Tammy Schinckel celebrates 30 years of teaching

PASSION: Tammy Schinckel has loved every moment of her 30 years of teaching. Photo: FILE

PASSION: Tammy Schinckel has loved every moment of her 30 years of teaching. Photo: FILE

After three decades of teaching, Naracoorte High School's Tammy Schinckel's passion and love for the job has never wavered.

She started her teaching career in Naracoorte in 1991, and has never looked back.

But although teaching is her true passion, it was not her original dream.

"I wanted to be a chef and I did work experience in year 10 and got with a very temperamental chef and decided I couldn't do that for a four year apprenticeship," she said.

"So I thought about what I could do to combine the love of food with something else, so I decided I'd be a home economics teacher.

"I was one of those kids that wanted to leave school at year 10, I hated school and didn't want to be there and then I dedicated my life to it."

After four years of teaching college, Ms Schinckel applied for jobs all over Australia, and was lucky enough to land a job at Naracoorte High School.

She may have started her career as a home economics teacher, but over the years she has continued to upskill herself, completing certificates in fitness, aerobics, commercial cookery, tourism and retail.

"Even though I've stayed at Naracoorte High School, I've changed my focus, learnt all the time and built on my skills," she said.

"It's not 30 years of doing the same thing, it's 30 years of challenging, learning and growing."

She is currently the assistant principal and ran the Independent Learning Centre for nine years, where she started the Head Heart Hand Connect program, which gave students the opportunity to travel to Cambodia to assist with building washhouses at schools.

Ms Schinkel's hard work has been acknowledged over the years, being awarded a medal in 2004 in recognition of her contribution to the community and the teaching profession and in 2017, she was awarded best secondary education teacher in the SA Excellence in Public Education Awards.

But the biggest highlights for Ms Schinckel was her work worth the Independent Learning Centre and taking children to Cambodia.

"The biggest highlights are being able to strengthen those community connections and watching those moments when kids finally start believing in themselves," she said.

"Taking the kids to Cambodia is a huge highlight, watching the personal growth and journey and seeing them develop as young people.

"Also, writing programs to see them connect with life and watching them bloom."

Even after so many years, her love for the job remains.

"I couldn't do what I do if it wasn't for the young people I have the privilege of working with," she said.

"They are the ones I get up in the morning and am excited to see.

"They trust us with so much - they rock up and give you the opportunity to work with them, that is a real privilege.

"They inspire me, young people are so amazing."