Beloved teacher off to a ‘new start’

Retiring after 46 years at Logan Park High School, languages teacher Barbara Fitzsimons waves...
Retiring after 46 years at Logan Park High School, languages teacher Barbara Fitzsimons waves farewell to staff at the Dunedin school last week. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
One of Logan Park High School’s longest serving and most loved teachers has said "au revoir" after 46 years.

Barbara Fitzsimons (68) taught at Logan Park since 1976.

As a 12-year-old pupil in Nelson, Ms Fitzsimons saw a teacher making papier mache pigs to turn into piggy banks and decided then and there she wanted to include that activity in one of her classes one day.

By the time she was 22, and just out of teachers college, she had moved to Dunedin to join the staff at the recently opened Logan Park High School.

She was farewelled by staff at the end of last week.

"Will I miss the place? Will I miss the people? Yes, I will," Ms Fitzsimons said. "But I am not going to nothing, I am going to a new start.

"I’m enjoying not having to be out of bed at a certain time, not knowing ‘this paperwork has to be done at a certain time today’ — no deadlines."

Ms Fitzsimons met her late partner Gordon Caley while they were teaching at the school and in her 46 years there she took four years off for maternity duties.

Apart from now spending more time outdoors, she had four grandchildren in the city aged 2, 4, 7 and 13 who would get more of her attention too.

She said she wanted to be remembered at the school as "someone who cared and made an effort".

She taught thousands of pupils, was head of the languages department, dean of Toroa House, sixth form dean, acting assistant principal and leader of several school-wide initiatives,

as well as teaching French, German, Japanese, English and social studies.

It was not only the brightest children, or the natural leaders, who made their mark on Ms Fitzsimons either, but also "the naughty ones who trusted you enough to help them sort it out".

Co-principal Kristan Mouat said Ms Fitzsimons was an inspirational teacher who was a wise mentor for younger staff.

--  hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

 

 

 

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