Silverdale Normal School has said goodbye to three of its teachers and although the women say they will miss their colleagues and students, they have some exciting plans for the future.
Grace Wyatt, Alison Trenwith and Gill Clothier all plan on spreading their wings and seeing more of the world and getting involved in the arts more. Grace, Alison and Gill have been primary school teachers for 20, 24 and 43 years respectively.
The trio talks animatedly about their travel plans. Alison and Gill are talking about travelling to the UK together where they may also work. Grace and her husband, who is also retiring, plan on travelling to Europe, the UK, Australia and around New Zealand.
Alison is keen to dedicate more time to her art - clay and painting, in particular. Gill plans to get involved in crafts more, and she's already a Friend of the Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra. Grace is looking forward to committing more time to her writing. She has already started a children's picture book, and plans on writing about the "interesting skeleton" in her family's closet. That will involve a trip to the Czech Republic for research purposes.
And while the women have much to look forward to, they all agree they will miss their colleagues and students. "I'll really miss the relationships you build with the children to enhance their learning," said Grace. "I'm still passionate about teaching and learning. It only takes one day when the light will go on and they 'get it'. That's what keeps you going."
Gill said today's classroom environment is different than when she first started teaching. "There are a huge variety of cultures in our schools these days, which makes for a rich classroom environment." And while that presents a challenge with the language barrier, that can be overcome that. "We are very aware now of the English learners and we respect and nurture those cultures."
The teachers' last day was yesterday.