Take your temperature with wellbeing survey

Members are urged to participate in a departmental survey designed to better understand and promote teacher wellbeing, writes Branch President Jarvis Ryan

An emerging trend in the teaching profession is the emphasis on “wellbeing”. There is scepticism in some quarters about this term, with critics seeing it as a means of telling teachers that if they’re feeling stressed, maybe it’s just problem of mindset.

While some of these reservations are understandable, the AEU views it as a positive development that there is more discussion about the health of teachers and educators. It stems from increased recognition on the part of governments, employers and the public that the demands placed on teachers are greater than ever.

An important dimension of this is workload: numerous surveys conducted by AEU branches and other organisations show increases in both hours worked and the number and nature of tasks performed by teachers.

Combined with other elements such as the increased weight given to pastoral care of students, the physical and emotional toll on educators is often heavy.

To that end, the Department of Education has approached the AEU seeking our support for establishing a teacher wellbeing strategy. This follows the 2016 launch of the Principal Wellbeing Framework in collaboration with the NT Principals’ Association.

The AEU has agreed to participate in the development of this strategy, the first stage of which is a survey open to all school-based teachers employed by DoE. We encourage members to participate in this survey.

The NT Teachers’ Health and Wellbeing Survey was launched on Monday 18 March and will remain open until Friday 12 April, 2019.

The Department has engaged the Australian Catholic University’s Institute of Positive Psychology and Education (IPPE) to conduct the survey. Associate professor Phil Riley will lead the research.

To our knowledge, this is the first time an education system in Australia has sought direct feedback from teachers at a system-wide level.

We are satisfied, based on discussions with the Chief Executive, that this survey is completely confidential. If you agree to participate, no departmental staff, nor the union for that matter, will see your individual responses.

On completion of the survey teachers will receive a confidential individual wellbeing report allowing individuals to understand and respond to their wellbeing needs. The Department will also receive a system-level, de-identified report with recommendations to inform future actions.

As such, this survey provides teachers with the opportunity to engage with their individual wellbeing and inform the Department about their day to day work, in order to shape the development of the Education NT Teacher Wellbeing Strategy.

This is a unique opportunity for you to engage with your own wellbeing and to contribute your voice to a wellbeing strategy that supports current and future teachers in the NT.

The AEU sees value in this process because it will allow us to better understand the factors influencing teacher health, and on that basis work constructively with the Government and Department to improve conditions for members.

For more information about the survey, email [email protected].

* This article was published in the Term 1, 2019 edition of the Territory Educator magazine.