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Thank you for the last 20 years, Amanda Smith

Bourke High School Acting Principal Rob Bourke presenting a 20 years service certificate to Amanda Smith. PHOTO Contributed

“Rob Bourke presented me with my twenty-year certificate last week,” Miss Amanda Smith said, “and it’s funny because he was my PE teacher at the school I went to in Taree, so it was kind of a full-circle moment for me.”

Amanda Smith moved to Bourke in 1999 to become the art teacher at Bourke High School, and twenty-three years later, she can’t imagine calling anywhere else home.

“When I finished university,” she said, “I worked as a casual teacher in Sydney at various schools before moving back to Taree to work at the high school, teaching visual arts.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life, and I was tossing up whether to go and teach in England – I always thought that teaching overseas would be cool – but then I saw an ad in the paper asking for casual teachers in Bourke, which I thought would be just as foreign, so I took it, and I’ve been here ever since.

“For me,” she continued, “having a sense of belonging is essential, and I think Bourke has made me feel like I belong; I found a sense of community here, and I hadn’t felt like that with any other place, not even my hometown.”

Throughout Amanda’s tenure as a teacher in NSW schools, she has seen both teachers and students change, and therefore has a unique insight into how the teaching profession has evolved.

“During my twenty-five years in the industry,” she said, “I have seen the teaching profession change out of sight; children have also changed; when I started teaching, there weren’t the issues with technology that we have today.

“With technology, everything comes instantly, and I guess that is good and bad.

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