A teacher of generations

Michael TraillAlbany Advertiser
Findlay MacNish will retire from the teaching profession after 50 years of service on December 17.
Camera IconFindlay MacNish will retire from the teaching profession after 50 years of service on December 17. Credit: Laurie Benson/Picture: Laurie Benson, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

After half a century as a teacher, Albany Primary School’s Findlay MacNish will dismiss his class one final time in less than a fortnight.

Fresh out of the teachers’ college, Mr MacNish was shipped out to the Fairbridge Farm School, where he needed one of his few Australian-born students to translate their migrant classmates’ regional British accents to him.

After six years at Fairbridge in the early 1970s, Mr MacNish made the move to APS, where he has become one of the region’s best-loved and longest-serving teachers.

Mr MacNish has learnt a thing or two about getting the best out of his students over the 50-year journey.

He was bullied as a child, and he thought as a teacher he could help change the schooling experience for other children.

He said showing students you trusted them and giving them opportunities were key. “You absolutely can tell there’s long-standing relationships with Findlay and our school community,” APS principal Cathy Willis said.

“He has ex-students that keep in contact with him, ex-students who invite him to their wedding and I think that is an absolute tribute to Findlay that he has developed those close personal relationships with our APS community.”

Musical productions and taking classes on walkabout trips will be among Mr MacNish’s fondest memories.

Leaving the classroom for the last time on Tuesday, December 17, Mr MacNish said he would enjoy starting his daily 10km morning walks at 7am instead of 4:30am.

In August, the Advertiser named him one of Albany’s most influential people.

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