Wednesday, 12 August 2020

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Linda Gould retires after 36 years in teaching

Teacher, Linda Gould, has retired after a 36-year career, including 26 years of service to the primary school at Mercury Bay Area School.

Born and raised on the family dairy farm, Linda (nee Menzies) went to Coroglen School and then away to boarding school in Auckland at age 12. “Every time I came back over the hill, I would crane my neck to get the first glimpse of the bay,” she recalls. “I couldn’t wait to get back.”

After training college, Linda’s teaching career began in 1973 with a year in Walton, near Matamata. “I learned a lot of stuff they don’t teach you in college,” she says.

She then looked for a job in Nelson, “because it was a very popular place among teachers.” Nine years at various schools around Nelson followed, during which she met her future husband, Al Gould. The couple were married in Whitianga in 1978.

“Al was a ship’s engineer on the Wellington-Picton ferries. His shifts were erratic, such that we hardly saw each other,” says Linda. “He was ready for a career change, so eventually we decided to move back home.”

The couple bought a small dairy farm at Whenuakite which was a big lifestyle change for Al, but Linda was used to it, and with the in-laws on hand as mentors, they settled into the farming routine. Their children, Kimberly and Joe, were born before Linda returned to teaching first as a relief teacher between Tairua, Whenuakite and Mercury Bay. In 1993 she accepted a permanent position at MBAS, where over the years she has worked under three different principals and seen the school expand. 

“The job has changed so much since I first started,” she says. “First it was team teaching and open-plan classrooms, then the classroom walls went back up and now we are back to 25 children in a class and a modern learning environment.

“There was much more freedom, especially in planning outdoor activities and school trips. Now it’s all about risk assessment management and I regret that we have lost that spontaneity. I certainly won’t miss the paperwork. Young teachers these days find the going tough. I always tell them to concentrate on the children, enjoy them. ”

Linda was originally inspired into teaching by her Coroglen School teacher, Mr Jurkovich. “One of my students cleverly got this information out of me and used it in a very moving speech at the MBAS junior prize-giving in December. I was very proud of her,” Linda says.

Linda followed her father’s footsteps in becoming a Justice of the Peace and over the years she has been able to assist many local families. In terms of the future, she intends to ease into retirement with some relief teaching around the wider Mercury Bay area and she will continue with her JP work.  She also plans to find time to go fishing and do some reading. “Encouraging children to read has been a real joy for me,” she says. “The other day a local lad who I taught years ago, told me he still remembers me reading ‘Charlotte’s Web’ to the class and how he loved it. Now I plan to catch up on my own reading.”

Pictured: Retiring teacher, Linda Gould, hopes to spend more time reading and fishing.

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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.