At Melbourne Girls Grammar, our students have multiple ways to access help when they need it. One of the unique support networks our Grammarians have access to is Academic Coaches.
Academic Coaches are recently graduated Old Grammarians who support current students from Year 9 to 12 on tasks as varied as homework, study and revision skills, or subject-specific coursework. These staff members are balancing their roles with their studies at some of Melbourne’s premier universities.
MGGS’s Learning Commons – located in the Artemis Centre and VCE Workspace – is where students can access Academic Coaches.
Academic Coaches are available for students throughout the day during Independent Learning Time (free periods) and lunchtime. They are also available for one-on-one sessions, if Grammarians require it.
The coaches specialise in a variety of VCE and Year 9 and 10 subjects such as Maths, English, Science, Humanities, the Arts, Languages and Health and PE.
They also prepare in-person or online tutorials and resources such as study tips and revision notes that students can access anytime.
Charlotte Williams (2020) and Chrissy Vakkas (2019) are just two of the 15 Academic Coaches Grammarians can access.
Charlotte, who has been an Academic Coach for two years, was exposed to the program in Year 9, while Chrissy’s introduction was in her final year at MGGS.
Chrissy, who is in her third year as an Academic Coach, says the program is innovative and often stirs intrigue from people asking her what she does for work.
“I’ve worked here for so long that it kind of feels like it’s normal to me, but whoever I tell that didn’t go to MGGS or people I meet at university are really impressed by it,” she said.
“I think it’s a really cool idea and very innovative. It’s very rewarding to be part of it.”
Charlotte said Academic Coaches were another valuable support network the School offers its Senior Years students.
“For me, it was amazing having them because I was already bugging my teachers enough, so it was nice to have another person I could go talk to,” she said.
“It just felt like more casual help, which I think is the real advantage of them. It’s not as stressful, as some people don’t want to organise a meeting with their teacher because it’s more of a formal relationship.
“Having the coaches, you can just walk up and be like, ‘I just want help with one question, it’s going to take two minutes, but I just cannot understand it’, or ‘I don’t know how to use my CAS (Calculator) can you just quickly show me how to do this question?’ That was really helpful when I was here.”
Charlotte and Crissy agree that being Academic Coaches allows them to remain connected to the MGGS community while helping other members of it.
The pair also say it compliments and assists what they are doing at university — Charlotte with her Bachelor of Commerce and Chrissy with her Arts degree at the University of Melbourne.
Year 12 student Bella said Academic Coaches are “pure and individual to our School”, helping her mostly with units 3 and 4 of Maths Methods.
“Academic Coaches are seen as an extra opinion and helping hand that helps put subjects into a different perspective,” she said.
“This allows students to develop different learning capabilities and create friendships with people exposed to university life outside of school.”
Bella says the coaches are “an alternative option and way of thinking” for students to access and are also “role models for our future selves and gives us the ability to ask about university options from students currently participating in tertiary studies”.
Year 10 Grammarian Tilly says she uses the coaches frequently, predominately for English, Maths, Humanities and Health – her sole VCE class.
She says the coaches are very supportive and accessible.
“Most of them, especially this year, I’ve noticed that I’ve known them so much more, and you can always go up to them and say hi, even if you don’t have homework to do, and have a chat with them, which is good,” she said.
“I love when they read over my work because they’ve got some really good notes, and there’s so many of them to help us.
“Normally, I’ll do my work, such as an essay, and get one person to read it, then another person, so by the end, it’s travelled around the room, and I’ve got the best set of notes and feedback on it because everyone’s good at different things, which is so helpful.”
Find out more about our Senior Years program here.