TEARS will be shed at Nashdale Public School in the next couple of weeks as the school community farewells two of its best loved and longest serving teachers Gwenda Shave and Genise Flynn.
Between them the women take with them 80 years of teaching experience into their retirement.
However a firm friendship formed in the staffroom and on playground duty at the school means they will be catching up on a regular basis in their retirement.
Mrs Shave was just 18 when she first stepped into a classroom.
“In those days high school went to fifth year and teachers’ college was for two years.
“I can’t recall ever wanting to do any other career other than teaching,” she said.
Her friend and teaching colleague Mrs Flynn did consider her options as an air stewardess when she was choosing a career path.
“I was the right height and weight which you had to be in those days, but I managed to get a scholarship to teachers’ college,” she said.
Both women say they have seen various methods of teaching primary school maths and English come and go, but tried to stick to the principles they knew would provide the best literacy standards for their young pupils.
Mrs Shave said the support for students with reading and learning difficulties has come a long way since she started in the profession.
“For children with learning difficulties they are now able to access just so much more help,” she said.
Mrs Flynn said when she began teaching parent involvement in school activities was rare, in contrast to education today.
“We only saw the parents on education day.
She says the social norms are now vastly different to the education system she entered as a young woman.
“Most parents were together, which often isn’t the case these days,” Mrs Shave said.
They say changes in community attitudes also meant big changes for teachers in the classroom and playground during their teaching years.
“If I child fell over you used to be able to cuddle them and put a Band-Aid on,” Mrs Shave said.
“Now the first thing we have to do is ring the parent before anything happens,” agreed Mrs Flynn.
Both women say their teaching experiences at Nashdale have been enriched by a strong school community.
“We have had some absolutely fantastic parents helping us out,” Mrs Shave said.
Refreshingly for some parents and students, the women say they don’t believe in homework for young children.
“I have tried to place an emphasis on using things the kids do at home or in their spare time as homework - things like practising their music or cleaning their room at home,” Mrs Flynn said.
“Reading to your child at home can also be considered homework,” Mrs Shave said.
Mrs Shave has been teaching for 47 years and Mrs Flynn for 33.