Mr O leaves after three decades at school
This week is one of the toughest weeks for Jack Oldridge in a 44 year teaching career.
It’s his final week as deputy principal at Kaiapoi North School, a school he has taught at for the past 32 years.
‘‘I just want this week to be over actually.
‘‘It was certainly not an easy decision, I will miss it so much.’’
In his 44 year career, Oldridge has never lost sight of why he got into teaching in the first place.
‘‘The children. It’s all about the children for me.
‘‘I remember my first interview and being asked why I wanted to be a teacher: the answer was meant to be about education and systems, but I said because I really like children.’’
Oldridge, in his role as deputy principal, is the school liaison with parents, children and the community and it is those interactions he loves and those he will miss the most.
He has had opportunities over the years to take principal jobs but it’s never been a job that appealed to him.
‘‘It’s definitely more the people stuff and not the Ministry stuff that suits me.
‘‘I think a school works well when everyone works together in their best suited roles and encouraging each other.’’
There is a reason Oldridge has been at Kaiapoi North School for so long.
‘‘My colleagues are the most professional, compassionate, supportive people I have ever worked with.’’
Oldridge started at teachers training college in 1974.
After graduating he worked at Kaiapoi Borough School while also studying at university.
From there he worked at Southbrook School for five years before starting at Kaiapoi North in 1986.
Oldridge and his wife Jenny have seven children between them. He said she had been a tremendous support over the years and the two have many things in common, including a love of golf and the fact they are both teachers.
Although, they don’t compare notes at home.
‘‘I am a strong believer that school stays at school. I like to get everything sorted, tick all the boxes before I leave for the day and then when I get home it’s about life outside of school,’’ he said.
Kaiapoi North principal Jason Miles said Oldridge will be missed by all at the school.
‘‘Whatever the circumstances or needs, Jack has always ensured that our children feel at home at our school, understood and fully supported.
‘‘Families have appreciated Jack’s willingness to work through issues together.
‘‘He has a heart of gold. He will be greatly missed for his kindness and for his sense of fun - Jack is one of life’s true gentlemen.’’
Jack Oldridge is retiring after 44 years of teaching, 32 of which were at Kaiapoi North School.