In this episode of The Learning Network's Community & Family Studies Podcast, I unpack the power of community!

I have connected with so many amazing educators over the last 18 and a half years, both while I taught CAFS & since I began supporting CAFS teachers. I've been around for a while and many of the teachers I have met, learnt from, supported or developed friendships with have made a bigger impact on me than they will ever realise! This episode is dedicated to them!

This episode will empower you and remind you about the importance of connection, the importance of us working together rather than in silo and the importance of us connecting, learning and growing together.

If you are listening to this live, the CAFS conference is coming up on the 14th and 15th October, 2022, and will be held in the most amazing magical place, Killcare on the Central Coast. I am so excited to be able to host this conference in person, connecting CAFS teachers from across NSW and enabling that sense of community and connection that has been missed over the last couple of years! This conference is designed to help you build confidence and really understand the content you’re teaching with strategic sessions and guest speakers! 

Check out the 2022 CAFS Conference

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The Learning Network

Since 2004 I have been teaching PDHPE and Community & Family Studies. I love learning. It lights me up. I am so passionate about supporting you to be the best educator you can be.

My Purpose
To grow a lively and connected community, where Community & Family Studies teachers can network, learn and share with each other.

My Mission
To build on the knowledge, understanding and skills of Community & Family Studies teachers to set their students up for success with confidence.



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Show Transcription


Episode Into - Kelly:

Hey everyone, welcome to podcast episode number 34. Other Learning Network. Today we're going to unpack the power of community. And look, I'm not sure about you but I have so many amazing educators that I've connected with over the last 18 and a half years, so I've taught CAFS for 16 of those and I have supported community family studies teachers, as well as PE teachers since starting the learning network in July 2020. So, look, I've been around for a while. And I've been around lots of teachers before and I have a whole group of teachers who I'd love to dedicate this episode to. But thank you so much for joining me on my journey, but also, thank you for those teachers in my first few years of teaching, you guys know who you are, who have shaped me to be the teacher I am today. Today's episode will empower you and remind you about the importance of connection, the importance of us working together, not in silo and the importance of us connecting learning and growing together. Today, if you are also listening to this live the CAFS conference is coming up on October 14 and 15th. And this is going to be held in the most amazing magical place. We're actually call home killcare of New South Wales on the central coast. So we moved here back in July, not July in December 2019 On my birthday, in fact, within the December and it's the most magical place. If you've followed me on social you know what it looks like? Party Beach is just magic crystal clear water, beautiful sand. We're also surrounded by the beauty national park as well as Brisbane Water, and it's your gateway to amazingness on the peninsula here on the central coast. So that is where we are on October 14 and 15th My two day conference but if you can only join us for the Friday or the Saturday, then that's all sweet. We'd love to see you face to face Finally, look I've saved some of you guys in my coaching and mentoring sessions as well as my YouTube masterclass sessions face to face but to be actually seeing you like face to face is gonna be awesome to be catalogue. So if you'd like to learn more about my CAFS conference, head over to learn forward slash conference. We have the most amazing guest experts as well as a keynote speaker. The Gabby Stroud, the Gabby Stroud, who has written teacher and did parents. So again, forward slash conference is where you want to be, but let's dive into today's episode. 

Podcast Intro - Kelly:

Hey, I'm Kelly Bell. Welcome to The Learning Network Podcast. I guide Community and Family Studies teachers, newbies and experienced, through best practice to improve knowledge, increase empowerment and alleviate stress, to help you and your students to make meaningful connections across the course. I will share strategic and purposeful applications from my 16 years experience in the classroom that I have adopted to increase student motivation, enjoyment, engagement and results. Together, we will grow and transform your CAFS crew to the next level without impacting your sleep and wellbeing process. To join my free how to improve writing and fast track results webinar, head to So tune in, get inspired and let's connect, learn and grow together. 

Episode - Kelly:


Hey, everyone, and welcome back to episode number 34 of the learning network podcast. In this podcast episode, we're going to be talking about the power of community. Now I know that our course is called Community and Family Studies, it's not necessarily about the course itself. But it's about the importance of connecting with teachers that are like minded, growing with them and learning together. And if you have followed me closely, you would know that that is the premise. And the core mission behind the learning network is to connect, learn and grow.

