Science teacher retires after 44 years
After 44 years teaching approximately 4000 students Far North science teacher Phil Webb is hanging up his safety glasses.
Webb began his teaching career at Heretaunga College in Upper Hutt, Wellington, in 1974 where he stayed for seven years before taking a promotion to become head of science at Okaihau College.
The plan he says was to stay in Okaihau for two years, then move back to a city school.
‘‘That part never got recognised because we became Northlanders and thought living in paradise was hard to beat - the Bay of Islands is a pretty neat place,’’ Webb says.
Over the years he has taught chemistry, physics, maths, graphics and physical education.
Webb completed a Bachelor of Science with a major in chemistry and during his final year worked part time in a laboratory as well as studying.
‘‘I thought working with a piece of inanimate rubber wasn’t going to be much of a fun life, so I thought I’d give teaching a go and once in the career I’ve had no regrets.’’
Some of the highlights of his teaching career include teaching refugees during the post Vietnam War era, the first promotion to head of science, and having an ex student be his supervisor during a year’s scientific research into growing gold kiwifruit and testing mandarins for sugar to acid ratios.
Webb says it has also been incredibly rewarding to keep in touch with former students and to hear of their successes.
‘‘To see a little year seven as perhaps a shy and quiet person and watch them grow and develop into stunning people that graduate as year 13’s with confidence and skills to go and contribute to society, it’s an interesting journey.’’
With 20 years under his belt in Okaihau, he moved to Springbank School in 2001, where he worked part time for two years before taking up the head of science position and a role as deputy principal for the senior school.
After turning 67 on October 31, Webb says he plans to spend his new found free time spending more time with his family and sailing in the Bay of Islands Sailing Week. His last day is December 8.
A special assembly will be held to farewell Phil Webb on November 17 at 1pm, with any well wishers invited to attend at the Springbank School Hall.
Springbank School deputy principal Phil Webb is retiring from teaching after 44 years.