Posted on September 30 2019
The following piece featured in The Murray Pioneer (September 2019) by Deputy Mayor of Loxton Waikerie Council, Trevor Norton
The three Rs of local government and another three Rs guiding councillors’ conduct have been the subject of my previous columns, so it will come as no surprise that eventually the original three Rs – reading, writing and arithmetic – would be coming.
While standing in for the Loxton Waikerie Mayor this week past, I returned to my alma mater, Loxton High School, to welcome the nation’s most famous mathematics teacher, Eddie Woo, to town.
He was travelling regional South Australia presenting to hundreds of students and community members on a tour supported by Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland, along with the Department of Education.
Eddie is an inspirational and innovative teacher prominent for his YouTube online mathematics lessons, books and television appearances. In 2018 he received Australia’s Local Hero Award at the Australian of the Year Awards and was a top 10 finalist in the Global Teacher Prize (column space does him no justice – check out a full bio online or Australian Story).
Recounting my education at Loxton High in a welcoming address seemed ancient history, after all it was over four decades ago, and sitting matriculation exams in year 12 was my last hurrah.
Now, reading and writing (English) holds no concerns, and those who know me well enough will attest to that, given I rarely want for word.
Arithmetic however, that’s a beast I struggled to tame long ago; I passed by a fraction and while Aub Mattner did his best, Eddie may have kept me a little more interested – then again maybe not.
But back to my address this week and after a brief mention of university – and in an effort to get out of the way and let the show begin – I wished the students all the best for their future endeavours, but not without a reminder that while it seems most of their life to date has been spent at school, it speeds past.
To see this mathematical magician weave his spell was to wonder: watching students from years 8, 9 and 10 – along with year 7s from surrounding primary schools – completely engaged, entertained and learning was uplifting.
As an aside, while speaking with a couple of teachers accompanying the year 7 students, it became evident that the future move of this grade to high school campuses is supported by those at the coal face. All remarked that children of this age are now so advanced that junior school is no longer the right environment for them socially or academically.
A last look at the buzzing throng in the theatre on departure gave me comfort that the future is bright for Loxton and indeed the Riverland. Among the youth present is no doubt a future quack, scrub, sparky, chippy… and maybe even a mayor.
Trevor Norton is deputy mayor of the District Council of Loxton Waikerie and co-host of 5RM Sports Saturday, but has provided the above comment as his own opinion