From the beach to the bush
Andrew Lissaman has made the shift from the coast to the country as part of the Department’s Rural Experience Program. Kerrie O'Connor reports.
01 March 2023
Andrew Lissaman’s posting to a small rural school was supposed to last just a single year – but he’s now signed up for a second.
At the beginning of 2022, the permanent teacher left the salt and sand of Hallidays Point Public School for the Riverina and a temporary post at Darlington Point Public School through the Department’s Rural Experience Program (REP).
Mr Lissaman enjoyed teaching years 3 and 4 on the coast, a trend that’s continued in the bush.
He supports students and is embracing the life of a rural teacher, participating in sport and community events.
“I love it,” he said.
“I am in a lovely little school, with a beautiful community.”
When he was asked if he wanted to extend his stay for a second year, after his REP placement was completed, Mr Lissaman jumped at the opportunity.
“I had the backing of my principal back home on the coast, which helped with my decision,” he said.
“I do miss it, but I can still visit in the holidays.
He loves that Darlington Point is so peaceful.
“It is not so busy, which is quite a nice change,” he said.
“You don’t have the hustle and bustle of the bigger towns.”
He loves walking his two dogs, Timmy and Lucy, on a five-kilometre circuit of the town where he has made his home, Coleambally.
“I also like to garden and am a member of the local gym,” he said.
“There are also lovely restaurants and amenities in Griffith, which is not far away.
“It is remote, but once you get into the life, you are surprised.”
Mr Lissaman encouraged others on the coast or in the city to consider such a move, which could help them secure a permanent teaching position.
“The more schools you work at, the more your network increases,” he said.
He has not decided if he will head back to the coast next year.
“It’s an open book,” he said.
“I have found a school I would be happy to stay at. I feel very comfortable with the staff, students and community.”
Mr Lissaman came to teaching later in life, after working in retail and other sectors. He said it was never too late to consider a career change.
“I am really pleased that I made the change at my time of life,” he said.
“Life experience helps you bring different learning opportunities to the classroom.”
Further information and sign-up details for the next round of program alerts is available via the Rural Experience Program webpage.