MY PORT NOARLUNGA School Journey started as a parent. Niki began in 1988 and Jamie 1990. I was involved in the usual volunteer activities of the day – helping at Activity, hearing reading, fundraising committee, new uniform committee (Goodbye to the brown and gold!), fetes, concerts etc. I was also on the Governing Council for many years and did some music groups for JPs.
In 1989 a severe flu took out many teachers and the Principal asked if I would like to register with the Department and start as a TRT the next day. He was in class with receptions at the time! My previous teaching had been in Independent schools. Later that year I had a contract at Christies Beach Primary and as the years rolled on I moved between several Department schools, Catholic ones and Montessori.
At Port Noarlunga I had TRT and Contract work in Reception to Year 7 classes. I also had Specialist Contracts in Junior Primary PE, Health, Environmental Science, Japanese, Indonesian, Visual Arts/Media, and many years of Performing Arts. I also had time as a Wellbeing Co-ordinator and as the Aboriginal Education Teacher and Special Education Teacher.
In my Special Ed role, I had close relationships with many families as they worked through life with Negotiated Education Plans and I have been thrilled to still hear from many about the progress the students have made academically and in life in general. I also relied on the great support of the Speech Pathologists, Psychologists, Hearing Impairment Officers and so on. SSO’s being a huge part of any successes. I really loved those years. As our school began to have more students on the Autism Spectrum I tried to keep up with the new ways of thinking and working with these students with support from Autism SA and other agencies.
So, after decades of Beach Carnivals and Graduations where I have been able to see students grow and change I will now have to rely on the random running into them at shops and so on. I have had the interesting experience of teaching children of children and I would always preface the first lesson with “Would you like to hear how naughty your Mum/Dad was at school?” Great laughter ensued but the secrets stay with me.
I have worked with literally hundreds of colleagues – Leadership, teachers and SSOs and there has been laughter, tears and most importantly a lot of support for each other over the years.
There have been plenty of ‘tricky’ kids along the way and it has often been their progress, slow sometimes – socially or academically that is the most rewarding.
This week will be my last teaching week and I have been asked a lot about my retirement plans. I will enjoy babysitting my youngest granddaughter, time with family and friends, lots of time at Bunnings perusing plants, reading and hopefully a little travel.
I live nearby so I will still hear the bells and the occasional message for someone to go to the front office and while I may wonder why they are being summoned I will assume all is well as I go about a new chapter in life.