In this episode of The Learning Network's Community & Family Studies Podcast, I am chatting to you about focusing on what really matters and this time of year!

As we head into the busy end of Term 4 it's important for us to focus on the things that really matter, both as an educator, as a parent, but also as a person. Many of us may be feeling the pinch of this time of year so taking steps to minimise stress, anxiety and burnout will enable you to enjoy the holiday season!

So, I hope today's episode brings you some sort of clarity on what you should be focusing on right now, ticking off what you need to do without adding a thousand things to your list!

Show Notes 

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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.

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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 Intro - Kelly:

Hey everyone, welcome back to another podcast episode in this podcast episode number 40. I am chatting to you about focusing on what really matters and this time of year, week seven, two and four 2022. It's busy. It's timely, it's important for us to focus on the things that really matter at this time of year, both as an educator, as a parent, but also as a busy person. And I think many of us may be feeling the pinch of this time of year, Christmas time, a few things happening politically and economically. And as we said last week on the episode with Kel, this time of year often is you know, quite tricky for some people and if that's you, I'm thinking of you. Make sure that you seek help from from someone that you trust around those feelings, but if you love this time of year, enjoy it. Because if you go into the Christmas period, really stressed really anxious, burnt out, you're not going to be any fun for anyone especially you know, interview drinks, Christmas parties, those sorts of things. So, I hope today's episode brings you some sort of clarity on what you should be focusing on right now at this point of view. And I know some of you guys are marking IRP is and have IRP is finishing off. But if you don't have that, you could be focusing on a couple of other things. Mainly ticking off what you need to do so registers programmes, maybe having a think about assessment tasks for next year. But don't put 1000 things on your list. Just focus on five things. So focus on five main things that are going to help you be set up for next year. But also just to get those done and coming to the holiday break. really energetic and ready and in to enjoy to, to enjoy the summer holidays.

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. 


This is episode number 40. And in today's podcast episode, we're going to be focusing on what really matters. And I think it's really timely. The time of recording it's November 23. And look weak 710 for feeling all the fields. We've got a mountain of work to do. I've got deadlines to reach registers to fill in programmes to plan for lots of tidy up to do both physically mentally, but also in your spaces. I RPS to finish marking to putting together look, I know it is crunch time for many of us. And if you're listening to this as you walk, I would love for you to go back. When you finish listening to this or your driving, I would like you to have a big look at your to do list because a lot of what's on there doesn't really matter. It's not the end of the world if you can't achieve all the tasks that you have set for yourself. Now I can say this really firmly because I've stepped away from the classroom. Although I'm a busy businesswoman, an educator to entrepreneur working with you guys to be the best CAFS teacher you can be. I have learned lots of lessons about having space and time and really getting back to the core business, whatever it is that we should be focusing on.


So in today's episode, I'm going to unpack with you some things that you can really do right now as an educator to protect your time and well being but also to take a take a good step back and have a little think about what's really important at the moment. Now if you're a parent, no matter what your what age of your children are, so are girls 12 and nine So Cassie is 12 Lexi's nine. CAFS is about to enter the most magic time of her life. I think sink, which is high school. So she starts high school next year. She's super excited. She had orientation day last week. She's going to our Catholic school and the coast here. She's super pumped. Lex is going into for next year, she loves school of sport. The girls are in a really good spot the moment but you know, you could have babies, you could have older children, no matter where your kids are right now, being a parent this time of year is also an absolute blessing because they don't realise time. They don't realise money. They don't realise urgency. They are just pretty much in their own little bubble doing their own thing. Now, I'm not sure if your kids are like that. But that's what mine are like. And they get so excited about Christmas and decorations. And Lex asked if we could put the tree up the other day, which I think we'll probably do on the weekend. Although we usually wait until December 1, but this year, I'm like, Well, why not? Why not do it earlier. And look, you know, it is a really busy time for lots of us who are parents, but also lots of us who are teachers, with kids.


