Thanks to Glen Jackson for writing this post. It is good to know that Kevin taught you well.
My favourite stories about Kev are from when we attended year 7 camp together whilst working at Figtree High School. Kev was always a fantastic mix of stern task master, civic pride lecturer and great fun. Every camp he would smuggle in the “sniper’s rifle” (a poker set) and the teachers would get together in the meeting hall after the kids had all gone to sleep (yeah right!). It was here that Kev taught me to play poker and provided the setting for so many great evenings of fun, laughter and food shared between colleagues. At some set point on each of these nights, someone would become sensible and suggest that we go back to our cabins and crack the collective whip. Much bellowing of not-so-veiled threats to call parents would follow and the night would quiet down and sleep would generally occur within a reasonable time.
On one occasion though, Kev’s bunk room refused to live by these unwritten rules of camp. Conversations continued and silliness inevitably became stupidity. Kev waded in and separated the worst of the trouble makers into a small group to be made an example of. He told them to stand on the balcony and “not move.” Literally. They took him at his meaning because, despite the real Kev underneath, the exterior can, let’s face it, be a bit frightening when he wants it that way. Exactly what happened next, I am still a bit unclear on but somehow a possum (probably attracted by the scent of lolly-hoarding teenage boys) found its way onto the porch and headed straight for one of the king-pins of this little band of trouble. Such was the poor boy’s fear of disobeying Kev’s instruction that he called out to Kev but did not move. Kev, distracted no doubt by further trouble in the cabin, ignored the plea for help. The possum sank its teeth into the unwitting child’s foot.
This was a great favor to the teachers as once the children believed that Kev could call for some kind of mystical, wildlife “back-up,” the need to threaten to ring any parents suddenly dissipated. Kev is, was and always will be a legend, Thanks to Kev, I now have my own poker set and some of the best memories of my teaching career. Rock on Kev, and thanks for the massive contribution you have made to the young people you have been in contact with and the…. older… folk who try to emulate your example.
I think school camp was Kev’s favourite part of being a teacher.
Thanks Glen, we miss you!