So first of all, I would love to share with you a quote that has been one of my favourites. And it is by Robert John Mann. And look it does. I think it's really filtered through all parts of my teaching, the importance of connection, the importance of building really good relationships with other colleagues and other teachers, but also the power of us working together. So you may have heard it before, but it goes like this. The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other without collaboration or growth is limited to our own perspectives. So I'll say it again, the most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. So us ourselves without collaboration, our growth is limited to our own perspectives.

So I'd really love for you to stop and pause and Have a think about whether you could have done your teaching journey by yourself? Could Have you actually gone through this process of becoming an educator going to uni starting teaching by yourself? And if you've said yes, well, good on you. You're if you're a soloist, but if you've said, No, you actually need or had to have other people with you that I'm guessing that many of us are in the same position. Because I can guarantee you that most of us have had some sort of influential people in our career or educational journey at some point. And look, I could sit here and rattle off maybe my top five and I will actually I might share them with you, actually.

So as you guys know, my story, I taught community Family Studies at an all girls Catholic school for 14 years in black town. And I had a PHP coordinator by the name of Karen Tillman, who absolutely trusted me from the beginning. So I started at the school as a board short wearing fresh faced 20 something year old. And I was there on a block. And I, I helped them with it was around the new curriculum actually, around the curriculum that got changed in 2003, and the new seven to 10 syllabus, and I kind of I don't know, you're just so gung ho, you're so keen, I absolutely loved what I was doing. And I helped Karen do some mapping of of our syllabus, no one else really kid at the time, and I helped Karen anyway, my I think my eagerness show that I was keen and ready and raring to get a full time position. So when a job came up at the end of the year, I actually went for it. So I, I went to the Australian Catholic University, and we had to do our targeted graduate scheme interviews. I'm not sure about you, but I was absolutely crapping myself when I did these interviews, but I did that at uni. And then I kind of thought nothing of it. Anyway, I then did this two week block at Nagle and I loved it. I loved working at the School of the staff and I got this phone call from Karen saying that there was a decision coming up would I like to apply for it? And I said, Yes, of course. I would love to apply for it. I was living at Baulkham hills at the time with mom and dad. They both dad rented a bog meals mom was in our family home still. Anyway, I then yes, a decurrent I love to go for this job went for it again. I was crapping myself. I think even I think I even wore one mum suits my interview with I think I wanted to wear like a pale blue shirt. So I didn't look too feminine. But I also had a film I had a skirt on. So it showed my femininity, because I was working at a girl school. I don't know, I don't know what I was thinking in my head. But I went for the job. I was really scared. It was with Karen and I think maybe maybe the system principal at the time. I can't remember anyway. Long story short, I got the job.

And then a couple of weeks later, when I was on my final prep, I got a phone call from the department and they said oh look, congratulations. You've been appointed at a school an all girls school in black town. I'm thinking Hang on. These are these guys actually confused me with their own person. Like I said, No, I'm already working. I've already got a job at an all girls school at black town. They said oh, what school I said on Nagel college, or wherever pointed you at Blacktown girls. Anyway, so I had to make the decision whether to work for the department or work at Nagel. So I turned the department job down. And anyway, Karen was my very first mentor. And she was my mentor for the best part of 14 years I worked at under her at Nagel for 14 years. And what I loved most about Karen and what I still love most about Karen is her her willingness to give people a go. But also that trust that she has in people that trust that absolute trust. And I think that's why I became so passionate about CAFS, and she let me run my own race. She let me she trusted in my ability. She trusted that I could do the hard the hard yards. And she trusted that I could actually take this year live in class through for the very first time when I first started teaching in 2004. So Karen was my first mentor, I suppose. All the way back then. And look, if it wasn't for Karen, I don't think I'd be the teacher I am today and she always gets embarrassed and I say that But Karen if you listen to my podcast, a huge thank you to you. Your mentorship your your support Your friendship means the world to me and I look I have very fond memories of our times at Nagel, from athletics Canada was in swimming carnivals to the ski trips, which were really hilarious to rocker Stanford and no funny lunch jokes, all those things in between netball games against the kids.

