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Get ConnectED

Get ConnectED

By catherine williams
I’m Catherine Williams, K-6 teacher from NSW with 30 years of classroom teaching experience and passionate about supporting teachers. The Get ConnectED podcast aims to reach others, to make connections, support, inspire, share stories & experiences & build a connected community. The Get ConnectED podcast can support you through mentoring, providing motivation & inspiration, through sharing our experiences, by making our wellbeing a priority, and being part of an uplifting community Teaching is challenging, even more, challenging on your own. Together we are stronger.
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Changes & The New Normal
It mas June 2020 and students in Australia were returning to the classrooms and online learning was being wound up I heard many breathe a sigh of relief. Ahhhh, now, at last, we can get back to normal. This really got me thinking and I wanted to share my thoughts & reflections about the anticipation of ‘going back to normal’ in the wake of a pandemic. Should we be going back, or should we go forward, to a ’new normal?’ But wait, there’s more. Protests over police brutality & the struggle to bring changes to racism, social injustices, Black Lives Matter and the work to be anti-racist was brought to the world’s attention. Here in Australia this also included another wake-up call for changes to be made to the recognition, injustices & treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Then in late June 2020, the 2nd wave of COVID 19 has struck parts of Australia, particularly the state of Victoria  & it is back into remote teaching & learning.
12:48
August 9, 2020
Staying connected while social distancing.
In light of recent events, with the worldwide pandemic, lockdowns & the world having to distance itself, staying connected has become an even higher priority than before. I had to do something to provide emotional support, positivity, hope and an avenue for others to stay connected. Educators have been asked to incorporate significant changes in such a short amount of time and of course, this is having an enormous impact. Don’t forget we are in the middle of a health crisis. People are losing loved ones and others are ill. Everyone is worried about the health of their family, friends & keeping themselves safe. There is also the economic impact. So my friends, how are you doing? Are you ok? The thing to remember most is... We will get through this. It is, what it is. Many things are out of our control. What is in our control is how we react and the decisions we make. And we are all reacting to the situation in our own ways.
11:44
April 13, 2020
Get ready for back to school
Welcome to the new school year for 2020 Mixed emotions surround going back to school, but I’d have to say excitement and nervousness would be the 2 top feelings After all the excitement & once you have your students in your room and the day is underway, all the feelings settle down and you find your rhythm.  I really hope you have the best start to your school year and it continues to be your best year yet. Make it a year where your students can’t wait to get into the classroom
08:03
January 27, 2020
Because of you
This episode will round off my first season. I can’t believe I did it. But I could not have achieved a season without you, my loyal listeners. Thank you for tuning in and taking this journey with me. I think it is only fitting for this episode to focus on gratitude. I would like to dedicate today’s thoughts to all educators, especially teachers, learning support staff and aides, in recognition of all your incredible work with students and to say thank you to each of you. Teaching involves a high level of accountability and responsibility, often being in stressful environments, a lot of energy, many after school hours and a long paper trail. However, to see students develop and grow as individuals and reach for their potential is the greatest reward. Thank you for your dedication to teaching and the impact you have on students. Your passion and commitment to providing the best learning environment and opportunities for each student to be their best and reach their potential is greatly appreciated. Thank you for the impact you have made on the hearts and lives of students and for being an important part of their lives. You are an inspiration to students, parents and colleagues. In 20 years, students won’t remember what you wore or the colour theme of the classroom, but they will remember how you made them feel.
11:22
December 22, 2019
Imposter Syndrome
In this bite-sized episode, I would like to share my thoughts on Imposter syndrome & some strategies to prevent it from taking hold. I recently wrote an article about Imposter Syndrome for Good Morning Miss Forster on social media which appeared in her professional teacher magazine, Forster Our Teachers. Until recently, I wasn’t familiar with the term Imposter Syndrome and how common it is amongst different professions. Imposter Syndrome is · A fear of failure, · Feelings of anxiety, · Perfectionism, · Self-doubt. You feel like you don’t really know what you are doing & you somehow just got lucky or fluked it & soon someone is going to catch on. When we compare ourselves to others and measure our idea of success against someone else, we are devaluing what we have accomplished. Don’t compare where you are in your journey to someone on a different journey. Focus on the things we are, instead of the things we are not. Being a teacher is also about evolving. Take a look back to where you began and how much you have learned and grown. Focus on your achievements & the things you have done. Remind yourself of all unique gifts & talents you bring to your teaching and how every day, you are changing lives. YOU BELONG
06:23
December 3, 2019
End of Year Encouragement
I would like to offer you encouragement for the last several weeks of the school year. Term 4 as we call it in Australia is the last quarter of the school year which finishes in mid-December. At the same time, for our friends in the northern hemisphere, it is the season of fall or autumn going into Winter. For you, it’s like term 2. Term 4 for Australians is equivalent to your last quarter or the last weeks between spring break & summer break, with your school year finishing somewhere around May-June. For Australians & other southern hemisphere colleagues, it is also the start of Summer, the Christmas festive season and end of year celebrations. Isn’t this time of year crazy with all the extra demands and the increased workload to have so much signed off & finalised for the end of the school year? Not only is there a tonne to accomplish at school, add in the hustle & bustle, rush, extra shopping, organising, socialising and tensions which come with this time of year. I attempted to create a general list of the possible tasks which need to be finalised for the end of the school year. Of course, you would have additional tasks specific to your own school. Some encouragement is needed to get through the demands, to stay strong & positive & enjoy the final weeks with your students. Here are 10 tips which may assist. 1. Be flexible 2. Don’t reinvent the wheel 3. Break it into bite-sized pieces 4. A problem shared is a problem halved 5. Begin early. 6. Stick to routines 7. Use Project-based learning, Genius Honour, Passion projects 8. Utilise extra assistance 9. It's ok to feel all the emotions 10. Self-care first This last school term or quarter has many opportunities to create happy memories with your students & celebrate all the growth & achievements. I wish you a happy remainder of the school year.
