Birds of a Feather: Where are they now?

Murray Farm Public School’s motto ‘A Great Place to Be’, certainly rang true for retired primary school teachers, Robyn Burt and Joan Stammers. Their association, which began in the staffroom thirty years ago, begs the question: what makes for an enduring friendship? In the case of Robyn and Joan, the answer lies in the 16th century proverb: birds of a feather…

Though born and raised half a world away, (Robyn in Melbourne and Joan in Yorkshire), both developed a thirst for knowledge and became teachers. Today, after many years spent juggling careers and family lives, ‘Mrs Burt and Mrs Stammers’ have lost none of their wonder of words or interest in learning. They’re members of the same writer’s club. They play scrabble and often browse through the dictionary – for fun. (Who knew that an apple chog is the core of the fruit?) Robyn still teaches. She’s a volunteer Pyjama Angel, and for several years has been helping a 15 year old foster child with his reading. Joan is a published story writer and poet. Her rendition of ‘The Lion and Albert’ by Marriot Edgar – in her Yorkshire accent – is an absolute delight. And if called upon, Joan can recite all verses of Robert Browning’s ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin.’ Both women are history and garden buffs too, which prompted them to join the Focus on History Bus Group at Learning in the Hills, Baulkham Hills. On the 18th September, their first excursion, Robyn and Joan were warmly welcomed aboard the coach. Bus group ‘regulars’ had the routine down pat. They’d brought lunch, the odd thermos – and they knew the location of clean comfort stops along the way! Volunteer driver Norm, eased in behind the wheel. Their destination? The Tulip Festival in Bowral. And the teachers’ report? A great day in perfect weather! Though the anticipated display of 75,000 tulips and 15,000 annuals were not wholly in bloom – there’s always next year…

So, where are they now – your children’s ‘old primary school teachers’? Perhaps like ‘Mrs Burt and Mrs Stammers’ they’ve retired. Perhaps like Robyn and Joan, they’re thriving on more ‘personal development’ – still learning – and still laughing!


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