What's in a job? Insight into our Boarding staff.
Over the holidays, one of our Boarding Supervisors, Alice, had time to sit and have a chat with us about her job and career at Calrossy Boarding.
You'll see that the chance to sit, have a chat and coffee is rare when looking after students behind the scenes. Michael Wilson, School Development Coordinator, was happy to organise the coffee and cake to ask the questions that all our Parents, Alumni, and future students want to know. And it might encourage some others to look at Boarding as a career!
Alice is one of our Boarding Supervisors, who care for the girls overnight and look after their needs outside of school hours. With over 6 years experiance in Ashton (Year 8 & 9) and Sims (Year 12) House, where everyday is never the same.
Whats in a typical day? (from wake up to bed time)
I get up a bit earlier than the girls and get ready for the day. I like to sleep in as much as they do, so it’s not too much earlier! Then the bell goes at 6:50am and I walk around and gently wake the girls in each room. At about 7am I go around and make sure they are ready to face the day! Breakfast starts at 7:00am and all the girls come down when they are ready and eat their rice bubbles and toast. Then its making sure they have collected thier bags and are heading to the bus to go to the William Cowper Campus.
In the afternoons the girls come in and tell me what they are up to. They are all very busy wiith their after school activities such as rugby, dance, music, bouldering, horse riding, pistol shooting, badminton, hockey, swimming, etc. This time is an opportunity for all staff to spend time with their Boarders to hear their day just like parents.
We all come together across the age groups for dinner that is prepared by the Calrossy Caterign Team dinner is really delicious and there is no washing up for us all!
Prep, is their homework time and each year group is assigned an area of the Brisbane Street Campus and where good study techniques are developed. Some of the Academic staff are available as well from time to time to support the Boarders and this is a wonderful part of our Boarding life here at Calrossy as each Boarder knows they are part of a special community.
Our bed time routine is rather simple technology is all placed on charge in the charging stations and then a sense of clam comes over the House. This is a time where everyone prepares for bed and each Boarder has their own unique routine. After lights out is when I update the workflow for my handover in the morning to the Head of Boarding and I wonder the corridors from time to time to make sure everyone is asleep. Apparently I have supernatural hearing!!!
I love seeing our Boarding girls and the way all Calrossy Boarders thrive and grow over their years at School, there will always be ups and downs with high emotions, but we are here to support the Boarders through all of this. When they return as Alumni after School and we meet again its one of the best parts to see the tight knit friendship bond between the Boarders espcically.
What’s it like working with teenagers in a Boarding setting ?
Its never quite like having your own kids, but not quite like not having your own kids either! Boarding is from Years 7 - 12 (ages 12 to 18) so they are teenagers, of course they can be very dramatic as they grow personally into young adults. Sometimes it can be hard to stay impartial, as every kid, no matter how spirited, has a way of squirming into your affections. We support our Boarders with so many things, from helping them to buy a cake for their friend’s birthday to helping with homework to assistance in getting to and from part time employment.
That is what we are here for and I love every minute of it.
How do you support the Boarding life of the Boarders so they have the best time possible?
We try to stay up to date with assessments and build relationships with their teachers. This allows me to support their studies as much as possible. I also try to learn more about their interests, even if they are new or shy. They really appreciate when you remember a sporting score of their favourite team over the weekend, or ask about an obscure fact from their special interest topic. Sometimes we suggest books and TV shows to each other, or talk about the best online shopping sites.
Any way that you can connect with what is going on in their lives, and show an interest in their interests, helps them to deal with being away from their families. We are here to be their support at all times.
Most memorable moment in the House
I loved staying back in the Sims Common Room after the school bell had rung to watch the Australian Rugby 7s girls win the Gold in 2016 Olympics with some of the girls. Yes we stayed up late, but the bonding time, excitement, and competition is what this job is all about.
What advice would you give yourself now if you were starting out again on this career path?
Making note of all the memories. I want to remember every moment, every student and every achievement.
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