Spotlight On: Wellbeing
A sense of belonging, safety and connectedness are key elements of a CCGS education. To support the school’s strategic focus on wellbeing and ensure programs cater for students at every stage, a Director of Wellbeing for Years 7 to 12 was recently appointed.
Mrs Jodi Clements brings over twenty years of teaching experience to the role, with expertise in special education, learning support and student wellbeing. We sat down with her to learn more about her experience and ask what she sees for the future of student wellbeing.
What made you want to become a teacher?
Having the privilege of building strong connections and empowering students to have an authentic voice is a huge motivator for me. When you see a child have that ‘aha!’ moment, it fills your heart!
You’re smiling face and happy, positive approach to teaching is well known and loved across the school. What is your most memorable teaching moment at CCGS?
I always find these questions difficult, as students make me laugh most days! However, one moment that stands out is a Year 10 outdoor expedition where a group of girls and I paddled for seven hours the wrong way in the Galston Gorge, only to end up on a small island, in the dark, eating noodles. The only way we got through was singing ABBA songs and the false hope that there would be burritos on the island. A teaching moment in resilience which the girls never forgot.
How has the idea of student wellbeing changed since you began your career?
Significantly! In my early days of teaching, ‘student welfare’ was a reactive approach to student behaviour and discipline. Thankfully, student wellbeing has evolved exponentially since then. Wellbeing is crucial to academic achievement and school communities play a significant role in supporting and developing student wellbeing. The challenge is to ensure any initiative is meaningful and sustainable. Student voice is the key.
At CCGS we are continually engaging in a variety of innovative wellbeing practices that are underpinned by our core values. A great example is our K to 12 House Family structure which is unique to our school and gives senior students the opportunity to broaden their connections in a safe and structured format, with a focus on leadership, student wellbeing and caring for others.
What is the key to connecting with older students?
I love talking and listening to our students and celebrating their diversity. A sense of humour, laughter and lightness go a long way towards building trust.
What is your first goal as the new Director for Wellbeing (7-12)?
My first project last term was a full week focused on R U OK? Day where the whole school community stayed engaged and connected while learning the skills necessary to have conversations that could change lives.
A short-term goal is to establish a senior school SRC (Student Representative Council) that has an authentic voice and can lead initiatives to create positive actions that will benefit the whole school community.
In the long-term we’d like to explore creating a wellbeing hub or chill out space where senior students can readily access staff and resources to assist them. The hub will be the venue for the delivery of structured programs which support the development of healthy, successful and productive individuals. It would include a sensory area for students who may need some time out from the hustle and bustle of the school day or just to regulate their emotions. Engaging allied health staff and specialists would also allow us to deliver a variety of supportive programs to students and their families.
Jodi’s top 3 tips to help children thrive during the teenage years
Raising teenagers is fun and frustrating, amazing and agonizing, exciting and exhausting – it has many highs and lows! Here are Jodi’s top tips to help families everywhere.
- Open communication is key. Maintain open lines of communication - listen more and speak less. Don’t be afraid to have difficult conversations but try not to be overly judgemental, and - where you can - set aside special one-on-one time.
- Let your teen experience the consequences of their actions. We all make mistakes, but when we continue to make the same mistakes, it becomes a habit. All parents want to protect their kids, but sometimes the best way to teach a life lesson is to let them experience the repercussions of their actions.
- Encourage self-care, be a positive role model and support their interests and passions. It’s important that our teens lead a balanced life. Teach them that sleep, nutrition, and exercise will improve their quality of life. If they don’t feel good mentally and physically, you’ll have a hard time motivating them to do anything productive! Help them to learn positive ways to cope with stress and anxiety and eat meals together regularly. Recognise good behaviour and habits, as they still crave your approval. Keep them busy being engaged with their interests and role model respectful relationships.