But even if you don't have kids, I know how crazy it was, for me, as a young educator back in, you know, the early 2000s trying to do everything I can I think as a young educator, you often take on lots of other little roles like you know, the Christmas carols, or you might have your seven homeroom group or a new group coming through. You might have, you know, your leadership team, I had the SRC at some point I had, when I was a partial coordinator had two groups of year 10s Go through, then I had to grips with you eight and I know my year eight at this time of year, we're very, very testing as they moved into year nine. So look, it's a busy time of year for all of us. And we just need to take a bit of a breather, a bit of a breather a step back. And like we said yesterday, last week on the podcast, it feels like yesterday, or last week in the podcast to take a step back and to really work out what we need to be focusing on. So if you're an educator, right now, if you have your 12 The focus should be on the IRP if you're working on that, if you're not doing IRP, in term four, and you're doing another unit of work, parenting and caring, hopefully or option, you will have an assessment task due, there's no doubt about having one task done. My aim for you is to have that finish at marking finish before you go into the holidays. I don't care if you have to say at work till four or five o'clock every day. But taking that marking into your holidays is going to cause you even more stress. And I think for me once I moved to strategic approaches, so that IRP that approach and having an embedded early connection to the option, facilitating the process, it does, it does take the pressure off.


So if you've been part of that over 250, odd 60 I think now, teachers have taken that programme, you will know what that looks like. Hopefully you haven't taken anything in the holidays, on your big list. But if you are focusing on the unit of work, get that marking done. Stay up until you need to to get it done now before you hit the holidays, because you don't take a marking over into the holidays. And we're three weeks ago, some of you guys in private schools, you guys are finishing super, super soon. So try to smash that marking out and get it done. And go into your holidays with some headspace and really positive headspace, and really good energy moving into what I think is the most magic time of the year. I'm not gonna sing A Christmas Carol, because that will probably make you laugh at my lack of musical ability.

But guys, it's really important that you're looking after yourself. Now if you're in the position of you have your your elevens. So are you 12 As a finish, so you don't have a new cohort starting until next year. So you have no seniors at the moment, you've just got juniors, you might be chasing your tail, we things for them finishing off curriculum, maybe getting into some interview type of stuff, celebration type stuff. If you're an IRA, teacher, you're probably doing some advanced stuff with the kids. So super exciting that way, but I know a lot of the kids will start asking you, are we going to do any Christmas cards? Or are we going to do Christmas colouring in our Christmas craft? And look maybe the last couple of days, but I'm pretty sure you can make it a bit more meaningful than that. And I'm pretty sure you've got some curriculum to get finished. But look, if you have a bit of a bit of space in your timetable, and you have, you might have two senior classes that that you're not taking that you're not teaching, you might have a bit more space. If you're at a public school, that space will probably be filled up by extras, or metro banks. But hopefully, you have a bit more space in this term to really start planning for next year. And I'd love for you to work on things that are meaningful.


So I know for me as I mentioned last week, in last week's podcast episode, I was having a conversation with kill our guest expert accountability coach. And we were talking about to do lists and what I used to put on my To Do lists and also flogged myself right until the last day. I would have stupid things on my list slide I laminate those, you know, wellbeing cards, or fix up my classroom posters or clear out the storeroom, or, you know, have those revision books ready for next year. And look, those things are not urgent. They're not urgent. And I think it's really important for you guys to take a step back. And to go, what are the things that I can do right now to help me be set up for success for next year, not fluff, like not things that are going to waste your time or take you away from the quality teaching that you should be doing? Or the quality planning that you should be doing. So things that going to help you plan for next year, might be tackling some resources working out, you know what you're teaching for resource management in turn one? Do you need to rejigger your assessment tasks and you should be we should be updating our assessment tasks, every new cohort. Remember, siblings talk and share and cousins talk and share, exchange, talk and show each other stuff. So it's really important, you're updating your assessment tasks. And look, I was talking to our CAFS collecting member members last week, and we were kind of nerding out what that might look like. And we really went big, we kind of said, what are the main concepts that we want our kids to come away with that first task under their belt. So we spoke about things like well being needs, resources, maybe interviews, if we get up to it, definitely stuff on support, bringing that forward a little bit in our, in our sequencing and our teaching, and actually having that done dusted right there. And then and having those five main concepts in that first term, really knocked it out in an assessment task.


So for you, if you have a bit of space and bit of time before the interview, I'd love for you to have a look at a bit of review of your current year 11, task number one. Now, this something that's going to help you help you improve, it's going to help your kids improve, it's going to set your kids up for success for next year. It's not things like laminating, tidying up, fluffing around, it's actually things that are going to help your kids and go back to the core business of what we do, why we started teaching to help educate the future, to help, you know, help our kids improve on their writing, or their understanding of content, things like that are things that we should be focusing on? Not all of those other things that just add to our list.


