A day in the life of a Housemistress

Monday, 20 April 2015
A day in the life of a Housemistress

It’s the first day of Summer Term and Housemistress, Mrs Sandi Kaaber, is keen that every girl in her care has a happy return to school routine…

Today, as usual, I open St Anne’s Day House which is situated above the Pitstop at 8am, ready to greet the girls as they arrive back from the Easter holidays. I am keen to see everyone today as they’ve had a break away. Next I need to check of my emails and telephone messages to establish who is not coming into school today. As it’s the first day back of the new term there are very few notices of absence.

Registration is always at 8.30am and involves passing on information to the girls about the coming day, a time of reflection or prayer and a uniform check. Today Period One involved School Assembly and it is the Housemistress’s responsibility to ensure the girls remain quiet as they enter the Abbey Church and take their seats – no easy feat with 106 girls and especially when they haven’t seen each other for over three weeks!

Over 100 St Anne’s jumpers had been delivered over Easter break and once Assembly is finished, and with a little help from some enthusiastic Year 8s, the sweatshirts are divided into sizes and colour, ready to distribute to the girls.

Much of the time, the role of a Housemistress, especially for so many girls, is dealing with personal problems that may be affecting their performance whilst at school. These problems range across a whole variety of issues and it often takes considerable time to ensure a girl feels able to deal with school life in a positive way. Today was no exception; my first meeting of the day involved talking to a girl and her parents for over an hour.

In September, the School is opening a second Day House for girls, St Catherine’s so some of the girls from St Anne’s will transfer. This involves meeting with several staff members to try and ensure each girl is given the opportunity to be in either the House of their choice or be with friends of their choice. It’s a very tricky process and proving to be very complicated, and takes me lunchtime to complete.

It’s the afternoon already and I really wanted to go to the Austin Oval and support the Year 7 & 8 girls during their rounders’ team selection. However, as often happens, a tearful pupil arrived at the office door just as I was heading out. A pupil’s wellbeing will always take precedent over anything else and it was back into the office for another hour to discuss the forthcoming public exams. It often takes a while to calm girls down!

Today required the booking of two forthcoming events and the selection of a menu for a third. I couldn’t decide on something that all the girls would like, so I decided to wait and get their thoughts. I also wrote an email to the parents of those girls going on study leave soon, to ensure everyone knows where and when to be in school or not!

It is difficult to keep anything quiet in St Anne’s and news of the arrival of the jumpers had spread like wildfire and the girls were very keen to take possession. To ensure everyone gets the right one they all have to be signed for. Doing this at the same time as registering over 100 for afternoon registration certainly took some degree of managing. However, all pupils were registered and seemed pleased with their tops.

I ended the day with an hour’s supervision of a prep period, a tidy of the house, washing up, writing the notices for the board and ensuring those pupils who intend to stay late are registered. Once this is done I can finally lock all the rooms, ready to start all over again tomorrow…

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