Rural Learning Exchange collaboration eases teacher workload
Online mentoring lightens the workload for regional, rural and remote teachers and provides more opportunities for HSC students.
05 February 2024
An innovative program that provides early career and isolated teachers with regular mentoring and resource support is helping to ease teachers’ workload and improve wellbeing.
The Rural Learning Exchange program connects rural teachers with experienced subject specialist teachers who bring small Year 11 and 12 classes together for weekly live online lessons.
This allows students to collaborate across schools and teachers to co-teach with support from their mentor. The program also helps rural teachers adapt teaching resources to suit their local context.
Rural teachers have praised the program for providing them with more time and the support needed to do their job well.
Elizabeth Sinclair, an early career mathematics teacher at Merriwa Central School, said the program had significantly decreased her workload.
“The program gives small schools like ours the benefit of being part of a large faculty with a pool of quality resources,” she said.
“The lessons provide great worked examples and differentiated questions that support my teaching.”
“The assessments being provided saves me time that I can spend focusing on teaching.”
Jackson Wolfe, an early career mathematics teacher at Tooleybuc Central School, said the program had saved him a lot of time.
“Having each concept of each topic ready to go has taken a huge load off my shoulders in terms of preparation time,” he said.
The Rural Learning Exchange provides quality teaching resources to rural teachers who otherwise do not have access to a large subject faculty.
It is one of the ways the Department is delivering on the Rural and Remote Education Strategy by ensuring educators have access to relevant support and resources.
Subjects covered in the Rural Learning Exchange include English Standard, Mathematics Standard, Agriculture, Biology, Business Studies, Personal Development, Health and Physical Education, Modern History, Music and Visual Arts.
The program, which started as a pilot in 2020, has been expanded based on evaluations and positive feedback from participants. The voluntary program is open to regional, rural and remote schools with fewer than 300 secondary students.
Students benefit from the program by having the chance to interact with peers from different schools and form new friendships. They learn to use collaborative technologies that prepare them for future learning and work opportunities.
The program is being evaluated by an independent research team, who will assess its impact on student outcomes, teacher retention and satisfaction, and resource development.