Our ‘Values in Action’ series shines a light on how our Caulfield Grammar School employees live our School values.
Laura Tilley, Year 4 Teacher, shares how Thriving Together fosters a unique culture and community at Malvern Campus.
I’ve been teaching for 20 years – 13 of those at Malvern Campus. Despite the many School-wide changes over the years, Malvern Campus has maintained its own unique identity and a strong sense of camaraderie and EQ. You always feel so welcomed and accepted here and there are friendships across all areas of the Campus – from ground staff and admin to teaching, casual and leadership.
My priority as a teacher is to foster a safe and happy environment for my students and the colleagues that I work closely with. Because of this, I think that ‘thriving together’ is the value that I promote most.
I strive to make the students in my care feel confident in themselves and their ability to learn. I went to four primary schools as a child and always felt nervous about getting things right. I share these experiences with my students because it supports them to shift their mindset and have the confidence to just give something a go. I like to send emails of affirmation to parents from time to time; these might be just a simple observation of the effort their child is making, a kindness their child displayed, comments about conquering a new maths strategy, or an attachment showing their improved writing skills. This practice is a great way to ‘fill up the bucket’ for us all – parents, students and me!
The students have even started suggesting we acknowledge their fellow students’ acts or achievements by adding their name to our weekly ‘Hall of Fame’. This empowers the students to feel like the classroom is theirs and promotes a culture of kindness and positivity.
I really treasure my friendships with the staff at Malvern and I love being part of a professional learning community that is always striving to improve the learning experiences for our students. My colleagues are often quizzing each other on their individual teaching practices. They are open to trialling new initiatives and reflecting on outcomes with the aim of giving their students a better experience.
I know there are numerous people I can call on for professional or personal advice and I thoroughly enjoy times when I can work with and learn from my peers. This year I have been able to teach Maths weekly with Sue Kappa, one of our learning strategy team members. She has confirmed many of my practices but also taught me something new in almost every lesson!
We are also so fortunate to have educational assistants at each year level. Payal Sharma, our classroom educational assistant, is a fabulous colleague. She anticipates the way she can assist us all and I think we are on the same page as a team.
Something I cherish about teaching is that I am forever learning something new. My roles have been varied and I have been part of many different initiatives. Being involved in the introduction of the IB Primary Years Programme to Malvern Campus was perhaps one of the most transformative. I also participated in the incredible Year 9 Remote Program in Kakadu where I connected with staff from other campuses, reconnected with former students, and learned from students I wouldn’t normally work with.
I’ve recently had the opportunity to represent our staff at the Junior School Leadership Team and it provided a wonderful insight into the decision-making processes and the running of larger School-wide initiatives. Everyone was encouraged to voice their opinions and share suggestions and it was a great learning experience for me.
Caulfield Grammar is always constantly adapting and evolving its learning experiences, and I believe in this way it leads the way in the independent sector. But more importantly, and the reason I have stayed so long, is because of the unique culture at Malvern Campus – it has always been a community that cares, and this community spirit is its greatest asset.
Caufield Grammar School is a values-led school. Our five School Values guide the way we work together and behave. Active interaction with these values supports our students and staff in having clarity and ownership about what it means to be a member of the Caulfield Grammar School community – how we treat each other, and what we expect from each other.