Teacher closes the curtains on colourful career
IT WAS a love for teaching children how to read that kept Julie Langlands working in local schools for the past 39 years.
The teacher turned school librarian has worked at Bundamba, Tanduringie, Riverview, Gabbinbar, Walloon, Harrisville and Tivoli state schools.
"I love being around kids, they're so spontaneous. I just really love teaching them to love reading and that sort of kept me going. I couldn't imagine doing anything else," Mrs Langlands said.
Mrs Langlands has spent 30 of those years at Walloon and has reached a point where she's started to teach her former students' children.
"I'm at about 25 families where I've taught the parents and then the kids," she said.
She's the longest serving teacher in the school's 147 year-long history.
While Mrs Langlands had planned on retiring another five or six years down the track, a recent health scare made her reconsider.
"I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the end of last year," she said.
"I just had my one-year check-up and it was all clear. I was extremely lucky because it was a high-grade cancer, but it was contained in a duct.
"I only had to have radiation treatment, no chemo therapy. It made me realise it was time to do a few of the things that we really wanted to do. There's never any guarantees.
"They still tell you that the treatment can give you cancer 10 to 12 years later, so it sort of wakes you up and makes you think."
Next week will mark the last week of school for Mrs Langlands, closing the curtains on one heartwarming and colourful career.
Her dedication to the school has been highlighted through a new circuit being named in her honour at a new estate near the school.
As for plans after retirement, Mrs Langlands and her husband are headed on a cruise in Norway next February to see the Northern Lights. The first of many travels to come after her husband also bought her a caravan while she was undergoing treatment.
She's also started to play lawn bowls.
"I was really worried about it (retirement), I thought I would have a whole lot of issues trying to leave, but the closer it's got the more I'm realising there's definitely a life after work," she said.
Mrs Langlands penned the poem below in preparation for retirement.
THE RETIREMENT OF MRS LANGLANDS
A few decades ago a young teacher began,
That teacher was me, Miss Chandler my name.
At Bundamba State School I spend my first year,
Then off to Tanduringie I went to step up a gear!
Having 3 grades at once, I soon learnt how to teach,
No specialists out there, they were way beyond reach.
But those years were fruitful and I learnt so much,
Like there was no shop for miles if you forgot your lunch!!!
But after two years of bliss, at Riverview School I arrived,
After a short stint at Gabbinbar which I barely survived.
My first year at Riverview was like no other year,
But I learnt about patience, persistence and having no fear.
Riverview taught me the ropes, of that I am certain,
But after six years, down came the curtain.
I was sent to the school on which I'd once set my heart,
Walloon State School, on year seven to start.
The first four years as a classroom teacher I spent,
From Mrs Steele, to Miss Chandler to Mrs Langlands I went.
Probably confusing the parents of all the children I taught,
But four wonderful years of joy and fulfilment it brought.
After a short stint away having my two beautiful girls,
I came to the library, showing students new worlds.
Through books I implored them to read, read, read,
By doing this, I hoped their knowledge to feed.
To the Ipswich District T/L Network I became a member,
The number of Festivals we have run I can barely remember.
We ran comps like Readers' Cup, Story Sports and Kids Lit Quiz,
At helping kids enjoy reading we are all a whiz.
Though I started in the classroom, I was a librarian at heart,
Sharing a love of reading was a perfect place to start.
My Bookweek parades have kept getting bigger and bigger,
And my costumes got more and more crazy, go figure??
In 2002 to an extra school I was sent,
At Harrisville School five wonderful years I spent.
Then it was on Tivoli when my orders came through,
Where I had thirteen great years and a library that was new.
In 2010, the best gift ever I received,
A brand new library which I firmly believed,
Would be the heart of the school, and I have no doubt,
That my "pride and joy" shows what Walloon School is about.
My greatest joy now is being a "Teacher Granny",
Teaching generations of kids from the same family.
It gladdens my heart and fond memories I've had,
When I hear, "Hey Mrs Langlands, you taught my Dad!"
After 22 years in the library, it's time to hang up my chalk,
Thirty-nine years of teaching is making it harder to talk.
Cancer is hopefully giving me a second chance,
To live life to the fullest, to laugh and to dance.
Thank you to the parents I've met along the way,
Your support and encouragement has helped me to stay,
In a job that gets tougher and tougher each year.
Having you by my side helped dispel all my fear.
To all the staff I've worked with throughout the years,
Thanks for the laughter that's often brought me to tears.
Working with you has made my job much more fun,
And the bonus of this is all the friendships I've won.
Those cleaners whose job was to clean up my space,
Know my hoarding tendencies often made me fall from grace.
Thank you for your efforts in trying to make me be neat,
But I'm sorry to say, that was always an impossible feat.
To those awesome Teacher Aides and admin I owe a huge debt,
I have frustrated you totally at times I bet.
Although I've been told many times, "Don't touch the photocopier",
For having you help me out I couldn't have been luckier.
If, many years ago I was your classroom teacher,
I hope that I prepared you well for your future.
And if your crazy Teacher Librarian I was destined to be,
I hope you have a love of reading that will set you free.
For those of you who have chosen to stay in touch,
My appreciation is massive, you have no idea how much.
And now working on staff with And whom I once taught,
Brings a special satisfaction that just can't be bought.
So now it's time for "Out with the old and in with the young",
And all of those very special memories I've hung,
Deep in my heart where they will always be near,
Reminding me of how lucky I've been, and bringing a tear.
Although the highlights have been many, the disappointments few,
Getting older makes it harder to try something new.
But there's one highlight I hope you all get to see,
And that's Langland Circuit in the new Water Lea.
Thank you to those who came to see me today,
I hope you found some friends with whom you once used to play.
I hope you got to reminisce and think of your time with me,
The teacher who wanted you to be the best you could be.
So now it's off into the sunset I'll be heading,
Who knows where I'll end up with all that travelling.
But there's one thing that I certainly know for sure,
I've had the very best career anyone could ask for.