Volunteer Bulletin September 2021

Time to renew your teacher status for 2022 | Meet Diana of the CST| Satisfaction and lesson presentation surveys | Come to morning tea |

Dear volunteer,

The staged return to school for children is in sight, now due to start two weeks into the new term.

We are just about certain that ethics classes won’t resume in schools until Term 1 of 2022. However, we are starting to prepare for this already, with the end-of-year teaching renewals process soon to kick off in EVIE, skills tune-ups coming in November, plus some special workshops on how to deal with some of the perennial issues ethics teachers face.

We intend to get off to a flying start in 2022!

Time to renew your teacher status for 2022

Early in term 4, your ethics coordinator will ask you if you intend to continue as an ethics teacher next year.

If you are continuing, EVIE will enrol you in the Volunteer Renewal program later in term 4.

All our continuing volunteers need to complete our compliance program at the end of each year – you’ll be familiar, for example, with our Annual Child Protection Training. Primary Ethics is an approved provider for the Department of Education – our compliance program is part of our CEO’s annual assurance to the Department that all our volunteers meet their requirements for working in schools.

This year for the first time, the compliance program has been automated inside EVIE, which will make it easy for you to know if you’ve completed all the mandatory requirements ready for 2022.

Once you’re enrolled in the renewal program, you’ll see the onboarding portal when you log on to EVIE. you’ll have plenty of time to complete it. It has to be done before you can be included on next year’s Authorised Volunteer List – the deadline for that is the start of term 1 next year. You’ll only get access to lesson materials once you’ve completed the training.

If you advise us that you are stopping as a teacher at the end of 2021, your record will be marked inactive early next year.

Skills Tune-up – for teachers who trained this year

Four months is a long time to remember any new skills without an opportunity to apply them. By the time we get back into schools next February, new teachers who trained in Term 2 or 3 2021 will have been waiting over six months to get in front of a class. (Although some may have had a chance to teach a few classes before the lockdowns, it won’t have been sufficient to embed those skills.) No need to panic. Our job is to support you in getting to where you need to be before you face a classroom of students. So we’ve developed a Skills Tune-up workshop. This isn’t another assessment – you’ve already passed the training. This is designed as a reminder and refresher of your ethics teaching skills.

We’ll let you know more about this later in October.

Q+A with Evan for Coordinators

Join us on Tuesday 12 October for a discussion between our CEO Evan Hannah and Ethics Coordinators from across the state about what needs to be done in preparing for this unusual return to school in 2022.

We’ll be discussing that first-ever renewals process in EVIE, whether and how to prepare to teach in masks, talking to your teachers about the vaccination requirement, our plans to find more volunteers by working with volunteer resource centres and local councils and importantly, a new recruitment toolkit for coordinators. And more!

There’ll be time for you to ask questions during the session but we also welcome questions in advance.

Have you done the surveys?

Our annual volunteer satisfaction survey is still open. Whether you joined us this year for the first time or are an experienced volunteer, we want to understand your experiences, your needs and how we can best support you. The survey will help us sharpen and improve and also see where we’re on the right track. We estimate it to take only 5-7 minutes of your time.

Last call for the survey on lesson presentation. This survey covers topics such as print size, colours, clarity of our instructions, whether you usually read the background information before your lesson and so on.

Meet Diana of the Classroom Support Team

Diana Dagg has started with Primary Ethics in the brand new role of Classroom Support Officer. Diana is a very welcome addition to Coral Sturgess’ Classroom Support Team, which strives for better outcomes for students through supporting ethics teachers.

Diana says: “A highlight of my job is that I get to talk to such interesting, passionate ethics volunteers when I conduct a ‘check-in’ service with new teachers. I talk with them about how they’re settling into the role, answer any questions and provide support and advice. Sometimes I assess that additional follow-up is needed from our talented Classroom Support Team.”

Diana also monitors the weekly post-class reports submitted by teachers to EVIE. “We really appreciate these reports as a gauge of how teachers are faring. They give us a lot of useful feedback, so please keep them coming”.

If a teacher has submitted a number of reports that their lesson went poorly or not very well, Diana refers them to a skilled, experienced CST member, who arranges to connect for a phone conversation, possibly sharing a coffee, even sitting in on a class where possible. Issues teachers grapple with can include classroom management, school liaison, establishing teacher authority, strategies for getting class feedback and strategies for students with additional needs.

Diana teaches Stage 3 ethics at Arncliffe Public School in southern Sydney. She has a post-graduate Diploma in Social Sciences (Psychology and Sociology) and was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to travel internationally to research approaches to the evaluation of projects to support families in disadvantaged communities.

Diana worked for many years in the state public service, most recently with the Aboriginal Education Directorate in the NSW Department of Education.  A highlight was working with 15 Connected Communities schools, parents, students and their communities in rural and remote NSW to strengthen educational outcomes for Aboriginal students and for all students.

Last word to Diana: “We’re looking forward to getting back into schools, working closely with ethics teachers again, to provide advice and problem-solve, helping them address challenges and to be the best they can be”.

BITES

We’re excited to let you know that a brand new series of our Bite-sized ethical dilemmas will be available from next week. The first two for the term will be available on Thursday on our web page: https://primaryethics.com.au/education/

Can we be sure? is an audio Bite for students in Kindergarten to Year 2 – we focus on asking students to make their best guesses, by thinking carefully when they don’t have all the information they need to be sure.

For students in Years 3 to 6, we have a video Accident or on purpose – does it matter? which encourages students to think about how we can work out what other people’s intentions are and to recognise that it’s easy to get it wrong.

Each lesson is also available as a PDF and there are Intro Notes for Parents and Carers to provide background and explain our approach.

High school pilot

Our High School Ethics Pilot is coming to an end, after two terms of ethics lessons at Fort Street High School and a term each of classes at Katoomba High School and James Ruse Agricultural High School. It’s unfortunately unlikely that our volunteers will be back in schools this year.

We are very grateful to our wonderful team of volunteer teachers, coordinators and Classroom Support who did an amazing job delivering the first ethics lessons to groups of Y7 students at these schools. The volunteers also provided valuable and extensive feedback. Rebecca Iliffe is now evaluating the pilot and we look forward to receiving her report.

At this stage, we’re hoping to be able to start implementing ethics programs at a small number of high schools in term 1 of 2022. We’ll be contacting all those volunteers who have previously expressed interest in being involved in ethics in high schools. If you are a new volunteer or your circumstances have changed, we’d love to hear from you. We are keen to know if you are interested in and available to teach or coordinate ethics at a high school in your area.

Please send an email to Fiona Branscombe >>

Join us for morning tea tomorrow

Friday 1 October is the International Day of Older Persons – it’s also going to be the occasion for Australia’s first national Ageism Awareness morning tea. Primary Ethics is proud to have volunteers aged from 18-85. We have many wonderful volunteers of over-retirement age. We’ll be honouring their contribution to ethics teaching in this morning tea catch-up.
There’s a Maggie Beer recipe with the invitation!

Looking forward

Those of you who have been supervising home learning have been doing it tough but the end is in sight. For mental refreshment, we’ree’re planning some more adult ethics classes to start in a few weeks time so stay tuned. Our Facebook Volunteers group is a good way to stay in touch too.

Well done everyone for getting through to this point.As always, if you have any questions or concerns, our Helpdesk is here to help – please email or call (02) 8068 7752.

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

The Primary Ethics team