DONELLE COUL­TER

THIS CLEAR IS­LAND WA­TERS LO­CAL IS COUNT­ING DOWN TO HER VOL­UN­TEER GIG AT THE COM­MON­WEALTH GAMES

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - EYE | PEOPLE - AS TOLD TO DENISE RAWARD

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.

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