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Tuesday, 22 January 2019 05:47 am

Paraparaumu teaching legend reflects on 40 years with teenagers

chrissie across the top

AFTER four decades of teaching teenagers Chrissie Jorgensen is ready for a new adventure.

Jorgensen, who has taught at Paraparaumu College for 28 years, is leaving at the end of the year and shifting north to build a new house.

“I’ve got everything for the house, I just need to build it now,” said the woman affectionately known as Jorgie.

“Despite my looks I’m not old enough to retire but I’m perilously close. It really is to have an adventure before the zimmerframe”.

She said that although she won’t apply for a teaching job she will be happy to relieve other teaching staff.

“I would also be quite happy to work in the local supermarket and have the best aubergines.”

After teaching in Tawa and Taumarunui, Jorgensen joined Paraparaumu College’s English department in 1987 when the school uniform was brown and yellow.

“I couldn’t believe how vomitous it was,” she said.

Jorgensen has been assistant principal at the college since 2007 and Principal Gregor Fountain describes her as a “much loved teacher and highly respected teacher of literature”.

He said students loved her dramatic teaching style which included memorable in-class performances not only as all three witches in the Scottish play, but Lady Macbeth and McDuff as well.

Abie Bayliss was taught by Jorgensen in 1995 and recalls Jorgensen’s kindness during a particularly hard time.

“She was understanding and compassionate, she also told me I needed waterproof mascara,” she said.

Describing herself as fiercely loyal to the college, Jorgensen said the children have been the highlight of her time teaching.

Outside the classroom she was involved with school rugby, dragon boating, debating, golfing and the stage productions.

Managing the 1st XV rugby team for four years was a highlight.

“I could often be heard bellowing on the sidelines” she said.

Jorgensen said technology has changed but the students are still the same.

“Kids haven’t changed. Their drive is the same. They want to be loved, they want to be accepted, they want to be noticed but they want to be ignored.”

Jorgensen believes 40 years of teenagers has been good for her.

“I still love them, they make you laugh and they make you cry. They break your heart”.

 

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