QLD Branch News

Message from the Branch President, Karen Fox


This final newsletter for 2021 gives us the chance to reflect on the past year’s ACELQ activities and signal some of our goals and plans for 2022. Significantly, it provides opportunity to thank the ACEL Queensland members and colleagues who have so generously contributed to and participated in our activities this year.

In reflecting on 2021, we note the broad range of ACEL Qld opportunities the year has presented: networking, dialogue, professional learning, reflective writing, panel forums, co-hosting the national disability and inclusion conference, recognising excellence through our awards. These activities have highlighted the positive involvement of our broader membership base, and our wider network of leaders from all sectors, levels of education and leadership journeys.

Regional engagement

We are particularly thankful to ACEL members across our regions who have actively promoted ACEL, and initiated links with local regional members and colleagues.

The Toowoomba and Darling Downs working group have again offered several opportunities for local networking, and professional collaboration in 2021 and have planned a similar array in 2022, including an ACEL Meet and Greet event scheduled for Wednesday 16 February.

If members in any other regions would like advice or support in hosting similar ACEL Meet and Greets or other events in their region in 2022, please reach out to us through the ACEL Branch email: [email protected]

Middle leaders

In its fourth year, Pivotal People Gold Coast, a professional collegial network for educators in middle leadership, has grown in membership and professional recognition this year. We thank the Pivotal People organising committee - all local middle leaders themselves - for developing this forum that promotes and supports stimulating intellectual conversations about topics that are meaningful to middle leaders. They have planned a very exciting 2022 program of Opportunities to Connect, Learn and Thrive with the first event scheduled for Wednesday 23 February entitled Keeping your spark alive: Stories of optimism that have transformed leaders.

The ACELQ 2021 Awards event was the fortieth of its kind. It was thus very special from an historical perspective but even more so from a professional perspective.

Tertiary engagement

Term 4 saw the conclusion of the 2021 In Dialogue series – a partnership over the past three years between ACELQ and the University of Queensland’s Science of Learning and Research Centre. Built on the sure reflective foundations of our Statement of Commitment to the Profession of Teaching this year, two issues were considered:

  • collaborative professionalism and research about social synchronicity in the context of recognising that “teaching is a collaborative profession” and that our work is “enriched through working with [our] colleagues, learning from them and contributing to their practice”; and
  • the well-being ‘flipside’ to our ability to continually offer “a spirit of optimism, resilience and hope” as teachers when we work to “guide them throughout their lives”.

In each session, practitioners were engaged in wide and deep conversations driven by academic research and the shared experiences of those in attendance both in person and online; truly “in dialogue”.

The In Dialogue series was initiated a few years ago as a response to a need identified by the ACELQ Executive that we wanted to develop stronger links with our tertiary colleagues and local researchers. In addition to the dialogue series, collaborations have also been established as some of our Executive members have been invited as guest speakers, providing their perspectives to students in M Ed programs.

Our ACELQ Tertiary Engagement Project and the In Dialogue series will resume in 2022. We are always keen to seek further opportunities to collaborate with our tertiary colleagues. Please contact us if interested.

Reflective writing project

This term we also initiated Time for reflection - a short reflective piece written by Executive members and colleagues for our Queensland members to prompt further consideration, conversation and thought. The next in this series will be published early in Term 1, 2022.

Starting the 2022 conversation: Humanity in educational leadership - hope and optimism

As the Queensland Branch Executive members reflected together on the themes that arose throughout the ACEL national conference, in conversations with participants at our 2021 events, and in discussions with our own colleagues, we sensed some common threads.

  • 2021 has been a year for affirming the humanity and purpose in educational leadership and the profession of teaching.
  • Admiration for the versatility, resilience, curiosity, and creativity of the teaching profession
  • The importance of approaching the future with hope; hope for the profession, and instilling hope in the lives of our students, and the teachers who guide and work with them.

In that context, we are looking to 2022 as a year in which we will further develop these themes and ideas through our choice of topics, events, and communications. We’re keen to have as many members as possible join us in this ongoing and developing conversation around humanity and hope.

As educators, in the face of what might at times appear to be overwhelming, it is helpful to be reminded that, as Terry Wrigley (2003) wrote - Teaching is a profession of hope. And for further inspiration, we could look to the message of Jane Goodall, now in her late eighties, and faced with constant challenges and threats to her life’s work, when she writes:

What is this “hope” that I still believe in, that keeps me motivated to carry on, fighting the good fight? What do I really mean by “hope”?
Hope is often misunderstood. People tend to think that it is simply passive wishful thinking… This is indeed the opposite of real hope, which requires action and engagement. (xiii)
Hope is contagious. Your actions will inspire others. (xiv)

(Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams (2021) “The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for an Endangered Planet”)

We trust that your holiday season brings some special time for reflection, reinvigoration, joy – and hope.

Twitter: @AcelQueensland
Linked In: ACEL Queensland
Or via email: [email protected]

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