Goodbye Mr Jeffs
BILL Jeffs has enjoyed a long and varied career in education, but is hanging up the boots at the end of the year.
The current Korumburra Primary School principal announced his retirement recently.
Bill started in secondary teaching before leaving the industry for a few years and then returned to teach in primary schools in 1974.
“I was appointed up here at Koonwarra for a short time and then came to Korumburra that same year and worked here for a couple of years,” he said.
“After that, I moved on to Poowong, then I got study leave to do a special education course at Melbourne State College.”
Following this, Bill worked in prisons and other special education facilities.
“I worked at Pentridge, Langi Kal Kal and Torana,” Bill said.
“It was definitely interesting.”
After leaving the prison system, Bill returned to Korumburra to run the special assistance unit and help students struggling in the classroom.
Then after another stint working in Melbourne, Bill took on a senior teaching position at Cowes Primary School, followed by an assistant principal position at Wonthaggi Primary, then his current role at Korumburra.
Before starting his career, Bill wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life.
“I didn’t have a lot of choice and a studentship was probably the only passport to a tertiary education,” he said.
“They were very short of teachers in those days and I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. They offered a studentship which meant we would get paid to go to teachers college to become a teacher.
“Part of that deal was that we had to work for the next three years after we graduated, wherever they sent us.”
Once he got into the classroom, his passion for teaching grew.
“When I started it was like getting paid was a bonus,” Bill said.
With such a varied career, Bill has seen a lot, but felt it was hard to measure the highlights.
“I’ve really enjoyed the different places I have been for different reasons,” he said.
“I guess the highlights are related to the people that I have met: my colleagues, the teachers that I have worked with and the teachers that I have met, the people that have mentored me along the way, the families that I have met and the great kids I have met.
“I still have kids that I taught very early in my career that say ‘g’day’ and remember me, or those that go out of their way to contact me to say ‘hello’.
“Hopefully I would’ve had some positive influence on some people’s lives and it was nice in some cases when you knew that there were difficult circumstances where you could lend a hand.”
Many former students have gone on to play AFL footy and others became doctors. Some have obtained PhDs and others have become business people.
“It’s great to watch kids develop their lives and become successful,” he said.
“In the government system, we take anyone who walks through the door and we will educate them regardless of who they are, where they are from, their religion, their social standing and any disabilities that they bring with them.
“We will take them on and we will do our best to educate them.”
Bill is reluctant to go because he enjoys the job, but wants to leave while he is still healthy and has choices.
“Certainly some travelling and time to take it easy are on the agenda,” he said.
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