Passion keeps educators coming back
For the region’s long-serving teachers, their love for the job and for teaching children is as strong as ever.
At Dimboola Memorial Secondary College, assistant principal Sally Klinge is entering her 38th year working in education and knows some teachers from a previous chapter of her life – they are her daughters.
Kristin works with her at Dimboola, Elizabeth at Horsham College and Jennifer at Holy Trinity Lutheran College in Horsham. Mrs Klinge said they found their callings even though she encouraged her children to do other things.
“I think they’re probably the same as me – they like imparting knowledge and just working with other people,” she said.
“They have all actually returned to the Wimmera – they weren’t always in the region but they’ve all come back to teach, which is pretty unusual.”
This is a trajectory Mrs Klinge followed herself. Having first taught at Dimboola on a studentship in 1981, she returned to educate at Rainbow Secondary College a few years later.
She has also taught at Jeparit Primary and St Peter’s Lutheran School Dimboola. Like her daughters, Ms Klinge missed the space and familiarity of the Wimmera.
She said mobile phones were the biggest change she had witnessed in schooling since she began.
“There are probably more challenges, more influences on people’s lives. Life is no longer as simple as it used to be and... those problems then come into schools,” she said.
Marian College’s enhancement co-ordinator Rose Rowe first arrived in Ararat in 1984 from Melbourne, where she trained as a physical education teacher.
“It was quite a change from Melbourne where I had grown up. It was wonderful coming to a country area. The experiences were great and very different,” Ms Rowe said.
Ms Rowe has had some time away from Marian College, including working as Ararat Rural City Council’s recreation officer and teaching prep in Stawell.
Each time she returned to Marian College, Ms Rowe said she found “absence made the heart grow fonder”.
“My experience in primary school helped me understand the process of (children) gaining reading and writing skills,” she said.
“I have a whole new respect for primary teachers, and hopefully some greater insights for when students transition into secondary.”
Ms Rowe attributed her long and fruitful career in education to her feeling “like a kid that had never grown up”.
“I think that comes from my background in phys ed,” she said.
“When you can see you’ve made a difference in someone’s day, it makes it all worthwhile, and I guess I haven’t lost that yet.”
New teachers wooed by Wimmera
TWO teachers starting their first jobs at Horsham College next week could be well-suited to the Wimmera.
Their favorite extracurricular activities include rock-climbing and hiking.
Jonathan Dutaillis is a new drama and media studies teacher and Rosemary Lloyd will teach humanities subjects to years seven to nine students.
Mr Dutaillis said growing up in Armidale, New South Wales influenced him when putting in his preferences under the Teach For Australia program.
“I wanted to be in a regional place and was also really attracted to the Grampians and Arapiles because I’m a big rock climber,” he said.
“I also wanted to be part of a smaller community and feel like I’m contributing to something a bit broader than working in a metro school.”
Natural attractions are also what interest Ms Lloyd, who arrived in the region with her partner David on Thursday.
Ms Lloyd said she was looking forward to hiking, rowing and kayaking, after living in Melbourne’s far south-east for the past 18 years.
“As part of the program, you can offer to just be moved anywhere, and I thought that would be a wonderful adventure. I didn’t specifically ask for Horsham, but I was just overjoyed when I found out I’d be going because there’s a lot to do,” she said.
Ms Lloyd said she was looking forward to finding out what her students want to achieve and trying to facilitate this.
“Being humanities, the stuff you learn is fascinating and really useful. In civics you understand how the government works and in history you learn what led to the modern world,” she said.
Ms Lloyd said she and David were impressed by how many facilities there were available in Horsham, and that the town had made them feel welcome.
Associates teach at a school serving a low socioeconomic community with full salary and benefits for two years under the TFA program.
Time will tell whether Ms Lloyd and Mr Dutaillis decide to stay here after their placements conclude.
“That was something David and I talked about as soon as we found out it was Horsham. We said this could be a permanent thing,” Ms Lloyd said.
“I hope that stays on the cards. We like the idea of moving around but we’ll definitely stay rural and I have a feeling we’re just going to fall in love with the town.”
While this will be the start of a career for Mr Dutaillis and Ms Lloyd, for another new Horsham College teacher and TFA associate it will be a career change.
Natimuk’s Robert Oliver will become a maths and digital technology teacher after a 15-year career in construction which involved installing major art exhibitions in Melbourne.
Mr Oliver said teaching was a career he had considered for a while.
“I have a young family now, and part of it was looking for something that was a bit more community oriented, more aligned with what the family will be doing, and also looking at providing a bit more value in the community I guess as the kids get older,” he said,
“I see teaching as a good way of doing that.”
Mr Oliver’s partner Anna is set to give birth to their second child next week, when school returns.
Overall seven teachers will enter Horsham College and Warracknabeal Secondary College this year under the Teach For Australia program, taking the total number of TFA associates to 73 across eight schools since 2010.
Prizibillas drawn together by opportunity
Jason and Amanda Przibilla were in near-identical life situations when they arrived in Horsham in 2005.
The pair moved to the Wimmera to start graduate teaching roles at Horsham Lutheran Primary School, now known as Holy Trinity Lutheran College.
Both were 23 and planned to stay for two years before returning to their home cities of Brisbane, for Amanda, and Adelaide for Jason.
“My main reasons for wanting to return home were the fact that all my family and friends were back in SA, I had lived there all my life and at the time I didn't know anyone who lived in Horsham,” Mr Przibilla said.
“I was worried about homesickness and how I would settle into the community.
But plans changed when they met, later married and now plan to stay on in their senior roles at the school while they raise their three young children Maya, 8, Zara, 6 and Maxwell, 4.
Today, Jason is head of the middle school and Amanda an English and food technology teacher. They say they have achieved things they may not have elsewhere.
“Taking on a leadership position has given me invaluable experience in being a part of building and developing a middle school from the ground up,” Mr Przibilla said.
“Then principal, Mr Jeff Gork, mentioned to me at the time, ‘Some people will never get the opportunity to do what you and your team are about to embark on’.”
Mrs Przibilla agreed: “From teaching foundation students up to year 10 students, the experience and skills I have gained throughout the years has been invaluable and rewarding.”
Nonetheless, as the retention of teachers in the Wimmera remains an issue, Mr and Mrs Przibilla said teachers needed more than the promise of a rewarding career to move for their work.
Mr Przibilla suggested more scholarships and incentives.
“(These) could provide local schools with greater bargaining power to entice the best graduates to make a move to the Wimmera,” he said.
“In my experience, I have seen many quality teachers return to the Wimmera after moving away for study and I believe finding ways to develop local talent should always be explored.”
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