Photo: David Teo (left) & Bill Conway, Principal
As seen in the e-newsletter Seniors Card
He had barely hung up his work boots when his wife spotted an ad for a maintenance person one day a week by a local school, Montessori East Primary & Pre School in Bondi. It was the perfect fit for a retired engineer who loves fixing things. David could utilise his skills and work in the local community.
David got the job and for the past two years he’s become very much a part of the school. David says “I love the work but what has surprised me most is how appreciated I feel. I didn’t expect to feel so wanted or part of the school community. It’s been very enjoyable.”
Montessori East Principal, Bill Conway says that a sense of community is central to the school’s culture, “We’re a close knit community and David has fit right in. He particularly enjoys coming to any staff social events.”
With children ranging in age from 3 to 12 years at Montessori East, David’s presence creates a lot of interest from the children. The youngest are curious about his tools and have lots of questions about what he’s doing. While David’s engineering background has proved valuable as a resident expert for science based questions for the older children. Recently, a group of seven year old children were doing a project on aircraft and David was invited into the classroom to answer their many technical questions, something they all enjoyed.
Such encounters add to the fabric of the school says Bill Conway, “It’s important that the children see our school as a reflection of society and that we demonstrate values such as respect and gratitude. David has life experience and valuable skills that he brings to the community.”
When asked if he has a particular story to tell of his time so far at the school, David says that more than anything, the acknowledgement that he receives is what stands out. “The children always call out hello to me and the staff and children always thank me for fixing things. It’s very touching.”
When David isn’t working at the school, or planning his next holiday with his wife, he’s the volunteer handyman at St Matthew's and St Andrew’s churches in Bondi. He also became a grandfather recently, adding a new chapter to his life’s book.
Montessori East, situated in Bondi in Sydney's eastern suburbs offers a Montessori education for pre-primary (3-6 year olds) and primary aged children (6-12 year olds).