Class is over after almost four decades
Class is over after almost four decadesLAUREN HAYES
A Southland teacher will today say goodbye to the classroom which, for almost 40 years, has been her second home.
Thornbury School teacher Rayleen Davis will today celebrate her last official day on the job after a massive 39 years of service.
The veteran has been teaching since 1969, helming classrooms at Lochiel, Balclutha, Isla Bank and Riverton as well as her long stint at Thornbury. She has even taught three generations of one family.
The length of time is made more impressive by the fact Mrs Davis never intended to be a teacher.
Initially, the country girl wanted to go farming, something her mother did not approve of, and when her boarding school principal began handing out teachers' college enrolment forms, the teenager scoffed.
It was not until one of her friends mentioned students at the college received a special allowance that Mrs Davis decided she might give the teacher thing a try. "It wasn't to be any great educationalist or to put the world to rights, it's because you got paid at college."
Mrs Davis received [PndStlg]11 a fortnight during her two years at teachers' college and was left with [PndStlg]1 after rent and travel expenses were paid.
Decades later, Mrs Davis believes she made the right decision.
She enjoyed her years in the classroom, especially the Thornbury spirit at pet days and other school events where the whole community, grandparents and neighbours included, showed up.
"It's probably the thing I'll miss. It's just been a good district."
It was the increase in education paperwork which prompted Mrs Davis, tired of spending evenings or Sunday mornings at school to catch up, to call it quits, she said.
"With every job now there's more paperwork and that's just the way of the world. My husband thinks I live here."
Once fully retired, she plans to tend to her Riverton garden, lie in on Sundays and read, and spend more time with her husband.
Thornbury School principal Anne Batt said Mrs Davis, an "icon" at the school, was always open to new ideas and would leave big shoes to fill.
"She goes above and beyond, she really does. She loves the kids and she loves the school."
Mrs Davis will be officially farewelled with a community dance in January.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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