Relationships are key to your success as a remote outback teacher. Relationships will help with attendance, behaviour, engagement, retention of learning as well as your personal enjoyment.
In remote outback communities the work you do in the first week, and then ongoing (with transient students and fluctuating attendance) is very important to getting to know your students, build a positive classroom culture and build the sense of team.
Being trauma aware- the traditional draw/talk and games about your holidays may not be appropriate. Your students could have lived through a lot that they might not want to share, be shamed to share, or be triggered thinking about including floods/fire/cyclone, domestic abuse, poverty (so didn’t do much or anything). They might also have FASD/memory issues that limit their ability to recall. One student may have done some really amazing things- creating a divide in class of ‘have and have nots’.
- Two Truths and a Lie: students share three statements about themselves, and the class has to guess which one is not true.
- All About Me: students fill out a worksheet or create a poster sharing information about themselves, such as their name, age, family, hobbies, and interests.
- Name Game: students introduce themselves and share something unique or interesting about their name. Or another thing about them starting with their letter- Carl is cool, Carl likes kangaroo, Carl cooks cake, Hakea is healthy, Hakea likes the heat etc.
- Icebreaker Questions: students take turns answering questions such as “What is your favorite book?”, “What is your favorite hobby?”, “What is your favorite food?”, etc. This activity can be made more fun by writing the questions on different sides of a ball or cube and students answer the one that faces them. Having culturally appropriate questions like “Favourite bush food?”, “Favourite place to swim?”, ‘What is your traditional/bush name?” etc.
- Show and Tell: students bring in an object from home that is special to them and share why it is important.
- Partner Interview: students interview a partner and share what they learned about them with the class. This will need to be explicitly taught and modelled to students. You might provide them with the questions or they might brainstorm before doing the interview. Remember- some students might not be allowed to interact culture-wise, or have issues so chatting with your Aboriginal Education Officer before the activity is always a good idea.
- Find Someone Who: students move around the room and find classmates who fit certain criteria (i.e. “Find someone who has a pet”, “Find someone who has been to another country”). We have a product for this on our TPT store that is PERFECT for remote outback classrooms: Find Someone Who.
- Class Mural: Students work together to create a mural or collage representing the diversity and uniqueness of the class, each student can contribute something about themselves.
- Human Knot: Students stand in a circle and hold hands with someone they don’t know, they then have to work together to untangle themselves without letting go of each other’s hands
It’s important to note that these activities should be adapted to the specific community and student population, and should be implemented in a way that is respectful and inclusive of all students.
Did you know we have a booklet with tried and tested getting to know you activities, brain breaks and calm down activities perfect for remote outback classrooms? Check it out here.
We cover all things ‘relationships’ in the first module of our New Remote Teacher course. Well worth the investment for new outback teachers.
Loved this post? You might also like to read: 9 Quick Tips To Forming Relationships When You Arrive In Your Remote Teaching Role, Relationships in Outback Schools
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