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Araura College’s Lockington takes a break from teaching

Tuesday 31 January 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Education, National


Araura College’s Lockington takes a break from teaching
Gaylyn Lockington ended her term as principal of Araura College on January 18, 2023. SUPPLIED/23013013

Aitutaki resident Gaylyn Lockington has taken a break from the teaching profession and is focusing on spending more time with her parents.

She ended her term as principal of Araura College on January 18, handing over the reins to incoming principal Corina Ngatamariki.

Lockington said: “2023 will be my break from the teaching profession as I spend more time with my elderly parents plus work alongside my partner in assisting him with the administrative side of our ‘RnG’ Automotive business in Aitutaki.”

“Time for a change!”

The Aitutaki born and former Araura College student says she always wanted to be a teacher.

She applied to the Cook Islands Training College but was not accepted and went on to New Zealand where she completed her secondary school studies at Fraser High before entering Waikato University for tertiary studies.

Due to family commitments, she moved to Australia and lived in Melbourne with her elder sister. 

Although she had various jobs her desire to become a teacher remained.

“I applied and was accepted at the Frankston University, however we couldn’t find any accommodation in the area and I would have to commute two hours each way so I decided that was not the time for me.”

Lockington said she always dreamt of returning home to Aitutaki and be of service to her island community.

She said when the opportunity arose, she ended her principal’s role at Titikaveka College and returned home to her parents.  

The last four years at the helm of Araura College had been a rollercoaster ride, Lockington said.

In 2019 she was stranded in New Zealand due to the Covid-19 lockdown. She was working from New Zealand as well as from Rarotonga while in quarantine.

During that time, assistant principal Rere Mataiti who was on the island stepped up to take charge of the school.

“Working during Covid brought more challenges, however we were able to prepare for learning from home,” Lockington said.

“Fortunately and thank the Lord, this did not eventuate and school continued as normal for us.”

She said when Covid was detected in Aitutaki last year, she was thankful it was towards the end of the term. Majority of the staff got infected during the two week school holiday.

“The Good Lord was surely watching over us because if this was still school time, we would have been very short staffed.”

Lockington said working with her own people had been very interesting, adding they had some great experiences, memories and challenging moments.

“This only motivated me to do better and prove myself worthy of this role. A role I was proud to have had an opportunity to experience in my own community as it was a dream come true for me, to serve my people as a teacher.

“But I was fortunate to also serve as the principal of the school I attended as a Form 1 (Year 7) to Form 6 (Year 12) student.”

Numeracy and literacy in both languages had been the main focus during her time as well as retaining young students to stay in school for as long as possible instead of leaving once they turned 16, Lockington said.

She said although they weren’t fully staffed to cater for students’ learning needs up to NCEA Level 3, they continued to encourage students to learn through Te Kura Correspondence School.

While explaining her decision, Lockington said 2022 was a very challenging year for her and her family – physically and emotionally – which led to her decision to take a break.

“We ended up losing our eldest sister in November last year and I was grateful to the Ministry of Education for allowing me time to be with my sister in her most critical time until we laid her to rest.

“This meant I was away from school at one of the most important times of the school calendar, however I’m thankful to my deputy principal at the time and the current principal Mrs Corina Ngatamariki for seeing the year out successfully.”

Lockington acknowledged God for the opportunity and teachers, teacher aides and staff of Araura College for believing in her as they worked together to improve the learning of their students.

“To my family, my daughters for allowing me to follow my dreams, my parents and siblings for having faith in me and to the people of Aitutaki for supporting me, for this I will be forever grateful.”

Lockington also thanked all the students of Araura College over the past four years for helping create some wonderful memories with her and for allowing her to be part of their lives.

“Be proud Aitutakians and always strive for the best as the world is your oyster.”