Beloved PE teacher says farewell
AFTER more than 50 years walking through Central's gates, Phil Willling is finally ready to leave school.
The beloved Warwick Central State School physical education teacher decided to hang up his hat after 40 years in education, trading in a life of work for one of fishing, golf and time with the grandchildren.
"This morning I had a coffee with my friends,” he laughed.
"Then I played golf.”
Living the high-life of a retiree, Mr Willing reminisced about his career in education, which began as a barefoot Central student.
"I started teaching in 1976,” Mr Willing said.
"But I started (at Central) in 1961 as a student.
"We didn't wear shoes back then. Well we'd wear them to school to keep our parents happy, then take them off straight away.”
During his 40 years of teaching, Mr Willing was also a visiting PE teacher at East State School, Karara State School and Wheatvale State School.
"It was more than just about teaching physical education,” Mr Willing said.
"I wanted to make students good, law-abiding human beings.”
Mr Willing said the decision to retire was one he made after a period of extended leave following a family tragedy.
Central State School principal Christine Dolley said there was little doubt about Mr Willing's impact on his students.
"He's done so many things in his role,” Ms Dolley said.
"He is just a really great teacher.”
The transition into retirement will have a huge impact on the respected teacher, whose only time away from the school were his high school years and time at university.
Reflecting on his own days in the schoolyard, Mr Willing admitted he was a stubborn student, who found himself in a wet mess in Year 4.
"The teachers always told us to go to the toilet during break,” he said.
"But one day I held it in, and went to class.
"I said 'Miss, I need to go the toilet'.
"She said 'Nope, you should have gone then'.
"I said 'Miss, I'll wet my pants', and she said no again.
"So I did. I stood there and wet my pants in the middle of class, then ran outside and ran home on Percy St.
"Barefoot, of course.”