Anyway. I also have a very small group of colleagues that I'd also like to shout out but they This guy's also reminded me about the power of working together. So I worked with Duchenne Al Anon again and Dario Walker as partial coordinator. So I was partial coordinator in 2009. I think I ended up getting a block for a term I think does, Dario went on leave. So I took her youth group in turn four. And then again, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. We had a youth group, someone was moving on. So I needed to go for a partial coordinators position, and I got it. So then I was in partial coordinator in 2000. And maybe it was a bit early in that anyway, for four years, and I had two groups of you eight, two groups of you 10s Until I went on maternity leave with CAFS. So those three ladies, we all work together, we had, there was four of us, plus two males as partial coordinators. But the four of us became very close, because we're working with big groups of kids. Look, you know, 120 girls in each year group we had, and I'll be so I've always been so thankful for their support. I was significantly younger than those ladies, those girls. And they taught me a lot about life and a lot about perseverance and patience, especially patients. elders would call me a whippersnapper. And I don't know, I think she she saw that that fire in my in me, but also reminded me to tone it down a little bit. But anyway, so I'm really thankful to those four beautiful ladies, as well as Patrick Gfinity, who was the curriculum coordinator at the time at Nagel, and Tim Gilmore, who was the assistant principal, he was the assistant principal. And he said, teaching at Nagel at the same time, too. So the six of us became seven, seven of us became quite close, because you're working really closely with the kids in our groups. But look, I don't think I'd be the leader I am today without those lovely people.

So I want you to take a moment to think about who has had a really big impact on your life as an educator, who do you still go to when you need a bit of a, you know, a bit of an ear or someone to listen to you or give you some advice? Because I think we can keep going on our merry way. And we can do it alone. Or we can actually turn to the person next to us and think about how, how lucky we are to have those connections. I think, look, you know, I worked at Nagel for a long time. I think one of the secrets to our bubble in Blacktown. I used to call it was our staff were very close. And it wasn't because I think we're very similar in age, thinking back but I think it was that power of collaboration. The importance of us connecting working together was a bit of a secret to the school at the time. And I think no schools change and grow. But I think in the early 2000s Nagel was a very small school, it still is quite small. But there was just something magic happening at that school at that time. And look, I have very, very fond memories of working at Nagel for 14 years, I wouldn't have left. I wouldn't have left like Nagel, if it wasn't for moving to the Central Coast and making our sea change. I will probably retire they probably would have had to drag me off the backfield in my my blu ray tracksuit as a six year old PE teacher. But you know, I think it just really reminds me of how important it is to collaborate and work with other people.

So I'd love for you to think about who is in your space who's in your corner, tearing you from all different angles and look, I feel very blessed now that I get to do this for my teachers. So those of you who are in the CAFS collective, my CAFS membership. A huge shout out to you guys because I feel so blessed that I get to work with over 75 teachers across New South Wales to be their coach. They go to their mentor their guide, their guru, their CAFS queen. Those two terms are still I don't know, I still I would never call myself that. But they call me that and to get to share my my experience and my expertise and my knowledge about this beautiful course that we call ours. And you know, community Family Studies has definitely shaped the teacher who I am today. And I feel so blessed that I've have got to taught, taught the course for you know, the best part of 16 years. And then now I've actually support teachers to teach this beautiful, beautiful course.

So, today I'm also sharing the importance of us working together but also sharing our own perspectives. And look, I think, like I said, we can kind of stay in our own lane and be stuck and not have a way out or not kind of know. I don't know maybe maybe a different way of doing things but I think it's It's really important to open our eyes to different perspectives, different ways, maybe more strategic ways. And look, I think my mission was when I, when I did leave the classroom was to go, Okay, what the hell am I going to do but also to give back on a larger scale. So, I think for me working with other people, and I definitely think that teachers who I've worked with in the last two and a half years, I think I've learned more from CAFS teachers in the last two and a half years and in my whole 16 years of teaching CAFS in the classroom. Because I've been able to able to open up my doors open up, I've been able to see what it looks like in our classrooms to do different things, different challenges we've had, we're able to share those with each other. So I think the power of us working together is is so significant. I think we kind of take that for granted sometimes, don't we? That? You know, where we're doing things the same, but it's also it's like it's we've got the same sort of kids, we've got the same content. So why not us work together. And I think part of the reason why I love the CAFS collective, my CAFS membership is because we literally do have that, you know, teachers post in our Facebook group and ask a question about content or about things they're going through or wanting a template or an idea with an assessment task. And people are able to actually answer that straightaway and go, look, hey, I've tried this, why don't you have got this? Or here? I've got a copy of that. Or here. Here's a sample of my assessment task, or I killed that a question about this. Can you answer that? And I do. You know, I get to actually work with you. But it also enables me to see what it's like in your classrooms. And I think part of the reason for building this community in community Family Studies is about for me, first of all, not keeping it to myself, but for us to opening ourselves up. And look, I've worked in schools before where colleagues do not share resources.

