Sabine the Seeker

Role title:
Secondary School Teacher
Permanent, full time
Where theyre at with flexible working:

I am hoping to work less so I can undertake a Masters of Education, but I’m nervous about asking in case they think I’m not committed to my job or the students. I would like to have more information on how to apply and what’s involved before I meet with the faculty coordinator and principal about it.

Sabine's Story

Sabine lives in a share house with another teacher and a nurse in Armidale. She completed her Bachelor of Science/Education (Secondary) and has been teaching at a local high school for just over two years. She has many interests that she actively pursues, including tennis, cooking and learning Japanese.

Sabine really enjoys her job and currently teaches science to students in years 7-9. She loves the idea that she is helping young people to learn and maybe one day become scientists. She wants to further her skills and be better equipped to improve her teaching and progress her career.

Her attitude to flexible working

  • Sabine is exploring, formally through departmental information and informally through colleagues, the flexible working options that might be available that could help her to juggle study and work.
  • She isn’t sure about what is available to her and what the process is to apply for flexible working arrangements, but wants to find out.
  • She has only worked as a teacher for just over two years, and is worried switching to part time will harm her career progression.
  • Sabine thinks team teaching/job share and having a good mentor might help to keep her career on track.
  • Sabine’s school principal works long hours, and an informal culture about staying late has developed. Sabine is worried that leaving to attend lectures will be frowned upon, even though core hours have finished and she has completed the work required.

Sabine’s work style

  • Enthusiastic about what she teaches and tries to encourage her students to care about what they are learning
  • A team player who likes to work with other teachers to come up with initiatives to get students engaged and achieving
  • Likes to keep learning, so volunteers for any opportunities for professional learning that are on offer

How to engage Sabine in flexible working?

  • Increase awareness
    • Provide her with clear information about the flexible working options available to her and her role.
    • Highlight examples in her organisation where other people, including leaders, use flexible working, in order to assure her that flexible working won’t harm her career progression.
  • Change mindset
    • Assure her that flexible working is for everyone, no matter what stage they’re at in their career.
    • Support her to feel that flexible working will not negatively affect her career. Evidence show that NSW public sector employees who work flexibly are just as happy with their career progression opportunities than those who do not.
    • Support the faculty coordinator and school principal to understand the benefits of flexible working practices and promote it through the school.
  • Guide implementation
    • Encourage her to explore with her Principal the flexible working options that might be possible, such as job share arrangements or late starts if she does not have a class first period, and discuss how it might work for a trial period.
    • Ensure there are clear and simple policies and procedures to help her to request and access flexible working options.

Key messages for Sabine

  • Flexible working is open to everybody in the NSW government sector regardless of their grade or years of experience
  • You don’t have to stay late to show commitment to your job. You can do this through enthusiasm and achieving great learning outcomes.
  • Discuss the types of flexibility available with your school Principal, who has the discretion to adapt your arrangements.

What flexible working might be relevant to Sabine?

  • Part time/ job share
  • Career break
  • Deferred salary scheme

The Public Service Commission acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the land on which our office stands.