Head of the Senior Syndicate, and Deputy Principal of the Preparatory School, David Farmer, has enjoyed working with some of the ‘great characters’ during his 33 years at St Andrew’s College. “I often think back with a sense of fun and enjoyment about some of the people I’ve worked with. When I first came to St Andrew’s in 1986, the Senior College staff room was a place of reverence and awe. Some staff had their own chairs and you made sure you didn’t sit in that area unless you were invited.”
In his first year, David was a Standard 4 (Year 6) teacher, but the next year progressed to Year 8, and has taught this year level ever since. He was made Deputy Principal within a couple of years of his arrival and was Acting Principal for some time following the death of Principal, John MacDonald. “I thought about applying for the role permanently, but I liked the connection I had with my students too much to give it up. Teaching is a people activity and it is relationships which make all the difference. Firstly, students need to know that you care. They make the most progress when they feel you believe in them and their ability to achieve.” David says the transformation to a co-educational school has been a highlight of his long tenure. “It has made it more rewarding as a teacher to have that diversity of student population, and I think it is beneficial for both sexes to learn how to work together and see the benefits of collaboration.”
Retirement will mean a shift of focus for David, but very little slowing down. He has been an Anglican priest for five years, a role which is growing alongside the growth of his church. He also has a farm at Tai Tapu and is looking forward to spending more time with his family.
As he reflects on his long career, David says he has enjoyed being part of a much greater whole. “At this point I am satisfied I have made a good and solid contribution to the life of the College. I think the students you teach are your testament, and it is what they say about you after they leave which is your legacy.”