What is your job?
I am a teacher at Tawonga Primary School. I teach grades 4, 5 and 6 – a group of 10 kids. It’s a really small school of 26, and I am teaching to a wide range of ability levels.
Is it something you always wanted to do?
I grew up in Geelong and Torquay, and became a builder straight out of school – that’s what I always wanted to be. Then my boss told me he was going around Australia with his family, and I needed to find a new job. A friend from Torquay told me he was doing a summer camp in America, and I thought, what the heck, I’ll give it a go. I was about 19 at the time, and at the camp I was working with upper primary aged kids. I took mountain biking and I did life guarding at the pool. On a building site it’s just you and the boss and a few tradies, and at the camp I really enjoyed working with people with a similar mindset as my own. My dad and brother are both teachers and I think I had been trying to find my own path. When I came back to Australia I went to Victoria University to do teaching and I worked at the local surf school in Anglesea all through uni. My first job was at Brimbank Secondary in St Albans, then we bought a house at Jan Juc and I worked at Lara Secondary for 11 years. During that time we did quite a bit of travelling in Europe. We went to Holland for my brother’s wedding and travelled through Sicily, Sardinia and Malta. During the summer holidays we’ve been to South America and Asia. We’ve been to 20 plus countries so far.
How did you come to be in the Kiewa Valley?
We moved here after visiting my brother who has been here for 10 years. We loved the area. I’ve always wanted to do an exchange in another country like Canada, but with a young family it’s not all that easy, so this is my substitute. I’ve taken leave without pay from Lara – 12 months initially, but I asked for another 12 because it has gone so quickly. My wife is a speech therapist, working with all the local schools. I applied to all the local schools for CRT work and got a job at Tawonga.
What do you love about the job?
I love being in a school with such a small number of kids. It allows us to do some fun and exciting things. We have done roller blading, and constructed a cross country and mountain bike track – things you just wouldn’t be able to do in a big school. With a small number of kids, it is much easier to extend them and it’s great to see the level that some kids can work at – kids that might get lost in a big system. I also really like the ski program. It’s so different from growing up on the coast.
What do you do in your spare time?
Mt Beauty is heaven because I love mountain bike riding, snowboarding and kayaking. I have two boys who love similar things and our family loves doing things together. The only thing missing is surfing.