Exford teacher racks up 47 years of service

John Finn. Picture: Kristian Scott

John Finn started his teaching career almost five decades ago at a tiny rural Victorian primary school.

There were nine pupils, aged five to 12, one classroom and one teacher: Mr Finn.

A year later, he left for greener pastures. These days, he’s a sports teacher at Exford Primary School.

Mr Finn has been recognised by the Education Department with a ‘recognition of service’ award for his 47-year commitment to the profession.

“We don’t do it for the recognition, but getting some recognition is good,” Mr Finn said. “If you recognise what adults and children are doing, you get better results from them.”

But he said communication and “recognising” pupils in some of the worst Victorian schools hadn’t come without its challenges – and successes.

“The highlight of my career has been, I think, having the confidence and ability to step into any situation and deal with it in a friendly and co-operative manner and get … positive outcomes.

“Something I learned fairly early on is that the more you put into the children and the more interest you can demonstrate in them as a person, not purely as a student, the better things work out for everybody.

You can’t [teach] for 40, 45, 50 years unless you truly enjoy it.”

He has one very important piece of advice for budding teachers: “Know what your task is and know the children.”