Middleton Public School teacher Anne Norton retires after 43-year career

"Educational and mentally stimulating because I learned something every day."

This is how Middleton Public School teacher Anne Norton has summed up her 43-year career.

While she officially retired from full-time teaching in January, Anne took the opportunity to celebrate her retirement with her colleagues and friends on May 16 at the Quality Inn Parkes International.

"It's exciting to go from one situation to another, especially when it's not what you expect it to be," she said.

"I don't miss working seven days a week," she laughed.

"It (retirement) really is all the fun and none of the responsibility."

Anne, now 64, can still be spotted around Middleton - she's been taking on some casual work for the past five months, which she said has allowed her to stay in touch with the kids.

She began teaching at the school in 2003 but her career began in 1976 in Blacktown, not too far from her childhood home in Manly.

"When I was starting out, you didn't really work over 50 years old, women didn't work that long," Anne said.

"You'd get married and have kids, and then that was it."

In total Anne has taught at 14 schools, with Hillsborough near Newcastle between 1992-2003 and Middleton being her longest stints.

Her husband, the late Reg Norton - who grew up in Cowra - brought her to Parkes before he passed away in 2010.

Anne was among the first faces to welcome the school's newest students each year. If she wasn't teaching kindergarten, she mainly turned her attention to either Year 1 or Year 2.

She had the opportunity to be relieving principal on occasions throughout 2018, which saw her teaching students in years 5 and 6.

"I never taught 5 and 6 before and I loved every minute of it," she said.

"To do something different like that was very stimulating, it was only for one term."

Things have just changed so much, it's unbelievable.

Anne Norton

Anne said what she loves most about Middleton Public is the caring staff she's worked with over the past 16 years.

"They're so collaborative," she said.

"When I started out, you were on your own, you had to look after yourself. Here, we work as a team and everyone is more concerned about the school and the children's welfare.

"They're all brilliant and so supportive in everything you do.

"And I love that being a smaller school you get to know every child."

Anne has witnessed many changes in the classroom and in teaching in her 43 years.

"There were no computers," she said.

"When the 286 was introduced and because I was the youngest, they put me in charge of the computer."

She was 32 and working at Hillsborough.

"I'd get a phone call from someone saying 'it doesn't work', I'd ask them if they had turned it on and their response would be yes," Anne said.

"Then I'd ask if they turned it on at the wall and at the module and they'd say 'oh'," she laughed.

"I'd get calls because the printer had no paper."

Anne also remembers having to write very long programs for her classes.

"Once computers were introduced, they started expecting more and more," she said.

"It went from written programs and reports - where if you made a mistake, you had to start all over again - to computers.

"We didn't have photocopiers, it was all jelly pads.

"Things have just changed so much, it's unbelievable.

"That's just over 43 years, imagine the changes since the slate and chalk days."

Anne has been enjoying her spare time at home, spending it with family and finding jobs around the house to do.

"I'm renovating kitchens and bathrooms, that's keeping me very busy," she said.

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