Safety, purpose and wellbeing in focus

IGS staff reflected on their practice and sharpened their First Aid skills at the recent IGS Deputy Principals' Staff Conference.

The conference, Teaching and Learning in the time of COVID-19, included remote and on campus sessions on CPR, along with opportunities to reflect on the challenges of thriving, living and teaching in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Presented by IGS Deputy Principals Mary Duma and Lisa Kelliher and inspired by the premise of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel Love in the time of Cholera, the conference explored the ways in which our philosophies have been challenged and may have shifted due to the pandemic.

‘COVID-19 has reminded us of our resilience, adaptability, flexibility and creativity’

“The Deputies’ Conference gave us the opportunity to reflect on the way that COVID-19 changed, and continues to change, our world,” said IGS Deputy Principal Lisa Kelliher.

“In addition to the considerable challenges it presents to our wellbeing, COVID-19 has reminded us of our resilience, our adaptability, our flexibility and our creativity.

“It is these qualities which we can now bring more consciously to our way of being at IGS. It has been an opportunity to strengthen our understanding of our purpose, and to clarify what is at the core of teaching and learning – regardless of the context in which we find ourselves.”

Deputy Principal Mary Duma said what pleased her most about the conference was the opportunity for staff to focus on their own health and wellbeing.

“During this historical moment, many are turning to teachers for support,” Mary said.

“The pandemic is challenging teachers to deal with a level of volatility that we have not experienced before and IGS teachers have proven themselves to be highly adaptable.

“The conference allowed us to build our individual and collective capacity, knowledge and skills and engage in a range of practical training programs in the area of health, including First aid, CPR, Anaphylaxis, Asthma and  Mental Health First Aid.

“By the end of the day, we emerged with training that will empower us in the classroom, in the playground and in our own lives.

Spreading the happiness advantage

“IGS staff were encouraged to spread the happiness advantage at work, at home and beyond by focusing on the positive aspects of daily life.

“Starting a gratitude journal, expressing appreciation, calling out triumphs no matter how small.

“These expressions of positivity can have a ripple effect throughout schools and communities, and also help you stay optimistic and hopeful through difficult times.”

Staff feedback 

“One key moment for me was when fear turned into a sense of opportunity and bravery/daring. I was a complete novice in the use of Canvas and Zoom but within a matter of a few days of learning from other colleagues and experimenting with the systems, I was able to explain things to other colleagues. I felt brave enough to actually try things out with my students and to include them in my learning journey. I was learning again and I loved it. It felt invigorating and exciting!” French and Spanish teacher and High School Head of Teacher Accreditation and Development Irina Braun

“I will never forget my first Zoom meeting with my class. It was at that moment when 25 little faces appeared on my screen in my study at home that it became very real for me. Having taught for over 30 years this was something I had never experienced. I felt a huge sense of emotion as I looked into my students’ eyes. I could see there was a little bit of excitement of the new reality but also a lot of uncertainty as they looked to me to guide them through this experience. I feel I will always remember this class in a special way – this was the class I walked with through the COVID-19 journey.” 5 Green Teacher and Primary School Head of Teacher Accreditation Michelle Weir

“I enjoyed the Deputies’ messages. They are very forward thinking and positive and invite us to take an open minded approach not just to teaching but to life in general.” Head of Music Performance Sarah Butler

Some Gratitude comments From Staff

“My sincere thanks for sharing your knowledge about the real meaning of Happiness in our lives as human beings in a world that requires changes. It was very motivational, enjoyable, instilling positivism in our lives.” 

“I am grateful by being staff at IGS sharing and learning lessons for life from excellent teachers. I am grateful for colleagues who welcome me with a sincere smile.”

“I am grateful to the IT Department for its support in being connected without stresses.”

“I am grateful for:
1. being able to learn about the benefits of a positive mindset to me and all around me.
2. a new day and term, to start afresh
3. being with friends who are on the same journey as me and for the support given to me by the people around me.”

“I am grateful:
That my colleagues, family and friends have remained well and healthy during this tumultuous time.
That I am in a profession that is centred around lifting up others and helping people to realise their potential.
That we have the technology to stay connected with people we care about.”