Pupils, not paperwork, will be missed

By Sonya Bateson

After 40 years of teaching, Whangamarino School principal Maxine Newton can't wait to ditch the paperwork - but she'll miss all her pupils.

Mrs Newton began her teaching career in 1968 and did her first year at Rotoiti School.

Apart from the occasional break where she's had time off to have her children, she's been at Whangamarino School ever since.

She said the school was very much a part of the family.

"My husband came here, my children came here and now my moko come here.

"It's a really whanau-based school, I've got teachers here that I taught. I'll miss the children but I live in the area so maybe later on I'll go on school trips with my mokopuna. I hope they will miss me too."

Schooling hasn't changed much over the years, except there was a lot more paperwork for teachers and the children were less respectful, Mrs Newton said.

"I love the children but I don't think they are as respectful as they used to be.

"I blame it on this new technology, the children don't know how to go without. I think the other thing today is life is too hard for the parents, both of them need to work to support their families. There's also a lot of paper work, I won't miss that."

If any of the children at the school are playing up, or if there are any issues, parents and caregivers could expect a phone call from Mrs Newton, who said she knew most of the parents.

Being a whanau-based school also meant the children knew who they were and it made her proud when they succeeded in life.

"I'll remember the children most of all. I see some of them in town and they are happy to introduce me to their partner or show me their babies. We've had head students at a lot of the high schools. I think the thing that makes me happiest is when the children come back and tell me they really miss it. It's a lovely school, it's got lots of history and our children know who they are."

Mrs Newton will now spend her days with her whanau and helping her husband with the family logging business.

"I think it's time for someone else to take the school in another direction, it's in a good place at the moment. I'm going to be helping my husband out a little bit with his logging crews and will be spending more time with my mokopuna - I might be just as busy as I am now."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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