17:35
November 13, 2019
Taking care of your Mental Health and Well-Being
Recently in Australia, it was R U OK day. In words from the organisation, they aim ‘to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with the people around them and start a conversation with anyone who may be struggling with life. We can all make a difference in the lives of those who might be struggling by having regular, meaningful conversations about life 's ups and downs.’ In this episode, I would like to be a voice for mental health & well-being by sharing my own experiences. I encourage others who have their own mental health challenges to also seek assistance and to know there is support for you. While many listening may not have these challenges, your understanding & support for your friends and colleagues is so important. Check-in on others, especially if you notice any change in their behaviour like withdrawal or even acting out. By speaking openly, I’d like to help break the stigma about these issues and how I have been able to acknowledge my challenges, seek assistance, implement strategies & become healthier. I hope by being vulnerable and sharing it, others who have similar stories know they are not alone, to know it’s going to be OK, there are ways to manage your mental health & well-being and to be the happy, best version of yourself.
16:10
October 4, 2019
My story, 30 years of teaching.
In this episode I am going back to the beginning to share with you my teaching story. This narrative will be an abridged version, a reflection on my teaching journey. I’ve tried to stick to the highlights but it is 30 years after all. You’ll have to excuse my memory as I do my best to recall things accurately and in sequence. After a while, one year can seamlessly blend into another. I graduated from college after 3 years with a diploma in teaching, I was thrilled to be appointed my first teaching position in my home town at the primary school I had attended, and my parents long before that. In 1989 I began teaching with a temporary full -time position on fourth grade. A few years later I completed a graduate diploma to become 4 year trained. I can’t remember every moment or detail over so long, but there are lots of beautiful memories of 3 schools, 9 principals and over 1000 students. I am so blessed and grateful to have the privilege of being a teacher.
20:55
September 8, 2019
Build strong relationships between Family and School
This episode is about the importance of building a connection with parents and families, how we can address challenges & some examples of ways to involve them in their child’s schooling. Parents are the foremost teachers of their children. They are an important resource and should always feel welcome at your school and involved in it as much as possible. Think of your connections with parents as a partnership where you are working together to support their child’s development & learning. A child’s academic success in school is greatly enhanced with these strong partnerships. Please keep in mind as I share my experiences & ideas much of it may differ to your school situation. Factors such as the school demographics, its size, socioeconomic background, school policies & procedures and the culture of your families all play a part in the home to school connection. I wish to be inclusive of all adults who are responsible for a child, regardless if they are the child’s parent or not, but never the less the primary caregiver. For the sake of wording for this podcast I clustered family & all carers together under the heading parents. Part of Being a teacher is problem solving, including situations where parents are challenging. The podcast covers a sample of strategies for  these situations and various ways to communicate with parents. I am very grateful for the insightful contributions from Morgane Michael who reminds us of parent’s perspective Morgane can be found on social media @smallactbigimpact on Instagram & Facebook & @SAB121days on Twitter Effective communication is essential for building the school and family partnership. By working together, we strengthen the connection. Several examples are included Parents make a difference. Positive connections and partnerships between school and families, parents & teachers play an important role in children’s learning, development and wellbeing. Whichever methods you incorporate to build connections, the important goal is to keep communication between the parents and teacher open, to work together and support each other to provide the best environment and opportunities for children to be their best. Together we are better.
