Bruce decides to leave school - at 65

03:45, Dec 11 2012
tdn kids stand
Bell Block Primary School Deputy Principal, Bruce Lobban is retiring after 25 years of service to the school.

When you start teaching your former students' children it's a good sign it's time to retire says Bell Block Primary School's Bruce Lobban.

The teaching veteran of 45 years will dust off the blackboard one last time next week when he heads home to Waitara to begin a new chapter.

Mr Lobban, 65, started his career in Hawke's Bay before moving to Wairarapa then to a sole-charge school in Pahia, Southland.

He taught all three of his children while in Pahia and his wife, Joyce, helped out.

"It was great teaching the kids because I never had to worry about taking a day off work to watch their athletics or swimming sports," he said.

The Lobban family moved to Taranaki in 1981 where he took up the post of principal at Tarata school for six years.


In 1987 Mr Lobban left the quiet rural life and moved to take on the job of deputy principal at Bell Block Primary School that at the time had a roll of almost 400 students.

It's the children that he will miss most but it was the thought of having to teach fulltime again that sealed his decision to retire.

"For the past few years I've been doing a lot of admin and teaching students maths but I haven't been a fulltime teacher.

"With the way the roll is heading it was likely I would have to go back to the classroom fulltime next year and I wasn't prepared to do that," he said.

"But there's plenty of things to be done around the house and I've got children, grandchildren and a great-grandchild to enjoy."

Mr Lobban said his time at the school was marked by the fact his former students were now mothers of new students at the school.

"That's part of the reason I know I need to get out," he said.

Maths is a real interest area but Mr Lobban said he was not a fan of national standards and all the assessment that came with it.

"There's so many more demands on teachers and the time taken to do assessments has taken the fun out of it."

Mr Lobban said the prospect of retirement was exciting - not to mention spending time outside of the classroom.

"I've spent my days in a classroom my entire life apart from five years and that was when I was aged nought to 5," he said.

Taranaki Daily News