When Nareen walks through the CGGS campus, she is followed by a chorus of hellos, smiles and waves from students and staff alike. You’ll find her in all corners of the school: on the oval coaching, in the classroom teaching, in her office chatting one on one with students, or up on stage presenting. She does it all!
Nareen always knew she wanted to be a teacher. “From an early age, there was never any question of what I was going to do with my life. It was always going to be teaching!” Her interest in being a teacher was solidified by her own high school teacher, “My own high school Health and PE teacher really understood and supported her students, and appeared to have the best job in the world. I wanted that job!”
After graduating from Deakin University, she spent a few years working in school aftercare programs, as a swimming coach and running holiday programs all across Melbourne. “I loved that work. My first time at CGGS was actually running a Camp Australia program in the afternoon here,” Nareen explains.
In 1997, Nareen commenced her first full-time teaching position as a Health and PE teacher at a co-educational school in the eastern suburbs, where she remained for 18 years before coming to CGGS in 2015. “I started at CGGS the same year my eldest daughter Michaela (Class 2020) started Year 7. She actually claims to have been the first Robinson at CGGS because she started two days before I did,” Nareen laughs.
Nareen has held many positions since arriving at CGGS, teaching at both Junior and Senior School. She’s been Year Level Coordinators of Years 10-12, was Deputy Head of Senior School for Student Wellbeing and she has even done a stint in the Foundation Office in a community relationships role. Currently, she is a Health and PE teacher, a GSV sport coach and the Year 11 Coordinator, which is probably the most fulfilling role for her.
“The most rewarding part of my role is having a hand in guiding and nurturing the amazing young people that come through the school gate each day, and watching them develop into the person they most want to be, whatever that is,” Nareen explains. CGGS students approach Nareen with such ease, they are drawn to her nurturing nature and know that her door is always open. Nareen’s eldest daughter and 2020 CGGS Sports Captain, Michaela, agrees “Mum completes her job with her whole heart and always puts her students or year levels needs before her own.”
In fact, all the Robinson two of her girls are still here at CGGS! In addition to Nareen, there’s Michaela (Class 2020 12), Ella (Year 12) and Liana (Year 10). When talking about her daughters, Nareen jokes about setting some ground rules, “I did make it clear early on that I wouldn’t respond to ‘Mum’ on school grounds.”
Although it may be strange at times seeing her daughters at her place of work, Nareen feels privileged to get to see her three girls blossom in their school environment. “Honestly, it has been the biggest blessing. To watch them grow in confidence and be encouraged in their endeavours is incredibly special.”
The girls don’t mind having mum at school either, they see the unique benefits. “I love that whilst I am fully able to be independent through this chapter of my life, I have also been able to take this journey with my mum by my side,” Michaela explains. Liana agrees, “I like having my mum at school, it’s nice to see her every day.”
The Robinson house is a sporty one, with an abundance of sports in their repertoire including athletics, softball, diving, basketball, cycling and hockey – sedentary, they are not. “I think I’ve played every GSV sport that CGGS has to offer,” Ella laughs.
When reflecting on why she chose to be a part of the education industry, Nareen knows she’s picked wisely. “For me, it was a perfect way to combine my love of sport and physical activity with a career that I knew would bring me joy and fulfilment, and it does, every day.” She continues, “CGGS students bring me joy in so many ways, and I couldn’t imagine a life outside of teaching. Best job ever!”