Bunnaloo Public School students and staff have farewelled teacher and librarian Bev Rankin, who recently retired after 27 years at the school.By Ivy Wise
Bunnaloo Public School teacher and librarian Bev Rankin has retired after 27 years at the rural school.
The much-loved and respected teacher was farewelled at the school’s Book Week parade on Thursday.
With a teaching career spanning 42 years, Mrs Rankin started at the Bunnaloo school in 1986 after a rough start.
‘‘To say the kids were out of control would be an understatement. They were noisy, rude and argumentative and exited the room by leaping over the desks and chairs,’’ she said.
‘‘I returned home exhausted after probably my worst day ever as a teacher.’’
However, the next day, Mrs Rankin was offered a permanent part-time position one day a week.
‘‘For some strange reason, I disregarded the awful day and said yes. This turned out to be a very good decision, because I got into a wonderful job that lasted for 27 years.’’
Bev graduated from Bendigo Teachers’ College in 1970 and started her career at schools in Lalbert, Swan Hill, Speewa and Birchip.
In 1984, Mrs Rankin husband John and their three children, Shannon, Travis and Daniel moved to ‘Fairfield’ on Thyra Rd, 17km from Bunnaloo.
When her youngest, Daniel, started school, she worked three days a week, as well as doing some casual work at Mathoura, Moama, Echuca South and 208 primary schools.
At Bunnaloo school, Mrs Rankin has taught every grade and subject, was the librarian for 25 years and taught art and craft in the infants’ class since 1990.
In 1992, she trained as a support teacher for children with learning difficulties, increasing her days to four and became a Reading Recovery teacher in 1998.
She said working with children who had difficulties reading was the most rewarding part of her teaching career.
‘‘This was the most satisfying work, challenging and exciting when small gains were made,’’ she said.
‘‘I found it mentally and physically exhausting at times because I was striving so hard and willing the children to learn. I believe the most important thing is to learn to read early and well.’’
The biggest changes in education over the years were the teaching conditions and aides, as well as technology.
‘‘When I first came to Bunnaloo, there were no computers. Now there would almost be one for each child. The children can almost in a moment Google the answer to a question,’’ she said.
She is proud of the work she has done in the classroom which helped achieve outstanding academic results over a long period of time.
‘‘I believe in raising the bar. If you challenge children, they will rise to the challenge. Even if they didn’t jump over it, they reached new heights by trying,’’ she said.
‘‘I set clear expectations and standards; I expected and insisted that the children worked to the best of their ability, were well behaved and well mannered.’’
She said the success of the school was due to three things.
‘‘It’s like a jigsaw with three pieces. Firstly, there are good kids who engage in their learning, are usually well behaved and realise the importance of education,’’ she said.
‘‘Secondly, there are the parents, who are supportive of the school’s goals and activities. For a small community, the P and C raises an extraordinary amount of money to buy items that benefit both students and teachers.
‘‘Thirdly, there are the teachers. We shared similar goals and work ethics and worked together to get the best possible education for all our students. Staff are friends, as well as colleagues. We are a family who have laughed a lot together and sometimes cried.’’
At the age of 62 and with a published life story to her name, Mrs Rankin has no regrets about retiring.
And it doesn’t mean she will be any less busy, with plans to travel around Australia in a caravan, organise a family reunion and join some community groups, as well as spending more time gardening and visiting family, including six grandchildren.
However, she said she would miss the children and teachers at Bunnaloo.
‘‘It was a privilege and pleasure to teach at Bunnaloo Public School. I gave my job everything I had and reaped back satisfaction and enjoyment in abundance,’’ she said.
‘‘In a way, it’s good to know that I have finished; there is nothing more I could give or achieve.
‘‘It’s time for the next phase in my life.’’
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