I would like to thank the students from Hopetoun Secondary College for the welcome I received as a teacher there in 2011. I would also like to thank the parents I met, the councilors from the Chaplaincy Council I was a part of and the non-teaching members of the school Council I participated in. You have made my experience in the Mallee an enjoyable one that I will take with me.
Unfortunately I could not locate suitable accommodation within 50kms of Hopetoun to take up my 6 month teaching contract there in 2012. I have found out that short term accommodation in the district is becoming an issue and perhaps the area is growing again. I noticed that the company developing its mineral sands terminal at Hopetoun, Iluka, was the second largest performer in the ASX top 200 corporations in 2011. Perhaps Iluka will be a driving force for change in the area.
I am moving back to the ‘settled districts’ and look forward to teaching students again this year. None will be from strange sounding areas like Walpeup, Buela or Pachewollock though!!
So, although I have never been to a football match in the Mallee, prefering to tour your districts on a motorcycle, I have empathy and admiration for the Mallee. It will always be a place I will remember for the kind people that live there.
Finally, two special people I would like to say thank you to.
To Mr Cameron Stow for his mentoring, advice and resources that enabled me to teach so successfully in my first year as a mature age graduate teacher. Coming from a commerce background like myself, Cameron was always available for me and had the same ‘can do’ attitude you would expect from someone coming from industry. I look forward to joining you sometime this year at Kadinia Park for a Cat’s game.
To James Leversha, another industry trained educator. Thanks Jimmy for ensuring that technology worked in the classroom. We learnt from each other and the students in the classroom became the beneficiaries of our joint knowledge and experience.
Peter F. Hughes