Bye bye blackboard after 34 years

03:12, Dec 14 2012

Teaching is in the blood for departing Marlborough Boys' College assistant principal Graham Northage.

The 57-year-old finishes up today, 34 years after he started teaching at the college on February 1, 1979, and 35 years since joining the college as a student teacher.

Mr Northage is moving to Nelson with his children in mid-January to join wife Catherine Northage.

Part of what convinced him to stay at the college so long was the community camaraderie.

"You won't stay in a job for 34 years if the grind of dealing with the boys and all the satellite communities of this town was too much.

"I really love living in Marlborough.


"I love the people, the community and the kids - even the difficult kids, they usually grow up and come right."

The former Wellingtonian taught English and social sciences after gaining an arts degree in history and English at Victoria University and a masters in history at Canterbury.

However, he had long known he was meant for the job.

Mr Northage was assured of this while in London about 18 years ago.

He was sitting on a bus with a group of noisy, unruly high school children when he was forced to stand up in the middle of the aisle and give them a stern telling-off, he said.

They sat down quick and not a sound was heard from them for the rest of the bus ride.

"It's in my blood," Mr Northage said.

"When you're a school teacher, you're always a school teacher.

"I love that line Rob Muldoon said - ‘you can tell a school teacher, but you can't tell them much'."

Mr Northage would miss the community, college and students. Seeing the potential of Maori and Pasifika students and their support of one another had been one of the highlights of this year.

The Marlborough Express