A return to Grimwade continues a multi-generational connection

When Steph Freeman (OM 2004) speaks about the sense of community she feels at Grimwade House, it’s with a voice of rare experience.

From 1958 to 2010 inclusive – a period of 53 years – either Ms Freeman, or at least one member of Ms Freeman’s immediate family, attended Melbourne Grammar School, save for a two-year gap between her youngest uncle graduating and her oldest brother commencing.

“We all still feel like this place is a part of us,” Ms Freeman says. “Even my mother has friends today who she met when she was a Grimwade House parent. My family are so thrilled that I’ve come back as a teacher at Grimwade to continue that connection.”

Ms Freeman brings nine years’ experience across both coeducational and single-sex classrooms to the School, including two years at Malaysia’s Australian International School, which championed a ‘visible thinking’ approach.  She is now completing her Master of Education through Monash University, examining educational leadership and policy.

“When I saw the teaching position advertised at Grimwade House, I jumped at it,” Ms Freeman says. “I loved the sense of belonging the School had. Those are the kinds of schools that have attracted me throughout my career.”

A student at Grimwade House from Prep to Year 6, Ms Freeman says that while a great many elements of Grimwade have adapted to meet the needs of new generations, its sense of community remains unchanged. “There’s a feeling of coming home – and there are some familiar faces,” she says. “I had Brad Whittle as my Year 2 teacher and I remember how funny, encouraging and supportive he was. That’s the kind of experience that inspires me when I think about how I want to teach.”

Speaking about her experiences working in the classroom, Ms Freeman says some of her most exciting moments have come from working with students to overcome academic challenges or to present new challenges to very able students. “Progress is my focus, regardless of a student’s starting point,” she says. “I want to make sure they can all see their own progress. I love to see the joy on a student’s face when they achieve something they originally thought might be difficult or even impossible.”

“As I said to parents at an information evening earlier this year, Grimwade House was such a significant place for my family, I want to make sure they feel the exact same way,” Ms Freeman adds. “I’m passionate about educating young people not only in the academic sense, but more broadly than that. It’s about educating the whole student, which is something this School does so brilliantly. That’s why I’m excited to be part of it again.”