Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Signing in . . . Location, Location, Location

I'm sitting here on a day off to celebrate Labour Day, and got to thinking about a workshop on the topic of 'Active Duty' I am putting together for Toowoomba, Sydney and Perth in the coming months, following on from a wonderful presentation by Mika Browning at St Michael's Collegiate, Hobart during the recent Tasmanian State Conference. Mika entitled her talk "Location, Location, Location" and raised a number of key questions about how Boarding Supervisors go about their work.

There are many things about working in Boarding Schools which can be a bit scary, but the issue which is most challenging is ensuring staff are where they need to be. Do supervisors know where the boarders are and what they are up to? Do the boarders expect to see a staff member regularly, wherever they are? Do the supervisors work hard at developing positive relationships with the boarders in their care?

The challenge of new technologies, and especially the connectedness of young people, often means they find it challenging not to check their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat accounts all the time, and this leads to them being behind a computer screen or on their mobile device at times when they might better be served doing other things. This refers not only to our boarders, but our young staff as well. It becomes critical that supervisors remember what their role is - to be observing and supporting the boarders in their lives. Checking in on what their friends are doing while they are actually on duty can cause them to miss important observations or issues - we would rather see them be active listeners, story tellers, carers and above all great role models for the young people in our care.

So, next time you are on duty make sure you 'turn off' your outside connections, 'turn on' your active duty button and get out there with the boarders in your care - and help your fellow staff do the same thing. Our boarders and boarding houses will be all the better for it!

Until next time  . . . Signing Out

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