Time called by long-serving Tainui teachers

Retiring Tainui School teachers (from left) Ruth Harley, Kaye Ballantyne and Jenny Tavendale will...
Retiring Tainui School teachers (from left) Ruth Harley, Kaye Ballantyne and Jenny Tavendale will retire at the end of the school year after a combined 84 years at the school. Photo: Peter McIntosh
As another year winds to a close at Tainui School, teachers Kaye Ballantyne, Jenny Tavendale and Ruth Harley are starting to feel the finality of their decisions to retire.

It is the last time they will experience the excitement of the final few days of school before the Christmas holidays start.

The trio said it was also hammered home at a recent farewell function when they received  gifts and hugs from an astoundingly long line of past and present pupils.

"We had quite a few parents who we taught, give us cards and messages, which is lovely," Mrs Tavendale said.

They said they had worked together for the past 22 years and had become a close-knit family.

Ms Ballantyne taught for 37 years, the past 22 at Tainui; Mrs Tavendale taught for 33 years, 32 at Tainui; and Miss Harley taught for 35 years, 30 at Tainui.

Of their combined 105 years of teaching, 84 of them have been at Tainui School.

All three said they would spend more time with their families in retirement, but had not yet made any longer-term plans.

"We’ve been wisely told by those who have retired not to make plans," Miss Harley said.

"Just rest first before making any big decisions. We’ll take it as it comes."

Ms Ballantyne and Mrs Tavendale said they would still keep close contact with Tainui School because they had grandchildren  there.

Principal Shelley Wilde said she and remaining staff were struggling to imagine what life at the school would be like without them.

"They’re part of the furniture.

"Their departure is hugely significant.

"They’re synonymous with the name of the school and what they’ve done for children, parents and whanau since they’ve been here . . .

"It’s hard to imagine the place without the three of them being here. They will be very hard shoes to fill."

john.lewis@odt.co.nz 

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