Open­ing doors to di­ver­sity

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By ROSE CAWLEY

Eighty-year-old Regine MacBean never re­ally left school.

The Mt Eden res­i­dent’s love for learn­ing be­gan when she stepped on to the grounds of a tiny Waikato school as a new en­trant. She be­came a teacher and with her ex­u­ber­ance for learn­ing she has shaped the minds of thou­sands of chil­dren.

Last year she re­tired from Mt Roskill Pri­mary School but even af­ter 53 years of teach­ing she couldn’t truly sever her ties with ed­u­ca­tion and is back do­ing re­lief work.

MacBean says she was sur­prised to re­ceive a Queen’s Ser­vice Medal for ser­vices to ed­u­ca­tion.

She says her work has been noth­ing spe­cial and she has just done what she en­joys.

The things that stand out over her ca­reer are the sim­ple but very real mo­ments like mak­ing a record us­ing the Pink Pan­ther mu­sic with her class, she says.

‘‘It prob­a­bly sounds silly but it is just the di­ver­sity – you do all the good ba­sics but you also do all the fun things, the mu­sic, the dance and drama. I loved that.’’

Dur­ing her last 27 years at Mt Roskill Pri­mary she led the English as a Sec­ond Lan­guage team which spe­cialises in teach­ing stu­dents with lit­tle or no English skills. She says more than 90 per cent of Mt Roskill chil­dren are from nonEnglish speak­ing back­grounds.

‘‘The first thing we teach them are the words that will keep them safe,’’ she says.

‘‘We have to make them feel ac­cepted and that the en­vi­ron­ment is wel­com­ing and that any con­tri­bu­tion is ac­cepted even if it is by word, or ges­ture.’’

She says the big­gest change dur­ing her ca­reer has been Auck­land’s grow­ing di­ver­sity.

‘‘Some people in the good old days stayed back but I never have. I have al­ways wel­comed those changes.

‘‘Di­ver­sity is my new norm. The class­room has kept me con­tem­po­rary and with the time and I’ve al­ways been thank­ful for that.

‘‘We have people from al­most all cor­ners of the earth who are now New Zealand cit­i­zens and they con­trib­ute to our so­ci­ety and open doors to other ways of think­ing.’’

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