Do you have any of those? Do you have any of those teachers who don't share like, they create these really awesome activities? You're like, hang on, why did that class get that and you actually didn't share it with me despite you kind of, you know, giving them every single thing I've ever done. That happened to me a lot in my past life. It's not about me, obviously, but it's really important to share your resources to be open to collaboration to working with other people to you know, if you've got a colleague in the Catholic school in a suburb next you or you know for us CAFS collective members get to talk to each other in Saudi our masterclass sessions at the CAFS conference, of course, we're going to really unpack some key strategies of what things look like if you can hear our puppy barking in the background. I do apologise. If you follow me on social she know what she looks like her name's crumpet. And I call her grumpy grumpy because she has the biggest bark. She goes on and on and on, for no reason. And she barks at nothing. So I've got no idea what she's barking at right now. But it's probably a fly or a bird. I've got no idea. Anyway, if you can hear that, that's trumpet. But I think us kind of, you know, just being able to reach out to other people in our community. And by community, I mean, other teachers who are teaching our subjects. So for us, we have the Learning Network, which helps you guys to connect with each other and grow and learn. But also for other courses, like if you're a hospital teacher, go and find your tribe go and find the group of hospital teachers who you can connect with you if you're a free tech teacher, go and find you know, there's a private Facebook group out there for food technology, teachers, tears teachers, you know, we have the New South Wales pte. HPE. Teachers page, which, sorry, group that has over five and a half 1000 PE teachers on there, like, the power of technology is great with community and I think, you know, I really feel blessed that we have all these opportunities around us to connect with each other. What I'd also love to unpack is the importance of us not being afraid to ask for help.

Now, I know many teachers out there are often either very meticulous, or they don't like to ask for help or admit that they're, they've got no idea or they're stuck. I think that just that just comes with the nature of the job. But also I think, you know, teachers like to kind of, you know, go it alone and try their hardest to, to you know, give it a go. But I think it's really important to ask for help. And I you know, you guys have heard my story before. I only know that too well because I got shingles in my first year of teaching at a large comprehensive public school. I was relieving head teacher Well, being relieving head teacher, PHP. I was also the president of actual New South Wales and that same year I was also moved to the Central Coast moved away from family renovated I didn't renovate Daniel did, we renovated our house. We also lost our dog he he passed away that year, and it was also the lead Another Canadian Family Studies leadership position around New South Wales. So I had a lot going on, I must admit it, but at the time, I just thought I could keep going and keep doing what I was doing. I didn't ask for help. I didn't ask for support. I needed it. I was craving it. I was calling out for it. But I wanted to prove them wrong. I want to prove them wrong to say, I could do it on my own. I think for us as a teacher, we share that with our kids. If you know if you have a question, ask if you need help ask me. But I think for us, we just we want to do it out on our own. And we kind of forget that we have all these amazing, beautiful teachers at our disposal. And I think wherever you are in New South Wales know that you'll always have me as your coach and mentor in CAFS, PT HPs also my thing so I'm very happy to if you have any questions about pa as well, but also seek out people in your local area that you can connect with. You know, if you're in a rural school, you can join us inside the CAFS collective to then have a whole heap of other CAFS teachers across New South Wales who are doing the same thing.

