Working from home for extended periods is likely to be a significant change and challenge for many teachers and support staff. This may be especially the case for teachers who have only recently entered the profession.
The following tips are intended to provide you with some practical suggestions as to how to cope with the remote working environment and some industrial advice as to how you might best manage your workload during these demanding times.
The space and you
Try and ensure you have a designated workspace.
Take the time to set up your workspace safely (Australian Government ‘Working Safely’ guide ).
Establish a set routine for commencing and ending your working day e.g. some people suggest leaving the house for a short walk or coffee and ‘arrive’ at work at a set time.
Continue to present and dress yourself in a professional manner.
If you can, try standing or walking while talking throughout the day – consider buying a high quality Bluetooth headset and mic (keep the receipt for tax purposes).
Your industrial instrument still applies when you are working from home - you are entitled to take a break.
Follow your usual school timetable or set a timetable and stick to it.
Use an alarm to ensure you take regular breaks from your computer and the sitting position.
Avoid sitting in front of a yet another screen such as a television during a break – get outside if appropriate and stretch.
Teachers remain responsible for managing their own professional planning time (PPT/non-teaching time) in the remote working environment.
There is no requirement to provide evidence of work being done which adds to your current work load. As with working in the physical environment, if your supervising teacher maintains manageable and clear lines of communication you should avoid any unforeseen issues arising.
Stay off social media during work hours unless it is work related. Be conscious that many platforms identify you when you are online.
Not all PPT needs to consist of you writing programs. Watching online tutorials etc to upskill yourself is valid.
Ensure you maintain child safety protocols at all times. The union recommends you follow any employer instructions regarding documenting the start and finish of each working day. Typically this would be an email or text.
Keep a detailed diary of your home office expenses – this will be useful come tax time!
Remember, you set the boundaries for acceptable levels of communication from students and parents. If in doubt, refer to your school email/social media policy, or contact your union organiser.
It’s your profession – own it
Now, more than ever, it is time for teachers across Australia to be given the professional courtesy and respect they deserve to make decisions which best suit the educational needs of the students in their care. Support staff must be recognised for the extended and invaluable role they play in assisting the delivery of education to students.
If you believe you are not being properly consulted with respect to the amount or the nature of work you are being asked to undertake you should contact your union organiser 8202 8900.