MEDITATION, finding joy in change, and dealing with "tricky people" were all on the agenda on day 1 of the Catholic Schools System Conference in Tamworth on Tuesday.
It has brought together about 800 Catholic school staff, including from Gunnedah, Boggabri, Quirindi and Narrabri, to the Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre.
Director of schools Chris Smyth said it was a first for the diocese, and a valuable exercise for its professional development and networking opportunities.
The conference theme is Mission, Learn, Care, which Mr Smyth said focused on strong pastoral care for students and staff, underpinning quality learning and teaching.
He said he hoped the attendees would gain not only "their learnings around the theme [but also] networking with colleagues and a sense of belonging to a system of schools".
"[Schools] don't improve in isolation; they improve by schools being as concerned about the success of their own school as they are about the success of the other schools."
The staff at the conference represent about 6000 students in the region's Catholic school system, from Walgett to Glen Innes and from Mungindi to Quirindi.
Mr Smyth said the schools' success came down to their commitment to pastoral care and academic excellence - and one always followed the other.
"[We want] to emphasise to our teachers the importance of building positive relationships between students and teachers because, without that, you can't have good learning."
He said pastoral care was all the more vital for today's young people "because of the pressures of society on them: things like their mental health, depression, suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, growing anxiety issues, homelessness and so on".
"There's more pressures as a result of social media; struggling with their identity; issues of discrimination and inequality in society," he said.
The wellbeing of teachers was just as important, he said.
Guest speakers so far have included clinical psychologist and wellbeing expert Andrew Fuller; Sandhurst diocese Catholic education ex-director Philomena Billington; and Bishop of Armidale Michael Kennedy.
The conference continues and closes on Wednesday.