Working remotely: FAQs for teachers
As events move rapidly, the union is doing all it can to inform and protect members. See our
FAQs addressing concerns members have raised with us.
Do I have to provide work for students when I have some at school and some working from home?
Teachers should expect to contend with only one mode of instruction, face to face or online. Staffing arrangements should be organised to facilitate this including collapsing classes and/or forming multi-year instructional groups in primary, especially in the face to face context.
Should I agree to supervise students on-site?
Government guidelines require that schools remain open and therefore some students will need to be supervised. Members are advised to raise any concerns they have with their employer and contact the union for further advice or support if required. If at school, staff will follow the legal requirements during COVID and normal school protocols with respect to being alone with students, building security, physical distancing etc.
What if I get sick or have carer’s responsibilities while I am working remotely?
As is normally the case, if you are sick or if your child or a member of your immediate family or household is sick, there is no requirement for you to work. You will be paid your normal personal/carer’s leave provided you follow the usual school notice and evidentiary requirements. The IEU recommends you confirm with your school what evidence requirements are appropriate as we assume employers would not wish to unnecessarily burden the medical system.
Should a substitute teacher be engaged to replace me if I am sick?
It is the expectation of the union that the usual process of engaging casual teaching staff will continue, however, it is not entirely clear how schools will be able to respond to this situation. This may depend on the availability of casual staff and how feasible it is for casual teachers to have access to the school’s Learning Management System (LMS). The expectation from the union is that no member should be required to accept any additional workload due to the staff absences. All relevant Industrial Instruments continue to apply with respect to class sizes and teaching hours.
What issues should I consider when selecting a remote working environment?
- WHS issues
- Privacy issues
- The specific needs of the curriculum you are delivering
- Protect yourself from reportable conduct allegations by maintaining appropriate and safe work practices
- Background Images etc
- Use of personal devices
- Wifi access
What should I be taking into account when considering conducting video lessons while working remotely?
The IEU is mindful that all schools will have their own social media and child safety
The IEU advises:
- Deliver your lesson through a school provided Learning Management System.
- Exercise extreme caution using a publicly available platforms which allows you to view students in their home environment or students to view you in your home.
- You should seek the explicit approval of your principal if using a publicly available video conferencing platform.
- Be aware some software programs available allow students to record your audio-visual presentations without you being aware it is happening.
- Do not allow any unauthorised access to the video conference room, including parents, unless authorised by the teacher prior to the class.
- Ensure that all invited guest adult speakers have a Working With Children Check (WWCC) before being admitted into an online room.
- Add a password to the room to ensure extra security when using Zoom.
- Enter the oline room before the start time, so students are not in the online room without a teacher who is the host or co-host for the prescribed lesson.
- Do not conduct a 1:1 lesson or wellbeing focussed meeting with a student. In the rare event that this may need to occur, it is best practice to ensure that there is a student nominated parent/carer present and another teacher.
- Be careful when using screen sharing; confidential information can be accidently shared if it is open on your personal device.
- Limit students’ ability to chat to one another during a lesson.
- If you are uncomfortable engaging in video conferencing with students, you should request that your employer allow you to deliver the curriculum in another manner.
Please contact your IEU Organiser if this request is refused.
- Government links: advice for schools in greater Sydney and outside of greater Sydney
- eSafety Commissioner – classroom resources
- Australian Curriculum – Online Safety
- So You Want to Temporarily Teach Online? Some practical advice for instructors in the short term
- How to Clean a Laptop Keyboard
- Safe Work Australia - COVID-19 Information for workplaces