As students across WA prepare to go back to classrooms in a couple of weeks, one familiar face won’t be there to greet Narrogin Senior High School students.
Teacher Ray McCall announced her retirement from full-time teaching just before Christmas after 60 years of helping children develop their intellect and life skills.
Mrs McCall said she would still do relief work but had a hard time convincing people she really was retiring.
“I still love teaching and I still love children but it’s time to step back,” she said. “Though nobody believes I will.”
It’s not the first time Mrs McCall has given away her job.
“When we came to Narrogin in 1958 I had been teaching in Perth and I really didn’t plan on teaching again and I’d planned to have another baby,” she said.
Mrs McCall said she came home from town one afternoon to be greeted by her husband, who said he had volunteered her expertise to the sisters of the local convent who needed a relief teacher.
She taught there for 10 years before resigning in 1969, but that lasted all of four days.
After stints as a deputy, acting principal and library teacher, she tried retiring again in 1999.
She was relief teaching at Narrogin SHS when the learning support co-ordinator resigned in 2006.
“And I’ve been there ever since,” she said.
How has she maintained the passion for teaching over six decades?
“I guess I’ve reinvented myself as a teacher several times.
In her long-spanning career, Mrs McCall has seen massive changes in education, including the shift from inkwells to biros, and then to computers.
“I have literally taught every grade from primary school to high school and I’ve been the library resource teacher,” she said.
“I helped computerise the libraries in the district, I worked in the district office, I’ve been a phys-ed teacher, I’ve been an art teacher, I’ve been a music teacher, and I’ve even had a go at Indonesian.”
“I just believe every child has a right to be good at something and as a teacher it is my job to find what it is.”