Student returns to Port High as teacher

WHEN Ryan Carrero was a Port Macquarie High School student, he had no inkling he would return more than a decade later as a teacher.

The 28-year-old former music teacher did just that late last month.

From 1997 to the end of 2000, Gary Littlefair, Geoff Duck, Stuart Jackson, Michael Sanderson, Hamish Keddie and Michael Boreham were among Ryan’s teachers at Port Macquarie High School.

Those teachers, who are still on staff, are now Ryan’s colleagues.

“It brings back memories, for starters,” Ryan says about teaching at a school where he was once a student.

Ryan first returned to Port High in his second practical placement as a student teacher, which he says was a strange experience.

Now he sets the homework, rather than completing homework.

And Ryan is not the only former student who has come full circle at the school.

Stewart Heddles followed a similar path.

Ryan and Stewart studied music together as teenagers at Port Macquarie High School and both now spend their lunch time in the staff room instead of the school yard.

The room they once sat in as students is now the room they teach from.

Ryan has always had a passion for music.

Listening to music came first, then Ryan learnt the guitar.

He views teaching as another element to his musical bow.

Many Australian musicians have taught music at some stage including Guy Sebastian who has a teaching background.

Ryan pursued a teaching career to influence the younger generation, especially in the field of music.

Music is more than a school subject, he says, as music constantly changes and develops.

Ryan says generally he doesn’t like One Direction but he can appreciate what they do.

“It is about getting people appreciating [music], realising what else is out there and having an open mind about music,” he says.

Year 8 music students are examining the music of the Jacksons, including the late Michael Jackson.

The pop star, whose music dates back decades, is still influencing today’s generation.

“Usher, One Direction, Beyonce, and Justin Timberlake ... all those are heavily influenced by his kind of music,” Ryan says.

As a teacher, Ryan says he enjoys introducing the students to new musical experiences.

“I like hanging around the kids, as funny as that sounds,” he says.

“Having to keep up with them drains you and gives you a certain type of energy.”

Ryan was a spraypainter before turning his attention towards study at TAFE and then university.

He is an advocate of public education.

“The public education system is very strong and the results really speak for themselves,” Ryan says.

“I have very eager and keen students.”

Ryan teaches classes from year 7 to 11, and while music is his specialty, he also teaches language, information technology, history and music appreciation to a special needs class.

On the home front, Ryan enjoys a range of music from funk and rock to blues, electronic and dance music.

“It’s a great form of expression,” he says about music.

“It’s something you can always go back to, no matter if you are in a good mood, a sad mood or whatever mood.”

Ryan considers music to be a universal language.

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