Report: Lillian Leptos
I’m not ready for the welcome that greets Maryam as she enters the room at Campbellfield Primary School.
Maryam is a classroom volunteer there, but in the months she has been attending her placement, she has been involved in a huge number of activities across the school.
Today, Maryam is helping supervise the dance class. They run to mob her as soon as they see her and with disco lights flashing and music blaring, she is dragged onto the dancefloor by a cluster of squealing students.
Today, the dance session is more freeform, but last term there was preparation for a public performance which added to the excitement of the rehearsal. The students brought their own music today and they spontaneously burst into song. The room vibrates with the sound.
An enthusiastic worker, willing to turn her hand to anything, Maryam has been involved in classwork, testing students on their maths tables, taken a volleyball class, and lent a hand in the student support activities across a range of other classes.
She has also helped with many administrative duties, preparing resources for the teachers. It is with clear pride that principal Suzie Bellizia outlines the scope of her former student’s successful involvement at the school. She is impressed with the growth she has seen in Maryam since her time at the school as a former student.
“She has developed a warm, chatty manner that the students and staff respond to,” she says. “Even though she has a sibling at the school, Maryam has maintained professional distance and shown great maturity in dealing with the students. We are very proud of her.”
Maryam has had a deeper involvement in the school than most other volunteers, as she has also elected to do her work experience at Campbellfield PS. As I watch her fitting into the role of school aide, I wonder if she might not consider a role as an educator, but Maryam has other plans.
She already knows that she wants to join the police force.
“Here in the school my job is to help the students achieve what they are trying to do,” she says.
“As a police officer, my job is going to be to help the community. So in the end the work is all about helping others.”