So, look, I loved our masterclass session last week with the members. And I think it is about going okay, what am I going to do in this particular assessment, that's going to set up the kids for success in the long run. Gone are the days of having assessment tasks, where they're fluffy, they're not really connecting to the content. They're often I used to have really creative tasks for the kids. So when they kind of Vanessa spoke about the border studies that would have been in that transition, spoke about variety of tasks. I took that as gospel and said, Okay, well, I'm going to have, you know, really cool presentation where they had to collect this, this and this, and they had to then present that to the school and it was just too much. It also wasn't preparing the kids for the end game. Some of our assessment tasks were focused on maybe concepts like you know, wellbeing, but connecting it to the kids well being. Now in an exam, they're not going to be talking about themselves, they're going to be talking about well being and in terms of maybe a sole parent, or a person with a disability, or one of the groups in context or someone else, they're not going to be talking about themselves.So I think some of our tasks really need to be rejigged and have a really good review of easiest really setting the kids up for success in the long run. And is it preparing them for the end game. And so the end game is the HSC. Like that's, that's the end goal, like we were preparing the kids not just for life, of course, yes beyond that with their writing, with connections with concepts, but we're also doing a really big disservice to the kids, if we're not setting them up for success for next year.


You know, for you 12 We need to be doing that straightaway. So all of your assessment tasks in your 11 There should be too they should be focused on setting the kids up for success for the end game. That's what you should be doing right now. If you're, if you have some time, you could be looking at your assessment task for your living. You could also be reading like I said, your resources for your 11 What worked, what didn't work? What was boring, what was it? You know, maybe what's a better way to teach that concept? Now, many of you guys are part of my socials. So at Kellyville. Coach at Kelly Bell dot coach is my instagram handle. And then if you're in the Learning Network, collaborate collaborative, my Facebook group, there's been lots of things shared in there. But you also have access to all of my resources. So we have our three year living booklets for each of the cores available with direct teaching learning activities, a little tiny bit of content. We also have links to really good sites, really reputable sources, exam preparation questions. Turns out the works there's so much there for you guys to dive into. And they are really accessible. Really good supplement to your teaching. We also have the year 11 Revision booklet as well as the year 11 exam for the last two years. And we have the year 11 Revision cards. So literally on a silver platter, all that you see there for you guys, if you want to head over to learn forward slash Resources to access all those goodies. But look, having all that under your belt is a really great thing to really bring you into the term into next term when you start especially for your seniors that you're set up for success.


If you're teaching CAFS for the very first time, my advice to you is to have a listen to back to some of my previous podcast episodes. You have some free resources on my website, the law We have a couple of things that you could access so your living acronyms. I also have a whole course that will help you set up for success for next year. So my year living CAFS course, is not just teaching CAFS for the first time like a whole general course about CAFS. It's just about year 11. And more importantly, it's about what you can do to enable the kids to be really successful in year 11 To make it really meaningful and purposeful in year 11. So they have really good skills of content, really good understanding of concepts that will then filter into 12. Now, for me, when I first started teaching CAFS probably for the first five or six years with the relevance, I made it really irrelevant. I didn't connect it to the Utah Of course now when it was amended, it was great, we got to do that we got to have really good connections to the Utah course. I also made it I think, to generalise or wasn't specific enough, I was flying blind had no idea syllabus, textbook, that was it. But I think for you guys, now there are so many opportunities to really make really good connections with our YouTube, of course, with the your living course, we have seven terms with the kids. That's it seven terms. And if we don't start to read the kids up in your 11, for that, you know that really those really hard concepts, those skills that they need to kind of apply the glossary of key words, those exam techniques. If we wait until you talk to do that, we're really doing a disservice to the kids.


So for me right now, I will be focusing on what's ahead of me in the immediate future, three weeks to go. If I've got you 12, getting them through to the IRP getting them submitted, all done. Now, if you have kids who you you're thinking maybe their analysis, discussion and conclusion and recommendations might not be ready, get them to like get them to show you. One of the things that I think I learned along the way, especially teaching a senior school was there was some kids that would try to fold their way through fluff their way through, try to avoid you. But I wanted to see a draft from every single one of my kids. I wanted to make sure that we're actually going to hand something Kim, the IRP, teach facilitated IRP the way I run that within strategic approaches of IRP. It's done that for a purpose. So it still makes it really manageable for students, even the strugglers, even the kids who really find it hard to write, they're still having success, because you've done it you've, you've worked together towards that process. But you still might have some kids who are struggling with that analysis, or with that discussion, make sure it's your responsibility as a CAFS teacher, as a senior teacher to make sure all of your kids feel success, and that they also are being checked on, even if you're reluctant to do that. And even if some of us say, oh, you know, they're seniors, I should know what they're doing. And you know, if they don't handle them, well, obviously, there's going to be some sort of end mourning. Avoid that prevent that from happening in the first place. Prevention is better than cure. Don't forget, if you're a PE teacher, you should know that prevention is better than cure all the time, make sure none of your kids are sitting on an award. So getting the kids to submit a draft and making sure they're sweet. They're almost ready for submission, possibly beginning of next week and next week, and then doing what you need to do to set yourself up for next year.


