Never Underestimate the Flexibility of a Casual Relief Teacher

When I say our teachers are flexible, I’m sure there are an array of ideas that may flood through your head.

No, I don’t meant they can do the splits or attend regular yoga classes. Nor are they made of elastic that springs back in to place when stretched too far.

The word ‘flexible’ in the world of relief teaching is something we hear all too frequently.

Flexible. By definition; capable of bending easily without breaking.

When we ask schools what are the most important characteristics of a relief teacher, without fail, flexible comes in the top 5.

So, what does it actually mean to be flexible as a CRT?

I was thinking of an analogy I could use that most would understand and this is the best I could come up with. Maybe it’s due to the fact that my best friend is about to graduate med school but bear with me here.

Think of medical professional, a specialist doctor if you will.

A neurologist is trained to treat the brain

A podiatrist is trained to treat your feet

A paediatrician is trained to work with babies and a Urologist is trained to treat the bladder.

Now all the above may be generically listed as ‘doctors’ but can you imagine a foot doctor trying to find his way through the channels of the brain? I don’t think so!

In the context of teachers, to the everyday person we call them all ‘teachers’. But just like the doctors, all our amazing teachers are specialists in their own field.

Our most obvious way to categorise is Primary and Secondary but even within those two divisions, there is so much more.

We have teachers specialised in Early Childhood Development, VCE Biology, Robotics, French, Music, Visual Communications and the list goes on. Just like the doctors, every teacher has their area of expertise that they have mastered and feel at ease when teaching.

So, picture this.

A Secondary trained teacher who specialises in Music and English walks in to a Prep – 12 College. They are greeted by the Daily Organiser and handed their rundown sheet for the day.

The Daily Organiser turns to say ‘I think you were booked in for a year 10 music class but things have changed, you will now have a Year 5 class and they with a period of sport in the afternoon where they will be focusing on netball skills, I hope that’s okay’

Now this is the very moment that defines the flexibility of a CRT. Our Tradewind CRTs, they don’t think twice. They take a breath (a very deep one), they regroup their thoughts and reply with ‘Of course, no worries at all’.

I think we all under estimate how challenging it can be to constantly be flexible and adaptable to situations like this that arise and I personally can’t give enough thanks and praise to all those hard working CRTs who have this rare ability to take things in their stride.

Some of the best teachers are those who have completed a year of CRT prior to their first full time role. Why? Because not only are they teaching in their method and strengthen their skills, they are also highly likely to be exposed to every faculty in a school. They constantly walk in other people’s shoes and understand the different challenges full time teachers face.

Tradewind understands the nature of change in schools and we are so fortunate that our teachers uphold the Tradewind values when attending schools. Our client’s wishes are our demands and we also strive to ensure the right teacher is placed in their school.

So we would like to say a big Thank You, to all those amazing, flexible, bendy and stretchy teachers who continue to go above and beyond to represent Tradewind each time they set foot in a school.

Author: Emily Wallace
Education Team Leader at Tradewind Australia

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