By EVAH BANIGE
GUEST OF THE WEEK
BEING in one school for 18 years is a long time in any man’s language.
In other jobs, the continuity of being in one job in one place is common.
In a manufacturing industry, the recruits are adults who stay on for 10 to 20 and even 30 years and then move on.
The people are mature and stable.
In education, especially a primary school, the recruits are children.
They are changing at the fastest rate possible in their development.
This transitional period has its effects on the people who deal with them.
In the school, it is the teacher.
The teacher has to cope with the emotional, physical and emotional development of the pupils.
The daily routine of starting classes at 8am, having a break at 10, restarting at 10.30 and then having lunch at noon for an hour and then returning for another two hours and then knocking off for the day (while the teacher prepares lessons for the next day) drags into months and by the end of the year, the Grade Eights are bade farewell.
It gets to the teachers too. Staying in one place and seeing pupils coming and going could have negative side effects.
It takes a strong will to be able to cope with these very trying challenges. Sometimes, teachers can become absorbed into the surrounding environment of the school and become complacent.
But for a primary school teacher in Lae who retired last year, it was not much of a problem.
Margaret Oreke, 52, from Babangono village, Mekeo in Central province, retired from teaching after 32 years-18 years at Buimo Primary School, in Lae.
She had seen it grew from bushy school of just a few classrooms to one of the larger schools in the city.
She was awarded a gold medal and certificate of achievement by the Papua New Guinea Teachers Association (PNGTA) Momase regional secretariat and given personal commendation by the Morobe provincial programme adviser for education, Murika Bihoro.
Mrs Oreke began her teaching career in 1977 at Porebada Community School, just outside Port Moresby, after graduating from Kabaleo Teachers College in East New Britain province, the previous year.
The following year, she left for her local village school at Pagopago in Mekeo where she taught from 1979 to 1980.
Then, came along a young man–Marcel Oreke.
She tied the knot with Mr Oreke, a young architect from Apainipi village also in Mekeo and moved with him to Madang where she taught at the Holy Spirit Primary School.
She recalls with the pride of a mother, the schooling of two young brothers from East Sepik province.
Lawrence and Hillary Koyama, who both became Air Niugini pilots, and are now in the United Arab Emirates.
The teacher was as proud as a mother when a student succeeds.
Mrs Oreke said she is proud to meet many of her students who were now in very high positions in the employment industry.
Mrs Oreke upon arrival in Lae, received a relieving position at St Martins Primary School where she taught from 1987 to 1988.
She then applied to Buimo Road Primary School which is about 300m from her home at Klinki street, Eriku and lasted the long 18 years until retirement in September last year.
Her experience in teaching under the old format of having a rigid and set curriculum for students was that it was a much simpler approach and the content of lessons was always ready for teachers to take out. It’s a lot challenging now.