THIS CLEAR ISLAND WATERS LOCAL IS COUNTING DOWN TO HER VOLUNTEER GIG AT THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES
My first experience of the Commonwealth Games was going to the Brisbane Games as a spectator with Mum and Dad in 1982. I’m Brisbane born and bred. I lived at Holland Park and when I was in Year 11 at school, decided one night at swimming club I was going to be a teacher.
I studied at Mount Gravatt Teachers College and my first posting was at Serviceton South State School at Inala.
I did a couple of years there then met my Canadian husband-to-be Phil who was in Australia on a rugby tour.
There was no taking leave from the Education Department in those days so I resigned and we took off travelling together, mainly through Canada and the US. Mum and Dad didn’t say a word but I suspect they didn’t think it was a very good idea.
When we returned to Australia, Phil decided to live on the Gold Coast and I worked at a restuarant, a shoe store then a fashion shop. We did a snow season at Mount Buller and came back to the Coast. To earn a bit of extra money, I did some promotions work and a few TV commercials.
I returned to teaching in 1984 at Labrador State School where I stayed for six years.
To satisfy the travel bug, I did a travel agent course at night through TAFE and just had to give it a go. I ended up working at Thomas Cook Travel Agency at Broadbeach. Everything was done by hand and over the phone in those days.
I left to have my first child in 1990 and when my daughter was two, I returned to teaching at Mudgeeraba State School in a perfect tag team arrangement with my teaching mate. We shared the job and looked after each other’s kids on our days off.
I stayed at dear old Mudgeeraba for 25 years until I retired from teaching last year. I’ve seen a lot of changes in that time.
Basically kids are still kids; it’s parents who’ve changed the most. Technology has offered great learning experiences but it brings its own problems of course.
A lot of teachers will tell you they need to spend more time data collecting these days and that the curriculum is very crowded. It’s fair to say it can be a challenge teaching 11-year-old boys about the history of the women’s movement in Australia.
When I left teaching, the plan was always to do some sort of volunteering before thinking about my next move. I was at a lunch one day when someone mentioned they’d be looking for thousands of volunteers for the Commonwealth Games.
I gave them a ring and it turns out I was a bit early. I ended up being one of the first four volunteers and my job was to interview the thousands of volunteer applicants who’d be joining us. I loved it. I must have spoken to everyone from the 14-year-olds wanting to meet their sporting heroes to the 83-year-old who’d just finished the Capes Walk in Western Australia.
It’s busy and exciting times ahead for everyone working at the Games.
At times I miss teaching. I miss seeing the kids most of all. I won’t rule out a return to supply teaching one of these days, but for now we’re all full steam ahead with the Games. Like a lot of the Gold Coast, I’ll think about my next move after April.