Denise McLoughlin's 30 years of teaching service for St Agnes' Parish schools was recognised in a celebration held in her honour on Friday, December, 13 at St Peter's Primary School in Port Macquarie.
Classes of children performed at the special assembly, followed by a function with teachers and families from St Peter's Primary School and other St Agnes' Parish schools.
"I'm very humble that my school would celebrate my retirement," Ms McLoughlin said.
"The best part about working at St Peter's has been the interaction with the children and the comradery with the staff. It's been wonderful being part of a learning community."
Ms McLoughlin's teaching career began in 1972 with the NSW Department of Education in the Illawarra region.
She was then transferred to Sydney and moved to Coffs Harbour in 1977.
In 1987 she moved to Port Macquarie and started working at St Agnes' Primary School in 1989, working as a support teacher for students with learning difficulties.
"I was a reading recovery teacher, which is a specialised form of teaching that helps children one-on-one with their reading," she said.
"Special education was in the very early stages in the Diocese. A lot of thought was put in by a special group of teachers to develop the program. It was an exciting time."
In 1996 she completed a Bachelor of Education, majoring in special education.
In 2000 she started at St Peter's Primary School as a Year 2 teacher.
She also taught Year 1 and worked in other roles such as the coordinator of the Special Education Program, the coordinator of Religious Education and became the coordinator of the Parish State School Sacramental Program for the broader Parish for 10 years.
Despite the additional responsibilities spanning her career, special education has been Ms McLoughlin's area of passion and expertise.
"Reading is such a complex area of learning for children. The best part of working in Special Education is seeing children who have had difficulty, master that difficulty and make progress," she said.
"It's satisfying when you get to see them going into high school. I've just had a Year 1 class do their HSC.
"Then as adults seeing what a great job they've made of their lives. It's any teacher's greatest reward."
Ms McLoughlin said would like to leave new teachers with a piece of wisdom.
"If there's one piece of advice, it would be to enjoy the ride! It's very important to draw on the expertise of your fellow teachers and be open to other people's ideas.
Wednesday, December 18 marks Ms McLoughlin's last day at St Peter's Primary School and the end of her teaching career.
She intends to travel and plans to spend more time with her grandchild and family.
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