I have been in your shoes. In a new outback remote community, geographically isolated, eager to connect with other remote teachers to find out what they are doing that works… and eager to make new friends. When I went remote though- there wasn’t a Facebook group, blog or podcast. Connecting with other remote teachers was hit-and-miss.
Building a support system is essential for remote teachers and educators, as it can help to combat feelings of isolation, provide a sense of community, provide you with other communities to explore, built-in-adventure buddies, and learn what is working in other remote communities.
Here are a few tips for building a support system as a remote teacher:
- Seek out professional organisations: Look for professional organizations for teachers, such as the Australian Education Union (AEU), the Independent Education Union (IEU), or The Remote Teacher Australia that offer support and resources for remote teachers.
- Connect with other remote teachers: Connect with other remote teachers in your area or in similar remote communities. This can be done through online forums like our online forum, social media groups like ours Teachers in Remote Communities (Past, Present, Future) and Australian Outback Beginning Teachers, or in-person meet-ups perhaps organised on groups/forums like the ones mentioned before.
- Join a mentorship program: Look for mentorship programs that pair experienced teachers with new or remote teachers. This can be a great way to get advice, support, and guidance. And it just so happens that we have one! The a self-directed New Remote Teacher Thrive Intensive or the supported Thrive Intensive with weekly lives and one-on-one support for 10+ participants.
- Attend professional development opportunities: Attend professional development opportunities, such as conferences or workshops, that are specifically designed for remote teachers. This can be a great way to connect with other educators and learn new strategies and techniques. We love Berry Street, Smarter Stronger, Team Teach, Kagan, CMS, PBL, Gatekeeper Suicide Prevention, What’s in the Box? trauma training, Talk4Writing, Seven Steps for Writing Success and LitBits @ Cable Beach. Our Remote Teacher course is also one we highly recommend.
- Utilize technology: Utilise technology to connect with other educators. This can include video conferencing, instant messaging, and online forums (like ours!).
- Reach out to other professionals: Reach out to other professionals in the community, such as school counselors, librarians, or administrators, to build a supportive network. In our remote communities this can also include the nurses, police, counsel workers, shop keepers, youth workers… and of course our Aboriginal Education Officers, Elders and wider community.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help: Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Whether it’s advice on lesson planning, help with a difficult student, or just someone to talk to, it’s important to know that you have a support system in place.
- Don’t forget your support network back home: Stay connected with your friends, colleagues, family and medical teams (psychologists, doctors etc) back home. This could be through phone calls, messages or by scheduling time to visit them on trips back.
Remember that building a support system takes time and effort, but it is well worth it in the long run. By connecting with other remote teachers and educators, you can gain new perspectives, share resources and strategies, and build a sense of community and belonging.
Loved this post? You might also like to read: 9 Quick Tips To Forming Relationships When You Arrive In Your Remote Teaching Role and Mental Health as Remote Teachers.
Eager to land on your feet as a new remote outback teacher? Sign up to our New Remote Teacher Self-Directed Course now.
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