This month, we spoke to Sara Weuffen who is the newest member of the Learning and Teaching Team. Sara is one of our Online Facilitator Coaches who was onboarded remotely late last year. Sara talks to us about the RMIT Online coaching program, remote working, and what she does to maintain a good work-life balance.
Tell us about yourself! What is your background in education and how are you finding being an Online Facilitator Coach at RMITO?
Hello. My name is Dr. Sara Weuffen, I am a non-Indigenous teacher-researcher of German, Scottish, and Welsh descent. I have been in the education field for the past ten years and worked across the secondary and tertiary education sectors; I’ve been a Physical Education, History, Science, Mathematics, Cultural studies, Diversity and Inclusion, and Technology teacher. Being a Tutor Coach at RMITO is a progressive opportunity to further help progress learning and teaching at the university level; particularly in the online space. The RMITO coaching program enables strong development, design, and pedagogical principles to be embedded within high-quality and student-centred learning spaces. In my short time so far with RMITO, I have observed marked increases in student experience and tutor development. Imagine what a higher education system could look like if all universities invested in a similar coaching model?!
Working online or remotely can be a very different experience to being in an office. Given that you started with RMITO remotely, how did you adjust to this new way of working?
Being a sole-parent throughout my own tertiary studies and previous employment, working remotely / off-site / physically disconnected from peers has been the norm for me. Yet, what I have found with RMITO is an organisation dedicated to building strong collegial relationship and a connected workforce regardless of location. Checking in daily with my immediate team, and using less formal communication apps (such as slack) has supported me in developing relationships, finding my feet, and ensuring productivity, all-the-while, enjoying the comfort of my active wear on a daily basis!
How do you ensure you have a good work-life balance?
Family/friends, exercise, chocolate.
The lesson I am most grateful to have learnt over the years is that time is the most precious commodity in this world [Hallmark card patent pending :-P]. I make sure that getting out of the house, away from a computer, and going off-grid is soul-reviving for me, whether that means board games, camping, or adventures. Exercise is super important to me feeling balanced. When I’ve got the tunes playing in my head while running or resistance training, or playing competitive sports with team mates, the cares of the world melt away. But the secret key to work-life balance underpinning all of these activities is good chocolate (pst … ALDI has the best).