Spotlight On: Maria Hodges
Meet our new Head of Junior School, Maria Hodges. Maria has a wealth of experience in the independent sector, mostly recently with Christ Church Grammar and believes building positive relationships are key to experiencing success. Since starting at Wesley this year, Maria has launched herself into the community, leading celebrations for International Women’s Day (with a special focus on Wesley’s young women) and Harmony Day – all in the spirit of inclusivity which is a hallmark of Wesley College.
We asked Maria to share a bit of her background with us.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
I always wanted to teach, and it would have to be the many wonderful teachers I encountered throughout my own schooling who inspired me. My earliest recollection of this was the time I was chosen by Miss Clark in Year 2 to help run worksheets off the mimeograph machine. It used purple ink and smelt amazing. You had to be the best worker of the day to be chosen!
Then there was Mr Manook in Year 7 who would drill writing skills into us and if we worked well, he would take us for barbeques at the end of each term. I also loved my Year 9 maths teacher Miss O’Meara. She really showed me how much fun maths was! Mr Bull took us by bus to show us significant areas in Perth and teach us about the settlement period of early Australia. Our classroom was often the outdoors and we thrived and looked forward to our next lesson. And not to forget Mrs Pitos who praised my cooking skills in Home Economics and made me feel so proud in front of my peers.
All of these experiences and more made me love learning and admire the abilities of the amazing educators I aspired to be like, one day.
How long have you been teaching?
I have now been teaching for nearly 20 years! I started in government schools and then moved to the independent sector. I have taught in both co-ed and single sex settings, across all primary year groups.
Tell us about some of your teaching highlights, before you started here at Wesley.
It is so hard to choose a few when I have had so many. The most rewarding, and memorable experiences, happen when I run into former students who are all grown up – they are so delighted to see me and tell me what they are doing now. (And I’ll be honest – it is always a highlight when they tell me I taught their favourite year at school!)
Last year I really enjoyed completing action research into character education and presenting my findings at Oxford University. That was certainly a career highlight.
What made you choose to join Wesley?
Well to be honest, I hadn’t planned to leave my previous school. However, something caught my interest when I heard about this position at Wesley. On further investigation and after talking to industry insiders I learnt more about the College and I was hooked. Everything about Wesley pulled me in and I guess my fate was decided! I am so excited and grateful to be part of this community and my journey ahead.
What are you excited about looking forward to, now that you’re all settled in?
I am really looking forward to introducing some further co-curricular activities for the Junior school. The first one will be Mandarin class and I am hoping to lock in dance too. The plan is to commence in Term 2 and I hope to grow this program over the year. I am also looking at the concept of introducing a Play Group to the College for 0-3 Year olds.
Outside of school life, what are your favourite things to do?
I live near the beach so I love going for walks with my husband. My favourite past time is shopping and having two older girls of my own, we have the best of fun on shopping and coffee dates. Dinner in Fremantle with friends and then a movie would also rate highly as a favourite thing to do.
What does community mean to you?
Community is all about the village it takes to raise a child. Bonding together to give a strong sense of who we are and what we stand for surrounded in strong values and ideals is what community means to me.
The Junior School at Wesley College is from Pre-kindy to Year 4 and is co-educational. To find out more about our Junior School, click here.