Nana Ange celebrates 35-years of teaching
Published in The Ararat Advocate, Ararat's weekly newspaper published by West Vic News Pty Ltd.
MAROONA Primary School has recently celebrated Angela Reynold’s 35th year in education.
Mrs Reynolds, known affectionately as Nana Ange in the classroom, is currently in her 28th year at the rural school with no plans of slowing.
She has witnessed an evolution in education, major advancements in technology and become an unforgettable figure in the lives of Maroona’s children.
Born in Maroona herself, just five kilometers from the school, Mrs Reynolds never imagined a career in her hometown.
“Teaching was something I always wanted to do, even as a little kid. I thought it might wane over the years, but I've kept that want to do it and continued with it,” she said.
“I did come from Maroona originally, never dreamt I'd be back teaching here. [The community] is definitely running through my veins.”
Mrs Reynolds left Ballarat Teachers College in 1978, graduating with her Bachelor of Education the following year while working in Willaura.
From there she moved to Ararat West, then to Ararat North - before taking up a roving music specialist role in the small rural schools.
She travelled between Rossbridge, Yalla-Y-Poora, Buangor, Elmhurst, Great Western, Moyston and Maroona on a fortnightly rotation.
In 1993 she was made redundant in an overhaul of Victoria’s education system by the Kennett government, that saw many rural schools close.
“The music specialist was one of the jobs that was axed, along with a few others. And I was lucky enough to pick up a job at Maroona,” she said.
And the rest is history. Mrs Reynolds has been teaching Maroona’s youngest ever since, becoming part of the woodwork principal, Darren Beer, said.
“She's still determined to keep improving and keep being the best that she can be. That's not a quality that you get in all teachers. And it's certainly not a quality that you get in all teachers who've been doing it for a long time,” he said.
This year Mrs Reynolds is teaching her first child of a parent who also attended Maroona, symbolising to her the full circle career she has had.
“It's like a big family, it's the whole community. You don't just know the children, you know the families,” she said.
“Just to get here some mornings, if you're first here, there's just not a sound. Just the sheep, and the birds, and the beautiful open countryside. It's just lovely.
“Some people think you should move on because you become stale. I certainly haven't let the grass grow under my feet. I don't like to sit on anything for too long.”
Mrs Reynolds has played a pivotal role in many school events – like the Australian Dairy Corporation fiberglass cow competition and the school’s 125th anniversary - and has continued to further her teaching.
She said retirement is down the line, but for now, Nana Ange has still got plenty of teaching to do.
“Once upon a time if you were called Mum as a teacher before you were a mother or if you were called Nana, you'd think, Oh hell. Now, I think it's gorgeous,” she said.