"But you can't!!" (......go back).

Months of quiet, calm retirement and, SUDDENLY, too much to do!
37 years I taught primary school children.
I repeat that so often now.
In my fifth year of teaching it all came to a first plateau!
At Riverstone P.S., my first appointment, 1964-1966, I’d found my feet. The executives there had got used to my Dutch-ways of doing things and come to appreciate my input in art, dance, music, etc.. (A pity that soccer wasn’t the go there. It would have been perfect.)
The next and fourth year ( 9 hours’ drive away from home, in a one-teacher-school ) was like a baptism of fire; like walking on hot coals.
Sydney was too far away and I awoke in fright. The kids were great but the majority of the towns-folk were not impressed.
There was no running water. No electricity and three times, I changed accommodation, within about eight months, ending up far out of the three-house town.
So being ‘banished’ to Bourke was such a relief! Back into my stride!
There I was allowed to have the kids paint a huge backdrop, in the local returned service men and women’s club. I put on my version of “Alice in Wonderland”. and had all the kids square dancing, etc., etc..
But, by enrolling in the Art Teachers Conversion Course, I was able to get moved as close to home, in Sydney, as possible and that’s how I was appointed to Mascot Public School, where it all came together – for me.
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I could do it all!
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Enter the pupils’ art in the Waratah Festival, in Hyde Park.
Teach all the primary school pupils dances like Pride of Erin, Canadian Three Step, March o’the Mods, etc., etc..
Run the school dances. Coach THREE levels of soccer teams.
And……go for my first promotion.
Hardly time to breathe, what with four nights at “East Sydney Tech.” and four weeks there, during the holidays.
Membership of the Dutch Syllabus Committees, in the Department of Education, etc., etc..
A colleague, at this school, whom I very much admired for his way with children with learning difficulties, kept joking about how I was on my way to become “The Minister of Education, one day!”
Not quite my intention – but they were, no doubt, the best three years of my teaching career.
Bourke (Intermediate High) School had been like the build-up to that. And Busby West was like the curtain-call. Still full of fun and energy and taking me to 1976.
Since then, still had a lot of fun and the daily interaction with so many great kids.
But the Bourke-Mascot-Busby West-years, (1967- 1975) were like the hump, -when it all clicked.
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Mascot School seemed like an OLD, comfortable, well-worn lounge, or home, or slippers, back then, in the early seventies, – close to Botany Road, close to the landing planes that almost seemed to touch the roofs of the houses across the road, and with what seemed like acres and acres of grass that could come up to your knees at the back of it. .
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The grass was more contained, when I visited the day before yesterday. The school had been ‘given’ a brand new assembly hall, where I watched very relaxed pupils, on the stage, enjoying singing along to some popular songs and then, when I wandered back through the infants buildings (where WE only came, in to the Infants Mistress’ domain, to have the staff photo taken ) and up the staircase that I used to BOUNCE down, when I was teaching there, I was struck by how boarded-up and well-worn some sections looked.
Very familiar!
However, rather a stark contrast to the shiny, new assembly hall.
But, please!
Don’t misunderstand.

It’s the quality of the teaching and the classroom management that matters!!
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There was an indignant response, elsewhere to this “Journal Entry” of mine. The boards were there because a lift is being built to give access for disabled pupils.
The response read, in part: “Why didn’t you ask someone about those boards?”
Answer: Lack of opportunity. I won’t let that spoil my nostalgic trip, back to the school that was the setting for my favourite years out of the 37 years of teaching. (Others came VERY close!!)

Journal Comments

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