Remote teaching has always been challenging… and rewarding.
Early outback teachers of the past went without internet, air conditioning, being charged by the minute for expensive phone calls. Less access to transport, roads yet to be sealed, less services.
Outback teachers pre-COVID still faced the challenges of homesickness, isolation, natural disasters, lack of access to services, missing milestone events at home for example. The challenges of remote teaching have been covered in our blog post here.
It is important to acknowledge the challenges you are facing.
Since COVID there have been unprecedented challenges for outback teachers.
- Border closures which impacted ability to recruit from interstate/international leading to teacher shortage
- Border closures which impact remote teachers ability to go home for holidays- homesickness, isolation, missed appointments and events
- Community closures which restrict remote teachers ability to move freely to and from community
- Limited access to relief teachers leading to outback teachers giving up more of their DOTT/RFF time to cover classes
- Head Office, Specialists and support services unable to travel freely to communities leading to unaddressed issues and backlog of support requests
- Vaccination mandates which impacted some teachers, teaching assistants and First Nations workers
- Teacher shortage increasing access to ‘dream schools’ close to home- teachers less interested in remote teaching
- Backlog of graduate teachers who were unable to do placements during COVID restrictions and lockdowns- limited access to new graduate teachers
- Lockdowns resulting in teachers delivering work packages, online learning and alternative teaching roles during these times. Interrupted learning has big impacts on students who need consistency.
- Transiency and movement of students during COVID who leave larger communities for fear of COVID- challenging to maintain contact with students
- Supply shortages effecting teacher supplies, repairs etc
- Increased costs of living- food, petrol, cost of electricity impacted
- Anxiety of teachers about health, the health of their families back home, the health risks to their students
- Illness of teachers, teaching assistants and staff impact the ability to support high needs students
We so hear, see and empathise with you. These are very challenging times to be a remote outback teacher. Thank you for the work you do- that can feel thankless sometimes.
If you are finding these times overwhelming and challenging we recommend:
- Reach out for support to your employee assistance program counselling service.
- Reach out for support from external counselling services such as A Counselled Life or Telehealth counselling services or a mentor such as Clare (an experienced remote teacher and Social Worker)
- Share your challenges with your colleagues- make plans to reduce the load for each other by sharing planning and resources, team teaching some lessons, taking a joint lesson such as sports for the afternoon.
- Speak with your administration team about the challenges you are facing and ask for support
For support make sure you join Teachers in Remote Communities (Past, Present, Future).
We have a range of blogs, podcasts, courses and mentorship available on this website that might help- just a little.
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