Life beyond Radford

Last updated 9.05.2018

Paul Willetts

Lives Canberra, Australia
Number of years at Radford 25 years
Year began to teach/work at Radford 1990
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What does life look like for you now?

Given good health, life looks rosy after 43 years in the classroom. My mornings are shared alternately by table tennis and a 45 km ride around Lake Burley Griffin. Travel is very much on the agenda, although maternal responsibilities are deferring their commencement. On the bucket list are Scandinavia and the Arctic, South America, the Galapagos Islands and the Antarctic and an African safari. I might even get round to learning to play the guitar, a long-held desire.

What’s your most endearing memory of Radford?

a) too many heart-warming interactions with student and staff humanity to mention
b) frequent excursions to Germany, France, New Caledonia and Central Australia with well-behaved students who were a credit to parents and school alike

Who or what left the greatest impression on you during time at Radford?

In general, the level of commitment of multiple students and staff and, in particular, to the memory of Graeme Wigg, for his humour, wisdom, fairness and tireless work ethic.

When you think of your time at Radford, what are you most grateful for?

The memory of so many happy and engaging moments with both students and staff, to which countless letters, notes and cards in my scrap albums attest.

What is unique about Radford?

As a foreign language teacher, I placed great store on the need for oral interaction in the classroom, and this therefore comprised 90% of my teaching there. When I first came to Radford in 1990, I followed this philosophy and set the students to work in pairs and groups, when we were not working together as a class group. I was more than surprised to find that the students were doing exactly what I had asked them to do as I moved around the classroom monitoring their pronunciation and sentence structure. I often thought to myself, " I'm new here - shouldn't you be trying me out?" And as time went by it was my observation that whilst not all the students were so motivated, the general level of diligence and expectation of the majority of the students buoyed the rest, such that a very positive environment evolved.

Where are you now?