2 years had passed at Greensborough Primary School. I would begin the second grade in the year 2009 under the wise teachings of Ms. Geoghean, a stern but fair middle aged woman. She used to teach the fifth and sixth grade, and I’ll never forget that deep voice of hers. But she would end up becoming the first of many human beings to show compassion when our family’s world would be turned upside down.
On April the 2nd 2009, I would witness a serious medical episode of my mother’s that led to a diagnosis of Stage 4 brain cancer. Despite the trauma of seeing my mother in such a way, I was straight back at school the next day. Ms Geoghean made sure that our classroom aide Emilia watched me like a hawk for the next couple of weeks and I still remember Emilia saying the very next day, “You will get through this. It’s not the end of the world”.
My mum was practically on her deathbed back then when I was only 7 years old. But who knows, it may have been the soothing words of my Grade 2 classroom aide that bore birth to incredible strength.
Serious things may have been happening at home, but I still enjoyed my childhood at school. I was a bookworm and the librarian Ms. Farley always made an exception for me when there was a maximum of 3 books borrowed and she would let me take 6.
Throughout all of my primary school, we had swimming lessons at the local pool, where I went through around 6 pairs of goggles in 5 years. The Twilight Sports event where the school would come together and participate in a range of events from 4 different teams. I was in Acacia House, or the Yellow House. We were always the battlers and I don’t think we won a Twilight Sports whilst I was there.
There was also the Book Club, which ran 4 times a year where I managed to take home $100 worth of books each semester and completely baffle my peers as to how I read so much. Parent Teacher Interviews, where I was always a good, well mannered kid – I never seemed to do nothing wrong. I also managed to break Gaurav’s arm in this time, and that’s the only time I’m guilty of accidentally pushing someone over. We’re still good mates now.
We also had Religious Education classes with Caroline, a pastor from Canada. It was something that no one really took that seriously considering the secular Australian society we live in. No one really did any work sadly but Caroline was a nice lady.
The first teacher I’d ever dislike would come around this time in the form of art teacher – Ms. Troy. She would sadly give me a hatred for the subject, as I did feel she picked on me and kept me back for nothing. I was quite talkative in Art though, as I didn’t really see it as a necessary subject.
When my parents or grandparents couldn’t look after me when school finished, they would send me to After School Care in the art room with Jacqui, a very friendly, warm, indigenous aboriginal lady. She was great friends with my Mum and always helped me out where she could. Even the occasional painful lecture about listening to the peer pressure of others!
Other good memories included the Book Weeks where I would beg my parents for more books, the painful NAPLAN government examinations and meeting another best friend Emily Jose.
Before I knew it, I had started Grade 3. I was still in Ms. Geoghean’s classroom too, being a handful of kids who stayed under her tenure whilst the rest of my classmates would go to Ms Pearce. My first ever school camp would come in Grade 3 as well, and we’d travel to the Great Ocean Road Town of Anglesea. I shared a bunk with my mate Zac Gibbs and another boy called Cameron Black.
It was certainly an eventful camp, where we all got stuck on Anglesea Beach in the freezing cold and brutal wet. The queue to the shower block was enormous and I remember Cameron hilariously saying we were all defrosting ourselves. We all came home sick from that camp, and it created my dislike for those camps too.
If there’s anything I can take away from my years under Ms. Geoghean, she was actually one of the first to teach me about the idea of conflict resolution. She helped solve my rivalry with Gaurav, even after breaking his arm and having a massive fight with him over a science project that involved an empty milk bottle with straws for hair – yes I know, that sounds ridiculous!
She believed in me a lot after everything that happened with Mum. And I’ve got to finish this off by saying she was the first teacher who let me skip literacy and math’s classes so I could hop on planes to Sydney and New Zealand respectively. God bless you Ms. Geoghean!