Remote Programs Teacher Meg Hudson talks about how her passion for teaching and the Great Outdoors has taken her from YJ to the Northern Territory.
If anyone truly embodies the Caulfield Grammar School song lyric, “You’re part of the School from the time you begin it, you’re part of the School for the rest of your life”, it would be Meg Hudson.
Meg started her Caulfield Grammar journey as a Year 7 student in 2008. Since graduating in 2013, she has been a trainee at YJ, an Odyssey Coordinator across Wheelers Hill and Caulfield campuses, classroom support at Malvern Campus, and is now a teaching staff member as part of the Year 9 Kakadu Program in Jabiru.
“I feel like each role has allowed me to meet so many amazing educators and leaders and it is thanks to their support, advice and encouragement that I have continued to find opportunities at the School.”
At the end of Year 12, Meg was approached by her Head of House, who said she should apply for the YJ Traineeship and had already written her a letter of recommendation.
“I hadn’t even thought about it,” admits Meg. “But that year at YJ proved to be instrumental in making me the person I am today. My trainee and YJ community continue to be some of my closest friends, and I’m grateful for their friendship and guidance during a year of growth.”
For Meg, the YJ trainee experience also sparked a lifelong passion for teaching. “School is such a significant part of a student’s life, far beyond their academic abilities. It is amazing to see them overcome challenges, develop new connections and appreciate beauty and laughter.”
In 2021, Meg received a text that would change the course of her life. It was from current Head of YJ Sarah Klein asking if she’d be interested in joining an inaugural staff team heading to NT to start a Year 9 Kakadu Program. “I have always seen the classroom as bigger than four walls, and I love the opportunity to teach and connect and expose students to the natural beauty and challenges of the world around them. So, of course, the answer was YES!”
Meg joined the team as a graduate teacher and, while the move from family and friends was momentous, she hasn’t looked back. During 2021, when programs stopped due to COVID restrictions, she took a position at Jabiru Area School (JAS) as a Years 2-3-4 teacher, giving her a unique insight into the community and forging a solid relationship between JAS and Caulfield Grammar.
Fast-forward to today and Meg is still a Remote Programs Teacher at Jabiru. As one of the founding staff, she says it has been such an incredible experience to learn and shape the program that stands today.
“I joined a team of highly motivated and adventurous spirits who became my family. The first program had trestle tables and staff who were doing everything for the first time. Now we have a highly experienced team, embedded in the Jabiru community. It’s a community that really comes together. Everyone’s voice is heard and I love being part of it.”
Meg’s endless list of highlights includes having a World Heritage Listed National Park as her classroom and playground, watching JAS students lined up along the fence cheering our visiting students, seeing the sun set at Ubirr, road trips, camping, playing footy (Jabiru Bombers) and basketball for Kurrung Festival against West Arnhem Land teams, and seeing past trainees and staff return in short- and long-term capacities across town.
“No week, no day is the same. During the program, students explore Jabiru, Katherine, Kakadu Campout and Darwin. Staff are on 24/7. Sitting and eating a meal with students has become an important part – sharing stories, reflecting on the day and hearing about their lives back at home is so important to developing connections.”
Since being in Jabiru, Meg has come to realise how important a teacher’s role is in educating the future generation to make informed decisions, to see kindness and learn empathy, and the significant impact literacy and numeracy can have on the wellbeing of a child.
“There is so much for us to learn from the people here. I feel proud to work for a school that has put trust in this program and prioritised learning on country and teaching our future leaders to see the beauty in Indigenous culture. Caulfield Grammar students will be future leaders, researchers, health care professionals, and I hope their experiences here give them the tools to improve society for the next generation so they do even better.”