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Instructor Interview: Ros Spaulding

Instructor Interview: Ros Spaulding

Written by ETIA Admin

Please tell us a little about yourself?

Born as the eldest of two children and raised in a small country town in the Fingal Valle in Tasmania, I completed Grade 10 at the St Marys District High School, prior to attending Launceston teachers’ College where I completed my studies in Home Economics. Various teaching positions were completed in Southern Tasmania and Dandenong High School in Melbourne. On returning to Tasmania after marriage, my husband and I began the parenthood journey, eventually giving birth to 4 children in 5 years.  This was an incredibly busy time and I was a full-time Mum. 

How and when did you first hear about P.E.T.? 

My involvement with E.T.I.A  began in 1983/4 when working with a different group at the Family Resource Centre in Launceston.  I was invited by Pat McKenzie (former P.E.T instructor) to participate as a parent in the P.E.T group due to some issues within my family.  I accepted the invitation with relief, as I wanted to parent very differently to my own parenting experience with an authoritarian Mum.  I wanted to do things kindly and respectfully with no definite knowledge or skills really. As I often say, ‘I did the best I could with what I had at the time’.

Having read the Credo, I was sold!!!  This sounds more like the way I wanted to be, having 4 children, rapidly developing into ‘teenagers’!!How and when did you first hear about P.E.T.? 

What inspired you to become a P.E.T. instructor initially and what has inspired you to reengage as an instructor?

I became passionate about the process and having taught several groups over time in various places, particularly the Emmanuel Centre (a centre for spirituality and general support), I was invited by Pat McKenzie and sponsored by the Emmaneul Centre to train as a Trainer, which I accepted with joy and enthusiasm.

With training completed, I offered training is various centres, including the Education Department, Adolescent Mental Health services and other Family Resource centres. 

Tell us your personal experience of conducting your recent B.Y.B. course.

The most recent course in which I have been a co-facilitator was at the Northern Suburbs Community Support Service in Launceston, with the B.Y.B course.  We had a small group and decided to ‘go with the flow’ and offer the course in spite of the small number of participants.  I believe it was a very valuable course for all, the co-facilitator, participants and myself.  Plenty of time was available for all, and for me particularly, it was the first time I had co-facilitated and I found it to be very helpful to have another person to share the load, as I had preciously been on my own in offering courses.  The other facilitator and I both agreed that it had been a helpful experience, particularly as I had not been involved with B.Y.B. before, so I was learning ‘on the job!!’ The other facilitator was the main presenter and I was support, which worked well and was less stressful for both I think.

We were able to discuss and debrief very easily and positively without difficulty after completing a mid-programme feedback for each other.  My major learning was that I am very inclined to ‘over share’ personal information and have now been able to modify my sharing, being more confidential and briefer.  I am very open with my life stories, and now am able to monitor those more appropriately and succinctly. 

What have been the significant areas of growth and change for your participants whilst completing the P.E.T. course?

Over the years, all of the participants have acknowledged the valuable lessons leant and have given positive feedback both in relation to the knowledge gained and my presentation of the course. One participant, years after the course, had a random connection with me, and told me that she has 4 perfect children because of me!!??? I quickly reminded her that I was simply the messenger but SHE HAD PUT IN THE PRACTICE!!  So true.

I had some very comical and amazing results with my son who most likely has Autism.  He was coming home early hours of the morning, having a cook up with friends in the kitchen, making a bit of noise which would wake me up and I needed to get a good night’s sleep for teaching the next day.  He agreed to chat about my problem and we went through the process. After explaining my difficulties, he ‘aggressively’ said: “well you could fill the ‘bl…y doors with concrete to block the noise!”  I was able to accept his idea without reacting or laughing!!!!  After a few more ideas he came to the idea that he would have a coffee at his friend’s place, come home and go quietly to bed!!!!   This went on for 6 weeks quite beautifully.  Then……one night it was all on again!   I jut popped my sleepy, pyjama clad body through the open door and simply said: Andrew, I thought we had an agreement???”  to which he replied: ‘oh Yeah Mum….., I forgot!!!!” It never happened again.   Amazing!!!

What are your future plans as an Instructor? You are also completing the L.E.T. Workshop for Instructors, tell us more about your plans here?

I am not sure of my future plans………..L.E.T. with some leadership groups could be a challenge for me, due to my wanting to be ‘perfect’ and also feelings of vulnerability, however with co-facilitation, I believe it is possible.  Smaller, less powerful personalities I would find more comfortable. However, I am open to the challenges, particularly with co-facilitation.  I am open to where it leads. I still have the passion.  I don’t think it will ever leave me.

Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for new instructors who are hesitating or are about to conduct their first course?

Start with a group of friends/acquaintances or people with whom you feel comfortable:

  • Maybe begin with a smaller group.
  • Face the fear and do it anyway!
  • Rid yourself of ‘perfectionism’ and fear of failure (message to myself)
  • Deep breathing if/when one is challenged to clear the brain……..Think
  • Try to keep up the assertive rather than aggressive fear filled responses
  • Asking the group to share their understanding of what is being said/taught if there are misunderstandings
  • Pencil in time slots down side of instructor facilitator book to keep on track
  • Become very familiar with each presentation
  • Try not to panic if all the work allocated for a session is not covered (note to self)
  • Clarify/reframe questions from participants.

ETIA Admin

ETIA Admin


The Effectiveness Training Institute of Australia (ETIA) Ltd is a not-for-profit, community based organisation that is dedicated to making courses in communication and conflict resolution skills available and accessible to all people in Australia.

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Loving Family | About ETIA

About ETIA

The Effectiveness Training Institute of Australia (ETIA) Ltd is a not-for-profit, community based organisation that is dedicated to making courses in communication and conflict resolution skills available and accessible to all people in Australia.

ETIA’s mission is to provide individuals with effective communication and conflict resolution skills to build connected, harmonious relationships.

Our inspiration and programs come from the late Dr Thomas Gordon who is the author and founder of Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) program and Gordon Training International (GTI).

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