Purple runs deep in the DNA of Mrs Viv McMillan

The Old Girtonians Association is delighted to bestow an Honorary Associate Life Membership on Mrs Viv McMillan for achieving twenty years of service to Girton Grammar School.

Viv is a Melbourne University graduate and after completing a Bachelor of Science Education, she commenced work as a teacher at St. Mary of the Angels Secondary College in Nathalia. She also taught at St. Columba’s College, Essendon, before commencing at Girton Grammar School in 1999.

Over her 20 years at Girton, Viv has worn many hats and been many things to many people.

Since 1999, she has taught Mathematics, Science and Information Technology to generations of Girtonians and she has supported countless LRC students, especially in Numeracy. Many people say that Viv has purple blood running in her veins and this is easy to believe given that she was one of the original House Tutors for Millward, remaining so for 19 years, and her husband John, was the founding Head of Millward House. Naturally, Viv and John’s two children, Patrick and Katherine, who attended Senior School at Girton, were also in Millward, confirming that purple is deep in the DNA profile of the McMillan’s.

For many years, Viv could be found at the Schweppes stadium on a Friday night, as MiC of Basketball. She continues to support the growing Basketball Club by being a team Manager and staying intricately involved with the players and coaches, watching young people build confidence and resilience. She says that young people can learn much from sport including accepting decisions and understanding that everyone has something different to offer the game.

Viv’s colleagues hold a deep respect for her teaching expertise and she is valued for many reasons, both professional and personal. She is deeply knowledgeable of her teaching content, an exceptional proof-reader of exams and assessments and adept at identifying content that should and shouldn’t be included in assessment tasks.

There are three main character traits that colleagues admire in Viv that have been unwavering throughout her career.

Firstly, Viv is respected for her patience, especially with students. She solves issues where she can and her deep concern for her students is evidenced in the time that she takes to tackle issues alongside her young charges. She is attentive to the learning needs of all students and no one in her classes are left behind.

Viv is renowned for her calm and gentle nature. In the sometimes turbulent world of teaching, her composed demeanour can help to stabilise the energy in a classroom. Wearing the angst of teenage demands bravely she can steady the ship and quietly chart a clear course, helping students to take responsibility for their own learning along the way. One colleague summed up Viv’s gentle but purposeful way by saying that while Viv is quiet, when she speaks she is worth listening to.

Finally, Viv is known by her colleagues to be reliable. She does not expect others to solve problems for her and she stays true to her values, always. Colleagues describe her as a quiet achiever who simply gets on with the job and wants nothing more than to be an excellent teacher. Accumulation of accolades has never been her desire.

In her own words, Viv sums up what she loves about teaching:

There is no job more exciting than teaching. Teaching is never dull, every day is different to the day before, and you have to constantly think on your feet. It’s such a privilege to work with the young people of Girton Grammar School. They are enthusiastic and keen to learn and share ideas. Building positive relationships with students is always rewarding.”

Mrs Viv McMillan, for twenty years of outstanding service to Girton Grammar School, we thank you.