It’s been a big few weeks for Keilor Primary School art teacher Bronwyn Grant. Clocking up 40 years in education this year, she received a Recognition of Service award on May 22. She tells Ben Cameron it was her second big milestone in recent times.
Congratulations on your award. It must have been a thrill?
I didn’t know what to expect; it [the presentation] was very well done. We all went up on stage … it was a really nice event.
Forty years in education, but how long at Keilor Primary School?
Twenty-four years. I was at Gladstone Views for 10 years; before that I was at Parklands, which doesn’t exist any more, in Airport West. Parklands was pulled down, but that’s where I started my career.
Does it feel like that time has gone quickly?
It does; I can’t believe it. I can’t believe I’ve been at the same school for 24 years. But I love it, it’s a fantastic school. I’m in the art room, which I absolutely love; it’s my passion, I’ll never look at the clock, I’m always running over time because I just get so involved. It’s my forte.
And plenty more years to come?
Every time I think of retiring, my eyes fill up with tears, but you can’t keep going forever, can you?
How long have you been teaching art there?
I started off as the integration teacher for a couple of years. I’ve always loved art – a vacancy came up in the art room, so I transferred over. That’s where I am now. Been there 22 years. I’ve seen a lot of families go through, let me tell you.
Any special kids you remember?
A lot of the past students come back and see me and tell me that I inspired them to take art in high school, which is really lovely. I like to hear that kind of thing. I have a couple of kids who want to be art teachers, so obviously I’ve had a bit of good influence on them.
You live in Rosanna. You must really love that school, driving so far. How long does it take to get there each day?
On the ring road, when there are no accidents, it takes me about 40 minutes. It doesn’t worry me … that’s thinking time in the car (laughs).
What do you love about Keilor Primary School?
The people. We’ve always had a lovely, friendly staff and good leadership. The school environment’s lovely … my art room is just gynormous, I reckon I’ve got the best room in the house, so to speak. But the main thing is the kids. I’ve never had much trouble with discipline – you get your odd kids, but 99 per cent of them are just lovely. And what they can do in the art room just blows you away. I like to think I’ve put the Keilor art program on the map.
What’s your secret to successful teaching?
When I started it was all chalk and talk. I had kids sitting in rows in desks, 33 in the classroom, and that was a small grade when I started. It’s all computer-based now. I like computers, but in the art room they [students] can get back to basics. I try not to put too much pressure on the kids while maintaining a high standard, nurturing a safe environment where they don’t feel under pressure. Kids are under a lot of stress these days, with NAPLAN and things like that.
And you had another big celebration recently?
My husband Dean and I just celebrated our 30th anniversary. It’s been a bit of a zero year for me (laughs).