Students at Franklin Public School were welcomed back to class on Wednesday morning by some new faces.
The school has four new teachers beginning in 2020 – Fiona Crain teaching Year 1/2, Emily Nagel teaching Year 5/6, and KJ Neale as a Year 5/6 Learning Support Officer.
Jarrod Crane has also started as a new Kindergarten teacher. He left Franklin in 2018 after one and a half years on staff.
He spent the last 18 months abroad teaching in various schools in the UK, and is now settling back in to life in Tumut.
Mr Crane grew up in Gundagai, and says that teaching in Tumut is definitely slower-paced compared to the bustle of London.
“I’ve always missed home, so it’s good to be back,” he said.
The school is also welcoming back some familiar faces. Jess McLennan and Tamara Markopoulos will be returning this year, having both started at the school in late 2019.
Mrs McLennan is teaching Kindergarten, and Mrs Markopoulos is teaching Year 3/4. The two teachers are really looking forward to starting from the beginning of the school year this time.
“Last year we were similar, we both got contracts near the end and you just get to build that relationship, and then it’s the end of the year,” Mrs Markopoulos said.
Mrs McLennan agrees. “When I came in last year it was halfway through the year. So I think to come in and have your own classroom at the beginning, I’m looking forward to that,” she said.
As for the new teachers, Mrs Nagel has been adjusting to life in Tumut since moving here 12 months ago. She described the area and school community as “lovely”, but admits it is very different to Sydney where she previously lived and taught.
She is looking forward to taking her class to Tumut High School once a fortnight, teaching them in a different environment and being able to use a variety of equipment.
Mrs Crain is more adjusted to life in the area. Although she completed her teaching training in Sydney, she has been teaching in Wagga recently and in Adelong last year.
She said she is excited to begin at Franklin, especially because of its great reputation amongst the community for a high level of support for students and staff.
“From all the accounts I’ve heard, [the support] is a real feature of the school so I’m excited about being part of that team,” she said.
KJ is also excited to begin his new role as Learning Support Officer. He has a background in child protection, and switched to teaching when he felt like a change in careers.
When asked what he is most excited for, he said it is definitely growth, “for the kids and for myself too.”
The teachers all agree that following the disastrous bushfire season in the holidays, they want their classrooms to be a safe place for students to return to their regular routines and “get back to normal life as much as possible.”