So if you're, if you have you 12 going into finishing off your 12 what unit do you need to prepare for? Do you have an assessment task do for that? If it's the option and that's why I kind of my ideal scope and sequence is research methodology. Then we have our option groups in context next, because there's a lot in there for groups, and then finishing a really nice high really good one is parenting and caring. So if we're doing option next time, Think about what you're going to do to really prepare the kids for that option. Get your resources together. I have booklets for everything for you guys now. Last year I had one booklet for each option. Now we have three booklets for each option. We're literally on a silver platter again, give you guys lots of things that are going to save your time, your energy and your well being. That's the whole purpose of me doing what I get to do to save you time to protect your energy to give you time back in the classroom, to help the kids and give them feedback. So you're not spending all these all of your time planning or getting your head around the content.


Now if you're a CAFS collective member, of course you have me on tap, you literally get to access me inside our private Facebook group. Every single day. If you ask questions, I get to give you feedback, I get to go live and answer those questions for you. But you know, if you're in the learning new work collaborative in the fight in that Facebook group, ask each other, you can also obviously access any of the resources I do have available on my website. And I feel so proud of this time of year to say that the whole syllabus has been mapped for you, the whole syllabus, there's a resource for you. There's no excuse. There's no excuse now, you have everything at your disposal to help you be really successful in our course. And I feel really blessed to have that. You know, sometimes you don't take the time to reflect on what's happened. But for me, I now have something for everyone in our course if you're at the beginning, taking exploring your living CAFS if you're kind of you know, wanting to dive a bit deeper. You might say okay, can I have you for a coaching and mentoring session on one on one? Can you come to my school I went to Grogan high school only a few weeks ago, and join Todd and Holly at their school. And look was really awesome day we did some coaching with them. But I also did two back to back master classes with their kids, it was a great day because they are you know, they're 16 years behind me. I get to fast track their success. I get to show show you got to show Holly and Todd things that I am mistakes that I made along the way and what you can do to prevent those. So there are so many things at your disposal right now to help you in this course. And look, if you can't find something, just let me know. Just say hey, Cal, send me a DM on Instagram is my preference or Facebook and say, Hey, Killa I can't find something on this. What do you have available? And look, I would love for you to keep an eye on Friday because I have some very exciting things happening on Friday he intent.


But look, this time of year is really overwhelming. I do get it. You're stressed. You're probably feeling the pinch. We have COVID lurking around again. You just want to get it over and done with this one. You know Christmas holidays to be here. So protect your time, your energy and well being brought a little list. What are the five main things I need to do in the next three weeks and just focus on those and go okay, well, if I don't get to those revision cards I wanted to do well, I've got I've got them. I don't have to reinvent the wheel. I want those posters. I've got posters. I've you know, I've got so many things that are going to save your time, your energy and your well being. I can't write your register. I can't write your programmes for you. And I can't do your registers for you. I can help you with your assessment tasks inside the CAFS collective. But you know, there's so many other things for you guys available for me to help you, especially at a busy time like this. So hope today has given you some tips or just some thinking around how to to how to protect yourself how to come into this time of you with some clarity but also how you can really focus on what really matters. And at the moment, it is just getting through it just finishing off and having the energy so you can then enjoy your Christmas break. If your family your beautiful families that love you to death that love you so much and you know with your friends and enjoy the time and look, it's been really lovely weather. For many of us. There's still some floods happening at the top of New South Wales and thinking of our colleagues up in those spaces in those communities. But look, it's a great time of year enjoying us enjoy yourself enjoy the ride, but also let's focus on what we're



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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I acknowledge and pay my respects to the
traditional custodians on whose land I walk, work & live.
This land was and always will be the land of the First Nations People.