I couldn’t help but feel quite nostalgic as I locked the classroom doors to the old demountable classrooms on the weekend. Twenty-four years of education in these classrooms comes to end. The classrooms have held generations of families, learners, teachers, school officers and Sisters of the Good Samaritan. Some of you may even remember when the classrooms were placed into position back in 1998. I am sure some of the memories for a teacher would have included many laughs, teachable moments where they ‘got it’, boring moments, kids falling asleep in class, never being able to create a good seating chart for some classes because they were all such good friends; the monotony of spelling tests and dictation, lively and fierce debates...just to name a few. My fondest memory was teaching the current Year 2/3 students for five weeks when they were in Prep and Year 1. It was bliss and I felt more alive then ever. I remember the kids complaining that the crows were eating the vegies, so we decided, along with Mrs Roth’s help to make a scarecrow. They traced around my body because they thought a scarecrow had to be as “BIG” as me. The bigger the better they would say…“we can’t have a small scarecrow Miss O’Connor, that wouldn’t be scary enough!” Children at that age are brutally honest. I think we called the scarecrow, Joey. I remember being so exhausted at the end of some days that I didn’t know how I’d come back in the morning, but it was well and truly worth it. I loved every minute of it.
I often remember the words that were said to me as a beginning teacher many years ago: “Every day could be the day that a child reminds you of twenty years from now.” I often wonder about the many memories that past students hold of moments in those classrooms and how many times they have reminded a teacher 5, 10, 20 years down the track. I am sure we could write a book about them all.
We are about to embark on a new era at St Joseph’s, Gayndah. There are exciting and hope-filled times ahead! In the first week of the school holidays, our demountable classrooms will be removed, and our building site will be established. It will certainly be a sight to see. I plan to share photos & videos of the progress on Facebook. So, keep an eye out!