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The cows come home for Mrs. Grewar

 | 29 March 2017

After a career spanning 61 years, retiring principal of Castletown Primary School in Esperance, Pauline Grewar, reflects fondly on her career in education.

“I’ve seen huge changes in both the school curriculum and the community. When I first started, there were only 1000 people living in Esperance. Every morning we’d have the farmers’ cows walk down the street and every night they’d walk themselves back home — that would never occur now!” laughs Mrs Grewar.

“The resources available to us back then were limited. We didn’t even have books for some of the topics we were teaching. With the help of my colleague Dr Douglas Jecks we decided to write our own.

“Doug and I wrote books on phonics and spelling. For almost 20 years copies of the books were used in schools across Australia and a few even made their way into New Zealand classrooms.”

Mrs Grewar was the youngest graduate of her training institute at only 18 years old. Her career began with a teaching role at Boulder Infants School in 1956, before going to Esperance Primary School in 1967 where she taught for three years.

“The train trip from Kalgoorlie to Esperance took almost 12 hours,” Mrs Grewar recalls. “At every stop we would all get out and boil the billy before setting off again.”

Appointed to Castletown Primary School as a deputy principal in 1970, she remained for the rest of her career at the school, eventually becoming the principal – a job she has enjoyed for 31 years.  

“I’ve been very privileged to be part of such a fantastic community and I’ve seen a wonderful bevy of teachers come through to the school,” Mrs Grewar says.

“I’ve always loved children. I find those early stages of development are so important and exciting, it’s so vital to nurture children at that age and help them however you can.

“I’ve met the children and even the grandchildren of some of my former students, I say to them what lovely students their parents were.”

When asked how she plans to spend her retirement, Mrs Grewar admits she hasn’t really planned anything.

“I’m going to spend some time with my husband but otherwise I’ll find a little niche for myself I’m sure,” she says.

“I believe it is the “hidden curriculum” that makes Castletown Primary School so special — the knowledge that we acquire from the conversations we have, from our values, behaviours and feelings.

“All these things contribute to the environment we create. Those are the lasting impressions that we leave behind.”