Greg Moffitt has been teaching maths to Hawkesbury teenagers for 40 years

HE describes himself as a quiet achiever who loves telling maths-related dad jokes.

If your high school maths teacher said the sum was 'Easy as Pi' and chuckled, then you might have been one of this gentleman's students.

Happy career: Greg Moffitt has been teaching maths at high schools in the Hawkesbury for 40 years, including 20 years at Bede Polding College. Pictures: Geoff Jones

Happy career: Greg Moffitt has been teaching maths at high schools in the Hawkesbury for 40 years, including 20 years at Bede Polding College. Pictures: Geoff Jones

Meet Greg Moffitt, a 64-year-old Glossodia resident who has been teaching maths to high school students in the Hawkesbury for 40 years.

Or, to be more precise, teaching "maths and manners - the two m's," as he told the Gazette with a laugh.

As far as maths teachers go, Mr Moffitt is a Hawkesbury local through and through; his career includes eight years teaching at Windsor High, followed by Hawkesbury High for 12 years, and now 20 years at Bede Polding College.

"Most people who've been classroom teachers as long as me have stepped up to management and coordination roles; I did one term at Hawkesbury High up that end of town and decided I wanted to be in the classroom," Mr Moffitt said.

"I still like working with the teenagers: I like it when you see the switch actually go on and they start to understand things - I get a lot out of that."

Is teaching maths to teenagers a tough gig? "It can be," he admitted, and added the trick was to be calm and respectful, and command respect back.

"You can press buttons on any device now and you can get answers, so it's harder [these days] to gain interest and inspire enthusiasm," he said.

"I kind of liken myself to one of those dogs that grabs you on the back of the leg and won't let you go; eventually it works if you stick in there! That's what I try to instill in the kids: 'keep at it and it'll happen for you'.

"I never growl at them. In that way, I'm still teaching like my favourite teacher taught me at high school."

Back in the 1970s, Mr Moffitt had wanted to teach in Bathurst where he did his teacher training. Instead, he was posted to the Hawkesbury, and stayed here for the "friendly people" and the "nice mix of city and rural living".

Colleagues: Greg Moffitt (left), currently a maths teacher at Bede Polding College, is pictured here with Bede Polding principal Mark Compton.

Colleagues: Greg Moffitt (left), currently a maths teacher at Bede Polding College, is pictured here with Bede Polding principal Mark Compton.

"I'm now teaching the children of those I taught," he said. "I run into a lot of ex-students. They say 'thanks for kicking me up the backside, and now I get it!"

He said the expectations on teachers doing administrative paperwork had increased over the years.

"It adds hours and hours every week. As far as I'm concerned it just takes away time and effort from doing the most important thing, which is what you do in the classroom," he said.

Have teenagers changed much over the last 40 years? "I haven't found much of a difference at all," he said.

"I find Hawkesbury kids are generally friendly, easy-going kids. I've still got kids at the end of every lesson who say 'thank you' - they don't take [what I do] for granted, which is really nice.

"All the staff I've worked with over the years have been great. It's the sort of job that can be highly stressful and emotions can get in the road, so having backup like that is good."

Another aspect of his job that he enjoys is outside of the maths classroom: "I've done a lot of sports coaching in the schools. I play guitar and love music and helped produce a lot of variety night concerts at the schools. You get more out of the kids, after that type of interaction."

When asked about some of his favourite dad jokes to tell in the classroom, he replied with: "There are only three kinds of people in the world: those who can count, and those who can't count."

And, "Did you know that 92 per cent of statistics are misleading?"

Comments