Colin Rogers has inspired generations of students at Hastings Secondary College and will now do the same when takes up his post at Mungindi Central School in 2021.
The word farewell contains the essence of the teaching attributes Mr Rogers is to us all – a FAIR teacher who inspired his students to do well in their lives. "Great teachers recognise that what they do is an extension of who they are," Mr Rogers says.
Mr Rogers grew up in a working-class family where getting a job to provide for his family was more essential than being in school. Colin was encouraged to leave school at 14 years and nine months, but he disobeyed and stayed at school in true Mr Roger's style.
Inspired by his inspirational Year 9 English Teacher, Helen Beecham, he decided to choose a career in teaching. School wasn't easy for Mr Rogers, he did well, but wasn't allowed to study at home, wasn't allowed to have a light on to read and repeatedly told that school would get you no-where. Mr Rogers loved school, despite it all.
In Year 12 he ranked first in English, History, Biology and Economics, however failed Mathematics.
Mr Rogers received a scholarship and qualified entry into UNE, ANU, Sydney University, Wollongong University, and the NSW University. He finally chose to complete a Bachelor Arts/Diploma Education with a double major in English and History at Wollongong University.
In between studying as an early career teacher, he often had to leave University to care for all of his brothers and sister. Mr Rogers was the fifth child of ten children!
By 1985, aged 30, Mr Rogers was married with his third child on the way and commenced his teaching career at Brewarrina Central School, 100km east of Bourke. This was Mr Roger's first permanent placement as an English Teacher.
As a parent, he had already mastered the art of resourcefulness. Raising a family took patience and planning. He already knew how to communicate effectively with his children and this helped with his teaching (even though he was often faced with challenges).
Mr Rogers taught in Nowra, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Broken Hill before arriving at Port Macquarie in 2004.
" Being a teacher isn't going to make anyone rich – but it is one of the most rewarding careers on the planet." Mr Rogers said.
He reminisces on the impact he has had on his students lives. Mr Roger's ethos is "I can't teach every child in the world—but I can make a difference for the ones that I do teach".
He recalls a memory that, to this day, stirs significant emotion within him. Whilst working in Katherine, he had no choice but to teach his own son as the school was not big enough to have many classes. (This was very difficult for his son being a teacher's child.)
One day in the Library, some students were saying nasty things about him, in which his son overheard. This situation was difficult for his son to hear and he was conflicted - to fit in with other students and say nothing or defend his father. Before having to make that call, his son heard another student say to the group "stop saying that about Mr Rogers, he saved my life". The impact he had made on this young man was life-changing.
He told us the most rewarding part of his career is the students – no day is ever the same, and no student is the same.
Mr Roger's believes learning is a lifelong journey and doesn't just happen at school and he’s a huge believer in the 'school of life'.
"Success is not the key to happiness; happiness is the key to success". Mr Rogers demonstrated the love of learning and was persistent in passing that love of learning onto his students.
He refers to his teaching style as sometimes politically incorrect and uses humour to connect with his students. He has a love of English, and takes pride passing this love onto his students. He believes that a teacher's essential characteristic should be an in-depth knowledge of their subject and being relatable, approachable and simplifying the complex work into chunks to make it manageable.
There's a saying "If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life." Mr Colins' believes that it's perfectly normal to love your job and simultaneously recognise the fact that it's hard work. "The point is, loving your career is one thing—the activities and responsibilities you have on a day-to-day basis is essential, but loving the impact that your job has on someone else is truly extraordinary."
Mr Rogers himself is a life-long learner and Shakespeare is his favourite author. He loves to teach students the poetic beauty of Shakespeare. His all-time favourite is Kate's Monologue Taming of the Shew.
Taming of the Shrew: Kate's Monologue (monologuearchive.com) – making Shakespeare relevant.
Outside of teaching, Mr Rogers enjoys trivia, dance, music, and plays in an orchestra, enjoys the beach, is a lifeline counsellor and spends quality time with friends and family.
Mr Rogers, thank you for your motivation, knowledge, and insight that you have given to all of us. Nothing can come close to the inspirational presence of a teacher like you in a student's journey. You have no idea how important the role you play in shaping your students to reach their brilliant destiny.
Ordinary teachers teach students to succeed. Great teachers teach their students to convert failures into success. Hastings Secondary College wants to salute you for being the great teacher.
Mr Rogers, we will miss you and always remember you. In honour of your teaching career at Hastings Secondary College, our two baby goats have been named Colin and Rogers.
We wish you the very best with your new teaching position as you continue to change the lives of young people as you have done in Port Macquarie.