Earlier today, Port Lincoln High School said goodbye to a century of teaching experience from three outstanding English/HASS teachers – Mrs. Joanna Tiffen, Mr. Greg Fitzgerald and Mr. Peter Jolley each received standing ovations from their grateful colleagues at this afternoon’s emotion end-of-year farewells. Faculty Leader Ms. Holly Dufek penned a very clever and fitting tribute to these three wonderful educators (along with forty-year servant Mr. Sam Othams who retired earlier this year) in the form of a newspaper article. Please enjoy the following excerpt; a PDF copy of the full document is available below. Congratulations and thank you Jo, Fitzy and PJ.
“NOT ALL SUPERHEROES WEAR CAPES“
Today three local superheroes retire their capes and lanyards after a collective 100 years at Port Lincoln High School. On Friday 16th December, the three English-teaching greats, Peter Jolley, Greg Fitzgerald and Jo Tiffen, join Sam Othams to make four chalkies in total who have turned their back on a dwindling faculty this year. Flailing faculty leader Holly Dufek said that after these four 2022 retirements, the English and HASS faculty would be down 150 years of teaching experience than the same time last year. ‘We will certainly miss these well-respected heroes, both as teachers of our students and as valuable colleagues of our work site‘.
Othams started at PLHS in 1980 under the leadership of Gary Nicol, the Principal. Othams has mostly taught English 8 – 12, but with some Year 9 History, a little bit of Geography, and Australian Studies a few times. ‘I taught Year 9 Drama back in the day and one year filled in for the final term of Year 12 Drama as their teacher was ill. I directed the pantomime Pinocchio in the mid-80s’.
Fitzgerald also arrived at the school in 1983 under Principal Nicol. He taught a broad range of subjects but primarily encompassing English from 8 to 12, including each of the three-stage 2 courses and HASS across 8 to 10 and History at Stages 1 and 2, including three of the stage 2 History courses, as well as the cross-disciplinary subjects over the last ten years being the Research Project and the PLP. Fitzy says, ‘I like the RP because you operate as a facilitator for the students learning, but I hate the PLP because it is as dry as a burnt steak.’ Fitzgerald also taught stage 1 and 2 Aboriginal Studies several times. He says, ‘My favourite course would be stage 2 Modern History.’ Fitzy also did a stint as a stage 2 English Moderator from 1987 to 1999. ‘Those white plastic bags were a nightmare, especially when you saw all of them piled up and wondered how in the hell are we going to work through all of those in a week‘.
Tiffen started at PLHS in 1990 with Jim Davies as principal, but she doesn’t remember seeing much of him. Before beginning work at PLHS, she taught at Kadina Memorial High, Leigh Creek area and briefly at Elizabeth City High. Like many English and HASS-trained staff, Tiffen has been gifted various courses under various names, including Year 12 English under different titles, Legal Studies, Research Project, Aboriginal Studies, Tourism, Literacy, and, as an emergency fill-in for a term, Business Studies. ‘Thank goodness Wayne arrived that year to put the class and me out of our misery.‘ Tiffen shudders.
Jolley (PJ) started at Port Lincoln High School in 1993 after previous years at Lameroo Regional Community School, Suneden School for Intellectually Disabled Children in Mitchell Park and at the Autistic Clinic School in Wattle Park. Over PJ’s 30 years at PLHS, he was involved in a plethora of courses and education realms, including all courses of English 8-12, Accelerated Literacy, Health and PE, HASS, Australian Studies, Hospitality (PLHS’ first VET course, with Rosemary Holden), Care and Health Industry Pathways in Schools (CHIPS: aged care, disability care and child-care), Year 12 Psychology (introducing the course to PLHS), ESL (working with kids from overseas with no English), Counsellor/ Well-Being Leader over the past 14 years, Co-ordinator of English/LOTE, Special Education Co-ordinator, Co-ordinator of SSO’s, Member of Finance Committee, PAC representative and Sub-Branch Secretary of AEU.