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Using technology to beat the Term One blues

Compass Team
Sit back, relax and start to enjoy returning to the classroom

Going back to work doesn't have to feel like this

By now you should hopefully be settling back into the classroom or school office. The first few weeks might have been a bit of a struggle, but you’re back on a roll with marking the roll, and grading  work at home no longer feels like such a chore. Should going back to work after the summer break really feel so difficult though? We don’t think so. Technology can provide some very quick fixes for your Term One woes, so we’ve highlighted just a few of them below.

Automation, automation, automation

It’s the word that seems to be on everybody’s lips at the moment, but ‘automation’ doesn’t need to mean ‘replacing jobs’ in the negative sense. In fact, in the education sector it can mean getting closer to doing the job you love. School teachers across Australia increasingly feel overwhelmed by administrative work, and we can point to many studies to back up this claim. Take this report by academics at the University of Sydney that 91% of teachers in New South Wales felt “administrative demands were a hindrance to their core job”: teaching. At Compass we live by the slogan ‘you didn’t get into teaching to do admin work’, so we’ve worked on ways to redress the balance.

We’re sure you can think of many little tasks that take place inside the classroom and out, all of which build up to become much bigger tasks. The good news is many of them can be significantly streamlined. Take one activity teachers found particularly time-consuming, according to the study produced by the University of Sydney: reporting to parents. With Compass we’ve made informing parents of incidents, academic performance or plain old school updates as simple as the click of a button, through a newsfeed, by push notification, email or SMS.

Think of it as working smarter, not harder.

By cutting down on the tedious tasks that eat into your personal life, there’s more than enough time to start focusing on doing what you love once again... teaching!

Managed workloads = more free time + happier teachers

Does an increase in job dissatisfaction lead to a rise in stress, or does increased stress lead to further job dissatisfaction? It’s a chicken and egg situation, but one with very serious consequences for educators. Another study, this time produced by Bond University, found that over half of Australian teachers suffer from anxiety and one-fifth from depression. The result? In 2017, the Hunter Institute of Mental Health suggested nearly half of new teachers quit within the first five years.

The picture begins to look bleak, doesn’t it?

At the risk of stating the obvious, a big part of this is about the better management of workloads, which is where our initial point comes into play. By cutting down on the tedious tasks that eat into your personal life, there’s more than enough time to start focusing on doing what you love once again (delivering an inspiring education) and prioritising your own wellbeing, inside and outside the classroom. But that’s only part of the picture.

An invaluable resource for any educator who is suffering from stress, anxiety or depression is Beyond Blue’s Be You initiative. Designed and built especially for those in the education sector, Be You offers in-depth online tools for combating job-related anxiety and depression. The Department of Education in your should state should also offer advice on handling feelings of stress and anxiety.

Student wellbeing often impacts the wellbeing of teachers, and concern that progress is not being made is a driver of stress.

Help others, feel good

We’ve spent most of this blog talking about how technology can benefit educators, but how it can aid students is another part of that picture. Indeed, they’re interconnected. Student wellbeing often impacts the wellbeing of teachers, and concern that progress is not being made is a driver of stress. This is particularly true for senior educators and school leaders. After all, teaching is often more of a vocation than it is a run-of-the-mill job.

We were particularly inspired by the way the River Nile School, North Melbourne, used our extensive wellbeing functionality to benefit their students, who are among the most vulnerable in their community. The effect was twofold, however: staff at the school no longer had to worry about audits for  funding, for example, because they were using Compass to record all the details they required to be compliant. Ensuring student wellbeing became easier, and compliance stress was significantly reduced.

It’s success stories like this that really put those seemingly insurmountable post-break blues in perspective.

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