Pauline’s contributions to education recognised
Pauline Davenport has been a teacher for 42 years, and a resident of Tennant Creek for 31 years.
Born in London, the veteran educator began her career in 1977 as a relief science teacher at inner London schools.
Her overseas work and travel included three years as a volunteer mathematics, science and English teacher in Borneo, a three-year appointment as a science teacher in Papua New Guinea, and tours of Australia and the Pacific.
Pauline’s experience of Australia prompted her to migrate from England.
“I travelled around Australia as a tourist and I knew I wanted to come back to the Northern Territory as a teacher,” she said. “I came to Darwin to look for a job, and by chance a job became available at Tennant Creek High School, so I took it.
“I arrived in Tennant Creek with my baby daughter in 1988, beginning as a Maths/Science teacher across the middle and senior school, then into the head of department role in Maths/Science, VET Coordinator, and then assistant principal.
“Schools are not static places, and I cherish the principle that all children can learn. It is our responsibility to identify the best educational avenues to help them reach their potential.
“One of my passions is to be able to provide all students with the most flexible model for learning, so that every student has the opportunity to be a Year 12 completer and have an employment pathway into the future.”
Pauline is especially proud of helping an increasing number of Aboriginal students to complete Year 12, and of her participation in the extracurricular Sundowners Homework Club.
“For many years I’ve offered help to students who need academic support when they don’t have facilities at home for learning, or they need one-to-one advice,” she said.
“This developed into the Sundowners Homework Club that operates four evenings a week, and Sunday afternoons.
“The aim has been to change the culture of learning for students so that they can value learning outside the classroom.”
Pauline has been awarded an Honorary Medal in the Order of Australia for her service to education.
“I don’t follow any social media, and I was amazed when I saw how many people had written congratulatory messages,” she said.
“They included people who remembered me from years ago, and it was great to hear from them.
“Everyone at school, the staff and students have been very kind, and an amazing number of people in the wider community have congratulated me.”
She has also been presented with a Volunteer of the Year Award, and a Woman of the Barkly Award.
“Some may wonder how I could stay so long at Tennant Creek High School, but one year is never the same as another,” she said.
“I will continue at the school for a few more years because I think there are still things I can achieve before I retire.
“The staff and students are a pleasure to work with, and I have never regretted making Tennant Creek my home.”