A love of teaching, feeling valued and freedom to do what he does well has kept Gavin Stevenson in the job at Somerfield School for 40 years.
When he first visited the school, Mr Stevenson recalls laughing when a teacher said he had been there for seven years.
“Fancy staying anywhere for seven years,” Mr Stevenson remarked.
He said teaching was “always on his radar,” although he’s not sure why.
“There were no sort of role models in the family or anything like that,” Mr Stevenson said.
After completing a degree in sociology and psychology, Mr Stevenson applied for a one-year teaching course.
It took a few years of teaching at different schools and a trip to Germany before Mr Stevenson found himself at Somerfield but when he was there, he didn’t leave.
“Like all work places you have your ups and downs and so on but there is this real sense of family,” Mr Stevenson said.
He said he’s contemplated retirement “various times” in the past five years.
But when he finally made the call to retire last year, Mr Stevenson said he “didn’t regret it at all.”
Mr Stevenson said he’s been using the extra time to mountain bike and walk.
He leaves for a five-week holiday in Europe on Anzac Day.
And when he returns, he will be back at the school relieving two days a week until the end of the year.
“It’s a cool way to do it. I couldn’t just stop . . . this way it’s the best of both worlds,” he said.