School News & Blog

September 28, 2021

Karen Leech Speech at her Farewell Afternoon Tea

As long term teacher Karen Leech commenced her long service leave prior to her retirement at the end of the year, she made a speech at her farewell afternoon tea. Here are some of her comments.
I have enjoyed my time at SOTE. I can hardly believe that it all started in the Melbourne school in 1983. I had a break due to ill health, of about 14 years and did some supply and contract work in a variety of schools in the district. That experience gave me the chance to see other schools in action and pick up valuable teaching techniques from a variety of teachers. But I was so pleased to be back in 2008 where I really valued the care for the children and parents that we practice here.  I’ve worked with some wonderful parents over the years and I’ve also worked alongside some very caring  and helpful teacher aides.

I was privileged to actually be in Vijay’s teacher meetings way back in the early days. Vijay set up this school because he saw an urgent need to educate our children in a different way, to educate the whole child, emotional, social, spiritual as well as academic. Now more than ever, as I retire I see that need, as we see more stress, mental health issues, greed and corruption in the society, huge wealth inequities in the world and not to mention the climate crisis. Vijay said we should aim to train our children to become future citizens with a universal outlook, aware of their environment, their duties, responsibilities and above all themselves.  But of course, the challenge is for us to be that sort of citizen and I’ve found it to be a lifelong journey and I’m still not there! I will miss the camaraderie between teachers and the close relationship with our students and parents. But it’s time to move on and I trust the school is in good hands with you all. Good luck and may you take the school forward and create an even better place than us oldies did.