Teaching in Primary School is a whirlwind of fun, but also includes long busy days, making ‘teacher wellbeing’ a high priority to enable a teacher to be a positive educator and role model to students. Mrs Claire Swart is a Year 4 teacher, at Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School, “I attempt to make sure I presents the best version of myself to my students, every day. I am a great advocate for looking after yourself, and teacher wellbeing is really important to me,” she said.
Mrs Swart commenced at the School in 2012 as a teacher and parent, with her children joining the School in Year 3 and Year 5, “I have not left (the School) but my two children have. They both graduated and are now at University. I chose to remain at the School because I think this is a school that can really make a difference in terms of its positive education, its pastoral care and genuine interest and development in the whole child,” stated Mrs Swart.
“I like the pastoral care that our School affords each child, really getting to know the child and creating a learning opportunity just for them so they can thrive and flourish in their own way. It may be love of mathematics, spelling, sport, music, or it may be drama, but the child, regardless of where their interest lies, can find their niche at the school. I also love the camps offered from Year 1 and the Round Square Association I have been a part of, which enabled me to travel to Malaysia and Armidale in New South Wales, and provided me with wonderful opportunities,” said Mrs Swart.
Mrs Swart acknowledges that a primary teacher does need a lot of resilience to make sure they are present for their students every day. “The minute you open the door, you need to be that positive, engaging, approachable, friendly role model that the children come to school for and look for. I manage, by drinking lots of tea, meditating, doing Yoga and Pilates and trying to keep my body and mind healthy. I believe, ‘you cannot pour from an empty cup’, so you have to make sure your own soul, body and mind is filled so you can give that back to your students,” she stated.
For the last 10 years, Mrs Swart taught Year 3 until the Head of Primary, Mr Rob Whirledge asked Mrs Swart to teach Year 4 for 2023. “At first, I was a bit apprehensive, but it has been wonderful, and I love it! It is a different phase of development and I have been privileged to teach the same class. It has been fabulous, helping them carry on with their learning journey,” she commented.
In her spare time, Mrs Swart enjoys staying active, “I do not have a great deal of it, but when I am ‘off duty’, I am an energetic sort, so I still like doing something. I love gardening, socialising, reading, spending time with my husband, walking and training my eight-month-old Border Collie, which has proven to be a lot harder than I thought,” she stated.
Her positivity about the School, and one of the reasons she has stayed so long, is due to her value’s aligning with the School’s. “Positive education is important to me. I have completed post-graduate studies in mental health and wellbeing in education and the value Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School places on positive education really aligned with my teaching philosophy and that is why I have stayed,” Mrs Swart concluded.