16:21
August 23, 2019
Connecting with Students-Building positive Relationships
   Thankfully the teacher’s role has evolved from the days of standing before a class who were all facing the front in precisely placed desks & rows.  The teacher & text books were the main provider of knowledge and each child was expected to absorb and practise their skills because practise made perfect.  It was mostly a one size fits all approach. You did your work, you did as you were told, you did well. One of the great changes to come from the evolution in education is the transformation of the teacher’s role. Teachers and students should no longer be seen top to bottom but now side by side. Developing positive relationships between a teacher and student is a fundamental aspect of quality teaching and student learning.  Students who feel a sense of belonging & being valued are more confident to take risks in their learning and feel comfortable in their surroundings. Research shows there are several influences related to effective learning and achievement and noted the importance of a positive and supportive classroom environment, combined with positive relationships between teachers and their students. Trust can be built by making decisions together as a class, asking for your students’ opinions & letting them have choice.  Time for class discussions & sharing allows your students to have a voice and feel they are valued. Each child in your class feels special when you quickly learn their name & correct pronunciation and show respect by referring to each of them by their name. Forming strong relationships comes from being a good listener. Really listen in by focusing on the child, asking questions about their interests & lives & take interest in their answer.  Children need to see that you care, that you are willing to put the time & effort and be there for them,  They need to feel you are someone they can trust and are not going to give up on them.  Mentions Jay Billy Elementary Principal & author of Lead with Culture (Dave Burgess Publishing) @JayBilly2 on twitter Laurie McIntosh: @mrsmacskinders and also @lauriemcintosh on Instagram & Twitter Tom Hierck: teacher, author, motivational speaker, administrator, district leader, department of education project leader Ceri @ourcreativeclassroom on Instagram Sarah @giftedandtalentedteacher on Instagram
14:35
August 12, 2019
Connecting With Other Teachers
   In this episode, I would like to explore how we can build CONNECTIONS and who we make them with. From our teaching perspective, we connect with a variety of different stakeholders.  Other educators,  students, parents & school community  and someone we may overlook… connecting with ourselves. I am going to break this into a 4-part series with this episode focusing on connecting with other educators and keep the discussion about students, parents & ourselves for the coming episodes. A connection is a relationship.   I feel one of the biggest transformations in my teaching was when I began to broaden my connections to include other educators beyond my immediate work environment.  From being in a connected community, all year we were adding to the list of new learning & opportunities being incorporated in our class, so many new things I had never done before. My teaching world had been opened up. Some of the greatest learning opportunities for our class were the connections we created with other classes and teachers here in Australia and in several countries. Real audiences & authentic sharing. Making connections with other teachers is about building relationships.  Find what works for you, Find ways to build your connections. Teaching is challenging Even more challenging on your own.  So, let’s be here for each other. Together we are stronger.
10:45
August 5, 2019
Mentoring & Coaching
In episode 2 of Get ConnectED the topic of Graduate induction, mentoring and coaching is raised. Mentoring in general is a relationship between a more experienced mentor and less experienced mentee –  It’s about learning from an expert and gaining knowledge from his or her experience & often occurs during transition to a new career stage or role.  Any induction or mentoring needs to connect graduate teachers with more experienced teachers & also with other graduate teachers. One size does not fit all, thus the induction process needs to be customised to suit the needs of the graduate teacher in each localised school context.  Mentoring does not have to be limited to one person or one mentor. In fact, the more collaboration & interactions with others the better. Really teaching is both an individual event and a team sport, though quite often it feels like you are on your own and that’s tough Mentoring and coaching -It's critical to the first few years of teaching, but let’s extend it.  The key to mentoring & coaching is about having support and getting connectED Teaching is challenging Even more challenging on your own.  So, let’s be here for each other. Together we are stronger.
13:15
July 29, 2019
Introduction
   Welcome to episode 1 an introduction. I’m Catherine Williams your host & I am from NSW Australia.  I have been teaching for 30 years, all grades from Kindergarten to 6th Grade,  teaching almost entirely full time,  I have 3 children and was a teacher mum. My husband & I & our corgi have recently moved back to our hometown after 23 years. With moving I have left classroom teaching, deciding not to return to school. I was more than ready for a change from the politics & constraints of the system. The goal of creating the get connected podcast is to reach others, to make connections, support, inspire, share stories & experiences & build a connected community.  I joined social media, particularly Twitter & Instagram & learnt from others what they were doing in the world of education.  I had renewed passion & purpose. It turned out to be one of my best years of teaching because I felt supported  to try new ideas,  incorporate better practises,  connect my class with other classes,  connect with other educators continue my learning,  to grow right along with my students.  Dr Jody Carrington, in her book ‘Kids These Days’ states ‘When we find things that bind us together, we are more likely to want to connect and stay connected.’  http://www.drjodycarrington.com/ I would love for other educators to feel they also have such a community My hope is that the Get connected podcast can support you through mentoring providing motivation & inspiration  through sharing our experiences by making our wellbeing a priority and being part of an uplifting community Teaching is challenging Even more challenging on your own.  So, let’s be here for each other. Together we are stronger.
06:30
July 12, 2019