To past and present friends, acquaintances and colleagues, and ex-students.
Today, June 6th, 2015 is officially my last day as an Australian school principal. I have been on leave from the New South Wales Department of Education and Communities up until now, but it ends today and official retirement begins tomorrow.
All the speeches have been made and farewells completed long ago, but I can’t help making this one, last reflection, on such an auspicious day 🙂
I leave public education extremely grateful for the opportunity to have served the children and communities of two schools in NSW, as principal. I leave with a profound sense of satisfaction and cherish the kind words expressed by both my Area and Regional supervisors, along with the generous speeches made by members of the staff at Portland Central School, during my private and public farewells. Thank you.
I thank all the people I have worked with over the years, including all those who were a challenge to me and helped develop my abilities, and subsequently, greater self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses. I especially wish to thank all those who deliberately helped and supported me during my career; I will never forget the instances of kindness, understanding and support shown to me during particularly stressful times.
The greatest, single change in education during my career has been the complete paradigm shift in teaching, learning and administration that has accompanied the rapid development of information and communications technology; the present reality was incomprehensible and unimaginable when I started teaching.
The most disappointing aspect has been the utter failure of Australian politicians to adequately address inequality of opportunity. In fact, both major political parties have been complicit in exacerbating inequality in Australia by entrenching socioeconomic advantage through the privatisation of education, by stealth, and the misallocation of resources. Another disappointment for me has been a general erosion of what I consider to be positive values within our communities, over the years.
The things that have warmed my heart and made me optimistic about public education have been the selfless dedication and generous camaraderie of many fellow principals in the Central West of NSW, where I worked as a school principal, and several charismatic and exceptional teachers that I have had the privilege to work with. I am also heartened by the outstanding qualities that I saw in many young, beginning teachers. Teaching can often be thankless, but it is an honourable profession and much more difficult now than when I first started my career in education.
I could go on and on; but I should finish now (no pun intended). It has been a truly surprising, fascinating and wonderful career and I feel very, very fortunate.