If you're working on a certain assessment task within your school, ask other colleagues, you know, hop on to our learning network collaborative our private Facebook group for CAFS, teachers hop on there ask questions, I think, look when I first started, I first started the CAFS network. Remember back in those days in the early 2000s 2000, and what was it 2013. In the teens, we had a syllabus amendment, so we had to kind of, we had no idea. Like I had no idea where to start. I mean, printed out printing off the syllabus and go, Holy hell, there's so many bloody changes. Where do I start with this? So I thought, well, I want to be able to collaborate with other teachers, I want us to connect with each other. I started that Facebook page or as a page back then. But I think just the importance of connecting with each other is so powerful. So if you would like to seek out other people who are in our space, then you have a couple of options here. So the first one is joining our private Facebook group, the Learning Network collaborative. If you'd like to ask questions, that type of thing, you can hop on there. But the most powerful way for me to support you and for us to connect with each other is inside my CAFS membership the CAFS collective. And it has grown as a result of the strategic approaches or the IRP course, to over 75 teachers. I think we have 76 or 77 CAFS teachers inside the membership. But the other beautiful way that we finally get to meet and see each other is inside the CAFS conference. Now the CAFS conference is on the 14th and 15th of October, so very, very soon. But if you have been checking it out, and you're not sure if it's right for you, or if kilkee you think where the hell is it, we are literally an hour and 10 minutes from Sydney, an hour and a half from the airport. So if you're in a local, sorry, if you're in a rural school, and not sure how to get to us, you can either fly into Sydney, or you can fly into Newcastle and drive up or down to killcare killcare is 20 minutes from terrible if you know terrible or Volker. But we are literally in the most beautiful, beautiful place in New South Wales with the bay, Brisbane Water at our doorstep, as well as beauty National Park. And then the most amazing gorgeous crystal clear water at party Beach was that which is at killcare where our our conference will be held. And our conference is a two day conference. Or you can come and join us just for one of the days on the Friday or the Saturday. And this is the most powerful way for us to connect with each other.

If you're sick of zoom, and if you want to share some resources, gets a new learnings look five sessions on each day. So 10 sessions all together as well as listening to the most amazing keynote speaker Gabby Stroud and if you've read teacher or do parents, you'll know what she's like if you follow her on social. She's amazing. But our conference is at the moment my most powerful way for us to connect with each other, as well as the CAFS collective and if you join the CAFS collective membership, you actually get access to a very special VIP dinner hosted by me and it's fully catered for, from the most amazing, gorgeous local produce patch mama. all organic, beautiful, beautiful meals for us. So if you join the CAFS collective, you also get access to the VIP dinner at the conference. And you get access to 10% off all of my courses and resources. So, look, the CAFS conference is something that I've wanted and dreamt off for a really long time. And when I was the president of the New South Wales, we were I was, I think that was the vice president when we did the stage six conference back then. And look, that was great. That was awesome. But to have our very own CAFS conference like this This is pretty special.

So, if you'd like to learn more about the CAFS conference, you can head over to learn forward slash conference. Check it out, grab the paperwork that you need, because Registration closes very soon on Friday, if you're listening to this live, radio closes on September the 21st, or 22nd 23rd, I think. But again, like I said, the power of us connecting with each other is has been the most amazing journey for me in the last two and a half years. I have absolutely loved every second of working with you guys and to literally sit here. From the comfort of my own space to be able to deliver so many big things for you, is an absolute dream and blessing. So if you'd like to learn more about the conference or about how you can work with me, and amazing other CAFS teachers across New South Wales, to not be limited to your own perspectives, to collaborate with others, but to connect to learn and grow, head over to learn You'll find all the goodies there but the CAFS conference is ready and raring to go waiting for you to see us face to face. Finally, after all these COVID Craziness so the forward slash conference is where you want to be. But look if you keen to connect with us further, you can join us inside the Learning Network collaborative, our private Facebook group for CAFS teachers or like I mentioned the CAFS collective. If you can't come to the conference this year, keep it in your diary for next year because it's going to be awesome. Thank you so much, guys for joining me today in the power of connection. And I'd love to hear from you about how you connect with other teachers, the power of your community, and some of the lessons that you've learned.  


Thanks for joining The Learning Network, I'd love to hear what connected with you most about today's episode. Take a screenshot and tag me on Instagram and Facebook, @thelearnnet. If you'd like to know more about my courses, MasterClasses, Coaching and Mentoring and Membership, you can DM me over on Facebook or Instagram or head to Don't forget to stay connected by subscribing to Apple Podcasts or Spotify, and if you love today's episode, I would be so honoured if you could please leave me a review. See you again next week. Let's continue to connect, grow and learn together to make a huge impact on the students we teach. 

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This land was and always will be the land of the First Nations People.