Relationships at the centre of  teaching and leading

I have been associated and connected to George Otero since 2011 when I accepted a position as a Leading Teacher at Elwood Primary School in Melbourne, Australia.

I found myself in a position of leadership with a team of 10 colleagues and staff of 70. The workshops, mantras & beliefs of George, with his focus on relationships first enabled me to take on this role with increased confidence.

In 2012, I participated in the Santa Fe Study tour with a group of Australian teachers over 10 days. This study tour cemented my understanding and commitment to connections and relationships being at the centre of my teaching and leading. I found that with this focus I have had a more positive impact on all around me.

Over the next 10 years I have continued to evolve in my understandings and have engaged continuously with George Otero as a mentor and coach. I was heavily involved in working alongside George to facilitate the inaugural Relational Learning and Leading certification course held in Melbourne, March 2020.

As the world faces Covid -19 and the challenges that it presents for educators, the focus on relationships has proved to be a saviour for staff, student, parent and my own wellbeing. The hard work and effort required to build and sustain relationships has been rewarded when we find ourselves physically separated, over 210 days and counting in Victoria, Australia.

I look forward to continue my work with George and the centre to learn to develop and refine my actions and practises which enable others to see that above all else, relationships are the priority for me as an educator.

—Sara Walsh, Teaching and Learning Mentor, Elwood Primary School

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