Home' Teacher : June-July 2011 Contents 38 teacher jun e/july 2011
the school, say, or communicate and deal
with conflict can have a profound impact
on young people far into the future. If you
think back to your own student days, you
may recognise the influences, both positive
and negative, that your teachers had on
your personal development and on how you
approach your teaching today.
Of course, teachers a re people too and
can have the propensity to be bullies or
targets. Teachers need high levels of self-
re spect to consistently model assertiveness,
honest communication and empathy for
others. Teaching is a stressful profession
and teachers need to be resilient to cope.
Stressful times can challenge our sense of
self-worth making it harder to cope and to
model appropriate behaviour. This is where
it is a school’s responsibility to invest in their
teachers; to put wellbeing on the agenda and
set acceptable standards to work by. Then
All staff members have a responsibility to
have a positive impact on their school’s cul-
ture. If incompetent leadership is enabling
a bullying culture, then individual teachers
need to take a stand and put respect and
wellbeing on the school agenda.
What’s the outcome?
The ABS investment and commitment to
systemic and ongoing change throughout
the whole school community is setting
a best-practice standard and is creating
a culture of excellence in a professional,
proactive and committed way.
The ABS programs assist students to see
themselves as a person fi rst and fore most
and to take pride in who they are. We want
students to respect and like themselves and
to understand that happy and engaged peo-
ple learn better, build stronger com mu nities
and lead more en riched lives.
Reading this article, you may think,
‘ This is just another thing we have to do.’
We think it’s too important not to do. T
* Not his real name. The Josh case study
draws on details from different scenarios
compiled over six years of the program.
Debra Ferguson is an education consultant
and author, whose passion and commit-
ment is to inspire and motivate people to
effectively manage their increasing profes-
sional and personal demands. Her latest
book is What Teachers Need to Know
about Personal Wellbeing , published by
the Australian Council for Educational
Research. She knows firsthand the demands
of both schools and the teaching profession
and combines her experience and ongoing
research, by training and motivating mem-
bers of schools to create safe, engaged and
From 1974, Lucinda Sharp spent 10 years
as a dancer with The Australian Ballet and
then another 10 years involved in staging
professional dance. She then trained as a
psychologist to help young dancers achieve
their performing arts dreams. Employed
as the first full-time psychologist at The
Australian Ballet School, Melbourne,
she helps young dancers prepare for the
emotional rigours of the dance profession
and assists those whose lives ultimately take
different directions. Awarded a Churchill
Trust Fellowship in 2003, she travelled to
London , Birmingham, Paris, Toronto and
New York to look at ways of improving
psychologic al functioning among dancers
in vocational training environments. She
is an accomplished speaker and workshop
presenter and has worked with people from
all walks of life.
Contact Debra Ferguson on 0410 212 001,
email firstname.lastname@example.org .au or visit www.
Contact Lucinda Sharp at Sharp
Perspectives on 0435 842 303.
Australian Ballet School students. Photo by
John Tsiavis courtesy The Australian Ballet
For information on Evelyn Field, visit www.
Teachers need high
levels of self-respect
to consistently model
empathy for others.
Teaching is a stressful
profession and teachers
need to be resilient to cope.
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