Our ‘Values in Action’ series shines a light on how our Caulfield Grammar School employees live our School values. Living Wholeheartedly is about engaging in life with purpose, courage, passion, humility and in service with others.
Jodi McDonald, Administration Assistant at Wheelers Hill Junior Campus, shares how working at Caulfield Grammar embodies Living Wholeheartedly.
Education has always been such a pivotal part of my life. My mum and my sister were teachers, and now one of my daughters is also a primary teacher. We are all lifelong learners.
I was heavily involved in my own children’s school life and was particularly inspired by the gentle and caring personality of a front-of-office staff member at their primary school. Taking a role at Caulfield Grammar School was a natural progression. It allowed me to get back into the workforce full-time with the flexibility to maintain a busy lifestyle with my own four children.
I thought I would only be here for five years – almost 16 years on and I’m still here!
I enjoy the communication with families and the whole School community – I am the first face they are greeted with when they enter the Junior School, and their care and support is paramount. I also love assisting my colleagues in any way to make their roles easier, often acquiring new knowledge along the way.
I am always looking at those around me for inspiration, not only to do my job well but to exceed. As a parent, my natural instinct is to care and assist. If I see a child, colleague, or parent in any form of stress my first thought is to help, to care, to offer guidance to obtain a solution. If I sense that someone needs time and understanding, I’ll listen with a compassionate ear and offer assistance and direction. It all comes down to listening deeply.
I feel like so much about working at Caulfield Grammar School embodies the School Value of ‘Living Wholeheartedly’.
I’ve met many staff over my years at Caulfield Grammar and all of them possess the same quality – passion for what they do. It’s something I admire greatly.
I love the diversity in learning and teaching techniques and the way each department utilises the resource of external partners, such as the Artist in Residence Program. I also love that the School recognises individuality and is there to support students of all backgrounds, languages and learning abilities.
The care and support from my ‘Caulfield Grammar family’ is overwhelming. You see it time and time again in response to personal and professional challenges and it has been one of the biggest benefits of working here.
Being active has and will always be a huge part of my life. I’m a former gymnast, softballer, ice-skater, roller-skater, tennis player, bike rider and hiker – basically anything that involves a challenge or competition! It is not unusual for me and my partner to walk 10km every Saturday and Sunday, exploring nearby or further afield.
During Long Service Leave I travelled to Europe for three months – enjoying the history and architecture and making some long-lasting friendships along the way. I also ventured to Bali twice with fellow gym members for a FitCation – a week of full-on activity, including cycling, high ropes course, canoeing, climbing volcanoes and morning exercise to start the day.
I’ve had some wonderful opportunities at School to combine my three great joys – lifelong learning, exploring and activity. A personal highlight was participating in the Year 10 Odyssey program. This six-day program in remote areas concentrates on personal and social development with a focus on embracing challenge, thriving together and environmental appreciation.
I had the opportunity to re-unite with students that had been through the Junior School and hear their school journey. They told me about experiences such as the Year 9 Kakadu Program and how they had grown from it – how it helped them look at challenges from another’s perspective, the importance of putting yourself into someone else’s shoes. This self-reflection is so impactful. I listened to the conversations they were having while hiking Mt Baw Baw or setting up camp, and I was blown away by how they shared ideas and offered to help each other.
On Odyssey there is always something to learn about yourself – what you can do, what you’re capable of. It was wonderful to witness students accepting the challenges that were presented, pushing themselves and learning that failing along the way makes you appreciate achieving that much more, that losing makes you appreciate winning, and that the most important thing is participating and giving it a go.
To watch students learning about themselves is invigorating, and I am so grateful to have had this experience and to experience this every day in my role at Wheelers Hill Junior Campus.
Caulfield 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.