Tom Large, Phil Large, Sharron Large and Mikayla Large.

After 37 years of teaching at Cootamundra Public School, former Assistant Principal Sharron has retired, giving 40 years to the children of the region. To celebrate the achievement, a function was held for Sharron at the Cootamundra Country Club on September 16, which farewelled her and celebrated her legacy in the community. Many people who were present at her dinner ‘pinned’ accolades on her for her dedication over the years.

About 90 guests were at the function, some travelling from a distance to be there, which shows the love she has in the community. Sharron has been teaching since completing University in 1984. She started her career at Finley Public School, then Galong Public School, before arriving at Cootamundra Public School in 1988 as a teacher and then as Assistant Principal at Cootamundra Public School. Sharron spoke to the Times about her time at Cootamundra Public School and what the future holds for her.

“There has been a lot of change in the time I’ve been there, I’ve loved my time, I’ve got to know the local families and the Cootamundra community very well. I’ve been teaching the next generation of students originally taught,” she said. “A big change is technology, starting out with minimal computers to the amazing devices we have now, such as iPads and Laptops. Back when I first started, we had one computer in each classroom, then a computer lab was set up where classes could go to utilise the desktop computers. Since then, technology has moved along very quickly. “ “When I first started, I was a classroom teacher and over the years I taught across the school K-6. I’ve taught composite classes, academic extension, Library, RFF classes, with a focus on literature as that’s my passion, helping the students with their reading and writing development and fostering a love of books, reading and learning. The majority of recent years were spent working with kindergarten which was amazing, I love it!” “You see such progress from day one when they arrive in your class and then seeing them leave at the end of the year with developing social skills and being able to read and write.”

When asked what some of the highlights of her career were, she went straight to the staff that she has developed relationships with over the years. She transitioned from a new face at the school to being one of the senior staff members and was able to see a lot of her colleagues grow and develop under her guidance. That wouldn’t, however, be the only highlight she could think of.

 

“Another highlight is the children. They’re my passion and the reason I became a teacher. It’s great working with them at school and then seeing them out in the community as well. It’s very special when a student gives you a hug and tells you they love you, and now, since I have finished, they’re telling me how much they miss me, which is really nice. I’ve had some sad, heartbreaking times with some students over the years too but some of the happy memories are the school community and being involved with the whole Cootamundra community. I learned a lot about the local community through the school.”

 

The huge turnout at her farewell function at the Country Club is a testament to the relationships she made throughout her time with the school and her contributions to the work culture.

“My retirement function was fantastic; it was like a reunion of past and present staff of CPS. It was so nice to have all of those people there, young and old, some I worked with many years ago and some more current. Beautiful speeches, wonderful gifts and an opportunity to catch-up with those people. “Most of the time as Assistant Principal, I still had a class of my own as well. It was great, I loved that. Being an Assistant Principal gave me the opportunity to have more input into the school decision making. It was great, I was still able to teach and also have a lot more input into what’s happening at the school. There was a lot more administration and supervision of staff and students but it was great! My passion has always been in the classroom with the students and they have been at the forefront of all decisions I have made over the years.”

As for her future, Sharron still hasn’t completely given up her passion as a teacher and still wants to help out in more casual roles as she enjoys her retirement. Maybe some casual/relief teaching next year. “I can pop in to the local schools when needed. After being around children constantly for almost 40 years, it’s definitely different. I do miss the students and their families.” “I’m just enjoying myself. I’m doing a bit of travelling and catching up with people I haven’t seen in a while. Lots of coffee and lunch dates. Doing things around the house, planning holidays, helping my daughter plan her wedding and planning our European holiday, which could possibly happen next year.” “It’s a big change, but it’s a nice change.” Jack Murray