Retiring teacher honoured with TLC

Principal of Pakuranga Heights School Fintan Kelly with retiring teacher Theresa Louisson after she unveiled the plaque dedicated to her long service. Times Photo Wayne Martin

Theresa Louisson was least expecting it.

A teacher at Pakuranga Heights School for 26 years, she was visibly moved when principal Fintan Kelly announced at a school assembly on Wednesday that the new covered outdoor learning area would be dedicated to the long-term teacher who is retiring this term.

“We are going to name the structure (shade) Theresa Louisson Cloud and would like to honour her dedication and long service to Pakuranga Heights School. Also her flexibility to teach different classes, whenever needed was remarkable,” he said.

A blessing followed by a moving waiata (song) by the students reverberated through the school grounds and a kapa haka set the mood for a touching farewell attended by students, teachers and even parents of ex-students.

In the profession for 32 years, Louisson has always been passionate about teaching children about the environment and sustainability.

Talking to the Times, the Enviro teacher proudly points out to the bush area that surrounds the school saying, “We didn’t have native birds earlier, but after we planted that native bush along with native trees (some of which existed) we have Tui and fantails and other native birds at school. You can hear the bird song.”

About the unveiling of the plaque, dedicated to her, she says she was in for a big surprise.

“It was a shock for me. I wasn’t expecting it at all! I am sure there would have been other teachers who would have deserved that honour. I am very touched.”

As for retiring she says, “Teaching is a part of my soul. I will never fully retire. I am sure I will do fill-in roles and be involved with the profession in some way or the other.”

Margret Wilson, a Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO) teacher, says that Louisson always had a very special way with students.

“She knows how to bring out the best in them. I’ve often tried to observe her teaching methods and asked young teachers to make notes on how well she teaches but it is something that we can never replicate. She is indeed very, very special.”