Over the past 45 years, Shepparton’s Peter Frizzell has witnessed more changes in the education system than most.
With a career spanning nearly half a century, the Grahamvale Primary School assistant principal was acknowledged at a Recognition of Service ceremony hosted by the Department of Education and Training in Melbourne over the weekend.
The ceremony held at the National Gallery of Victoria, recognised over 200 teachers, principals, school support officers and corporate staff who have dedicated more than 40 years of service to education in Victoria.
Mr Frizzell said his career began in 1975 as a head teacher at Kenmare, a position he never expected to land.
‘‘I was brought up on a farm and my parents said I don’t want you on the farm, there are things called studentships so see if you can get one of those,’’ he said.
‘‘Originally I thought I would be a secondary teacher but I’m happy I became a primary teacher.’’
What followed was 18 years as a headteacher at a number of small schools around Victoria, including Kalkee, Mooroopna North West and Wunghnu, and eight years as a classroom teacher at Gowrie Street Primary School.
In 2002 Mr Frizzell became the assistant principal at Grahamvale Primary School.
‘‘I had been a small school principal for a number of years and I wanted to move closer to the family because I felt I was missing too much, so I moved to Grahamvale,’’ Mr Frizzell said.
Sixteen years later, Mr Frizzell said he cannot pinpoint a specific memory that stands out from his time at Grahamvale, rather an extensive career where he has met and worked alongside some amazing people.
‘‘The special memories that I will take away from this school are the community and the people I have met,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s all about the people and the relationships I have built up over that time.’’
With 45 years of teaching under his belt, one would imagine Mr Frizzell has experienced his fair share of changes in the education industry.
With the introduction of the internet and the growth of technology, Mr Frizzell said teachers worked to adapt to the continual changes.
‘‘There has been huge changes, the kids haven’t changed much but there has been a lot of changes in how teaching is done,’’ he said.
‘‘You adapt to what has been happening it is a lot easier these days because I am a digital immigrant whereas children today are digital natives.
‘‘We are more about creativity and children being the best they can be using all the resources that we have got ... but that is all they are, they’re only resources they’re not the be all and end all.’’
When asked if he had any idea whether he would continue working to reach the 50 year milestone, Mr Frizzell said he would have to wait and see.
With a plan to take his career year by year for the time being, one thing is obvious: he will never lose his enjoyment for helping children learn and develop.
‘‘If you have have got the passion to do the job you continue to do it and I don’t believe I have lost the passion for doing it because I love being around kids,’’ Mr Frizzell said.
‘‘If I have made a difference in someone’s life then I have achieved what I set out to do.’’