Rodesia Comita & Margaret McGrath – Term 1, 2017

Teachers Rodesia Comito and Margaret McGrath are class acts who have touched the lives of generations of families over the last half-century.

Ms Comito has taught at St John’s Catholic Primary Auburn for all but six years of her 49-year career.

She has made a difference to the lives of countless primary students, and remembers taking home only a third of the pay of her peers in NSW government schools because she believes in the gospel values that Catholic schools espouse.

Teaching is stimulating and creative work.  I still love what I do.

– Rodesia Comito

“We have a responsibility in the way we live our lives to add to the betterment of the world,’’ she said.

“Our Catholic system serves the children so well because we teach the whole child. We don’t just meet their academic needs, we teach to their social and emotional needs. They get to develop their value system and relationship with God, and learn to treat other people with dignity and justice.”

Ms Comito, who is now teaching the children of parents that were pupils years ago, began her career when large classes were the norm. She was excited when at her teaching appointment at St John’s in 1974 she had only 58 students in her class.

“I had over 64 at my old school, with no teacher’s aide, no ESL or any other support,’’ she said. “But I’ve never looked back and I’ve never had a break from teaching except for two months of long service leave.

“Teaching is stimulating and creative work. I love to see students progress, develop their skills and abilities, and reach their best potential.

“And you know what’s wonderful?  When they’re older and they come back to share with you how you’ve had an impact on their lives.”

Ms Comito is proud of the way she has adapted to changes in education including to technology, compliance, programming and assessments, data gathering and new syllabuses.

“The biggest changes I’ve seen in education are reduction in class sizes and a move away from a very content-based curriculum to a differentiated one,’’ she said. “You have to be adaptable to meet those needs.”

We still place strong value on the charism of the Sisters of Charity.

– Margaret McGrath

Ms McGrath shares the honour of being Sydney Catholic schools’ longest serving teacher after 49 years of service at Bethlehem College Ashfield.

The Science and Religious Education teacher, who also lead’s the school’s environment group, admits she is a veteran of the college. She was also a student at the school.

“I relate really well with all the young people and staff here and love this school,” she says.

Ms McGrath tributes her life-long dedication to the school to a history of strong woman in leadership roles ­–13 since her school days. They have had a profound influence on her own learning and teaching career.

“While we are all lay teachers now, we still place strong value on maintaining the charism of the Sisters of Charity and I think we do that quite well,” she said.

It’s an achievement marked by the pastoral care of the Sisters of Charity since the school was founded in 1881.

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