The boarding staff have been spending a great deal of time together this term preparing the houses for the girls’ return. Our staff are genuine, hard-working and easy to work with. I have marvelled at the enthusiasm and great spirit in which they have done this. These ladies are excited to do things for ‘their girls’. This has prompted me to ask them why they work in boarding.
Firstly, it became apparent they don’t consider it a job. It’s much more than that. The reasons our boarding staff love what they do are as varied as they are. Our boarding staff feel like our boarding community gives back to them as well. Our world is broadened by the girls that we meet. We have learned so much about the countries, cultures and experiences that we knew nothing or little about before. Our staff feel that working with our boarders keeps them young. We even like some of their music.
It’s often the simple things that our staff like about what they do: the greetings of the girls at the end of each day, hearing the girls’ stories and seeing their smiles. It is taking them to appointments and sport and getting a chance to chat with them and learn more about their lives. It is a lifestyle choice, not a job. We feel like a family when we are at work as we develop relationships with our girls and our colleagues. It is a wonderful feeling to help guide a girl to believe in herself and achieve success when they previously didn’t.
Being a Boarding Supervisor, you are constantly changing ‘hats’. It is like being a parent on steroids. We love this about our work. There is never a dull moment and there is always someone to talk to. Personally, I have struggled during this time of social isolation as we would generally interact with over 100 people in a day. Staff feel that their life experiences and skills are valued in this work environment. They confessed that their self-esteem and confidence have grown since working in boarding.
For those of us who have been doing it a while it is about the connections we make with families where we have looked after sisters and cousins and have developed relationships with those families. Our staff love meeting families and forging new relationships with them. Some families have kept in touch with us long after their girls have graduated.
It is reflecting on girls who have graduated and hearing what they are up to now, their careers, having their own families. My daughter has joked with me that I love ‘my girls’ more than I love her when I end a call hurriedly to attend to a boarder or her family. But we do get attached to those girls we look after, particularly those who we have known for all their teen years. We see girls blossom and grow which is such a privilege that we are very grateful for. We reminisce about girls who cried solidly with homesickness for a whole term when they started and end up school prefects or travelling and working overseas.
The most rewarding, and often emotional part of our job is when we send ‘our girls’ off into the wide world. It is with joy and confidence that we do this but like parents, we don’t want them to leave our RGGS nest.
We are looking forward to seeing the girls and hearing their updates from all their time back at home. Take Care.
Ms Stacey McCarthy
Head of Boarding