A COLAC district school principal says he’s still passionate about teaching after receiving recognition for 35 years of service to the education department.
Forrest Primary School principal Darryl Harty travelled to Warrnambool to receive a certificate from the Department of Education and Training recognising his service.
Mr Harty said his teaching career was “fairly unique” because he had spent 31 of his 35 years in the role as a head teacher or principal and has spent a majority of his time at small schools in the south-west.
He said his first job after finishing university when he was 21 was as a head teacher in western Victoria.
“I’ve been the principal of seven schools in the south-west; I’ve pretty much circumnavigated around Lake Colac,” Mr Harty said.
He said he enjoyed working at smaller schools because of the close connection between parents, pupils and teachers.
He said a highlight of his career was working at a primary school in Minnesota, on the American and Canadian border, for 12 months in 2002 as part of an International Teaching Fellowship.
The teacher documented the exchange through a series of letters published in the Colac Herald.
“People still to this day remember me they see me and say, ‘oh I remember you as the teacher that went to America’,” Mr Harty said.
“It was a working holiday for not only myself but my family and it broadened my horizons,” he said.
“I was the Grade Four teacher and it had 250 pupils in it. I worked closely with the principal.
“I learnt a lot, but they also learnt a lot about the great education system we have in Australia.”
Mr Harty said another highlight of his career was seeing four of his nieces and nephews pursuing a career as a teacher and he believed he had “assisted in promoting the profession”.
He said he was also grateful for the chance to study his masters at Melbourne University in 2010.
“I’m a local boy and come from a very humble background. My mum and dad could never afford to send me to Melbourne University,” he said.
“The department allowed me the privilege to complete my masters which was never a plan when I took up a teaching career.”
Mr Harty said he enjoyed working at Forrest Primary School and was looking forward to travelling to Melbourne to receive his 40-year service certificate in five years.
“I would call this school the gem of the Otways; this is a pretty special little school,” he said.
“I’ll continue on here; I’m planning for the 40 and aiming for the trip down to Melbourne to shake the hand of the minister.”