One of the common questions over on Teachers in Remote Communities (Past, Present, Future) is ‘what should I be packing to take with me to my remote teaching placement?’.
One of our deadly members, Felicia, suggested that we compile some of the answers and add our own ideas to a reference post. A great idea! After Paigie’s latest post over on Teachers in Remote Locations (Past, Present, Future) we compiled some of the answers below:
- Medication: “A full compliment of medications”- Jane. This should include: Extra prescriptions and filled medications, AND extra standard medications (Panadol, Aspirin, children pain medication (even if you don’t have children- someone will thank you!), worming tablets, head lice treatment, ring worm cream, HyrdoLite, Gastro-Stop, Stingease, insect repellent etc). It’s also great to have a First Aid Kit in your house and vehicle.
- Technology: “A spare phone charging cord and a couple of surge protector adaptors for white goods. My small town in CQ has regular brown outs and I’ve lost a few white goods this way. Also a Telstra sim, if you haven’t already changed providers”- Rebecca. “HDMI cable”- Corey. “USB to HDMI cable”- Sharon. “WiFi dongle”- Chris. “spare USB ..several”- Fiona. Some staff also make sure they have a satellite phone (apparently there are cheap contracts of about $15 a month these days) while others make sure they have a UHF installed in their car. We’d also add that some teachers find taking a automatic timer switch useful to take as well so that when you go away for weekends you can set it to turn on your lamps or TV to make your house look more lived in and reduce risk of break ins. On a school note: you might also consider doing a donation drive for old cameras, old iPads, old laptops that might be useful in your classroom or to give out for homework/home learning etc. Imagine being able to give students a camera to take out bush on the weekend and use their images for books on the Monday!
- Treats: “Peppermint tea bags” – Mel. “Treat items like chocolates and lollies (we craved these and never ate many previously but they are so expensive)”- Brett. Any special teas or treats that are not standard will likely not be stocked in your local store. People with special dietary needs should also consider what dry staples they can pack- vegans, vegetarians, gluten free, lactose intolerant etc.
- Staples: “You would do well with a bread maker”- Brett. “Pack lots of tinned vegies and fruits, and tinned everything really! Powered milk and long life cheeses great to have stocked up too!” Brett. This is especially important advice for people who live in communities that could get locked in or cut off- ie. flood, cyclone, fire or other natural disasters.
- Transport: “A really reliable 4WD. Don’t take a car that has existing issues, especially not electrical ones.”- Morag. You might also consider doing a 4WD course (free for remote teachers in some states). Some people get UHF installed, have their emergency kits with snatch straps etc. At very least make sure you have a First Aid Kit, jump start cables, spare tyre kit, spare food, water and a old towel.
- Drinks: “Soda stream and if you are a coffee drinker a coffee machine and nice coffee beans”- Kitty. ” Take spare gas canisters as well. We can’t get them where I am as plane or barge won’t bring them”- Samantha.
- Water: “Water. We purchased a bench top water dispenser from office works then at the start of each term they would deliver 120L (for a family). They delivered 160km to my house. The water in your community may not be great and will be expensive if they have a local shop.”- Leanne. “Take a good quality water bottle too. Your staff room might have a water dispenser too.”- Leanne. “Water filter we use a ceramic one”- Fiona. “My zazen water filter was a life saver! Not only did it give me clean water (literally turned dirty water clear) but also gave me a backup when the bore broke or we used to much for the pump to cope with! Highly, highly recommend!!”- Adelaide. “Yeti water bottle, never leave the house without it”- Claire.
- Home Basics: “Buy lots of necessities……..most remote shops cost a fortune….forgot my broom & cost me $21 for a home brand broom lol”- Sophie. “Light bulbs and batteries”- Jennifer. “Incense and mosquito coils”- Michelle. “Battery operated fan and candles”- Kitty (in case of power outage). “Mattress protector/ topper”- Jill.
- Hobbies: “I love painting and not having solid supplies before I left was a killer! Make sure you have your hobby or things that keep you sane!!!”- Casey.
- Pets: “Tick treatment for the dogs”- Renae. You might not own a pet but chances are likely that you will come across one that might be in need of a little help. You might consider taking tick and worming tablets just in case. If you have a pet remember the distance to your ‘local’ vet. Snake bites, bait, pavo, attacks by other dogs, hit by a car etc can be relatively common risks- be prepared if you can.
- Clothes: “I do a lot of online shopping but…shoes you need to try on – buy shoes now”- Bron. “A really good hat. I was using Bunnings straw hats that kept falling apart – bought an Akubra second year and used it to death”- Morag. “A spare pair of double plugger thongs”- Renae. “Fly net for hat”- Fiona. “Gumboots”- Kristy. “Birkenstock’s- other sandals weren’t great with the prickles and dirt”- Jill. “Cotton underwear – nylon / elastane + heat = unbearable”- Justine.
- Other: “Also pack a sense of adventure, resilience and a massive sense of humour.Be open to new adventures.You’ll make lifelong friends.”- Sue.
You might also like to check out What to pack for your remote teaching role which looks at what you might need to take in your carry on, luggage and uplift.
Do you have additional suggestions for remote teachers just starting out? Feel free to post your suggestions below!