strategies for classroom management covered in your initial teacher training program were crafted for neuro-typical students. This additional course has been designed to address specific strategies for a wider range of student needs which you may already have encountered in your classes. We are often asked for advice on this subject – this course is the result.

Coffee with CST

While we’re not teaching in schools is a great time to turn our lens to some commonly encountered classroom concerns and be better equipped for next year. Coffee with Classroom Support is a series of four workshops that will bring together ethics teachers and members of our Classroom Support Team (CST) to discuss, in a relaxed setting, some common classroom issues. We’ll be collaboratively sharing information and tips and exploring practical and relevant solutions.

We expect these to be popular and if we get waitlists, we’ll look at further coffee sessions. Remember, if you have an ongoing issue that could be better explored one-to-one, contact the CST via the EVIE Help & Feedback button.

Find out more and register here:

Our ethics lessons for adults are back again

This month we have another four lesson topics, ranging from happiness to friendship to emotions and respect.

Register now:

Working with Children Checks – verification delays

Onboarding teachers are experiencing big delays in having their WCC verified by Service NSW. Apparently there is a huge WCCC backlog after lockdown and verification can take up to 12 weeks.

You should go and visit Service NSW as soon as you can to verify your ID. But don’t panic. You can go ahead with the onboarding and training process while waiting and currently the Office of Children’s Guardian is automatically extending expired WWCs for three months.

Contact the Helpdesk if you have any concerns.

Meet Dana and Feyza

Dana Sampath and Feyza Tuncay joined Primary Ethics as Development Managers during the particularly challenging time of the lockdown. Their role is to launch ethics programs in new schools where there’s been no previous program and to relaunch in schools where our programs have come to a halt due to lack of volunteers.

Dana: I’ve been volunteering as an ethics teacher and coordinator at my sons’ school, Arncliffe PS in Sydney’s south, for just over six years. My love of the program prompted me to apply for this role. I now get to live and breathe ethics education five days a week!

2021 has been a challenging year to get into schools and promote the program, but it’s given us a great opportunity to think bigger and start talking to the wider community. There are so many wonderful people out in the community who love what we do and want to volunteer for us.

I’m really looking forward to 2022 when we can get back into schools – it will be so lovely to be able to talk to parents and school staff about our program face to face. I also can’t wait to get back into the Primary Ethics office to meet the rest of the staff – it’s been strange only meeting my colleagues on Microsoft Teams.

And I can’t wait to get back into teaching ethics – I really miss my Year 2 class and their smiling faces (and cheekiness!)

Feyza: I joined Primary Ethics in July and look after three directorates, Metro South, Metro SW and Regional South.

One of the best parts of my job is having the chance to meet and interview amazing volunteers of diverse backgrounds, cultures and ages. It gives me great pleasure to support them in their application, induction, training and teaching journey. I also liaise with schools to introduce, plan and activate ethics programs.

Together with other development managers, I work on strategies to raise awareness and encourage community volunteering, as expanding our programs in new schools entirely relies on new volunteers and awareness of the families while they are choosing ethics for their children.

I’ve been teaching Stage 1 ethics at Undercliffe Public School in Sydney since September 2020 and also took on the ethics coordinator role this month.

I was born and raised in Turkey, married a handsome Australian-Turkish man in 2007 and am mother of a 12-year-old boy. I moved to Sydney with my family in August 2019 and almost a year later, found an extended family of like-minded people in Primary Ethics who made me feel purposeful and like I belong.

Previously, based in Istanbul, I worked in various roles in supply chain/logistics and global oil and commodities trading.

Looking forward

And finally, tomorrow, Friday 29 October, is World Teachers Day and while we certainly acknowledge the hard work and dedication of schoolteachers (especially during the recent learning-from-home months), we reckon all our volunteer ethics teachers need acknowledgment too. Congratulations to you all! Well done to everyone for getting through to this point in what’s been a turbulent year.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, our Helpdesk is here to help – please email or call (02) 8068 7752. Our Facebook Volunteers group is a good way to stay in touch.

Thank you so much for everything you bring to Primary Ethics.

The Primary Ethics team