Monday, October 27, 2008

The end of a 38-year career

The end of a 38-year career
Monday, October 27, 2008
After 38 years of teaching, Serupepeli Kuroyavaki Kunalagi is calling it a day and plans to spend the rest of his days with the family.
The proud educator has taught at 12 different schools in Fiji and believes the opportunity to help students learn the importance of a good education is rewarding.
Originally from Vunaqoru Village, Naqalimare in Nadroga, Seru wanted to be a policeman when he was younger.
He felt a responsibility to uphold the law as a citizen but when his parents were not keen on the idea, Serupepeli decided to join the teaching profession.
The 60-year old had a hard life growing up especially spending most of his school days away from home.
His father, Timoci Kunalagi, was the resident medical expert in their village while his mother Mere Rokoroko looked after the family.
"When I told my parents I wanted to be a policeman, they were against it because they thought I would put them in jail if they did something bad one day," he said.
"My father was a medicine man and whenever people in the village were sick or needed help, he was able to tell them what was wrong.
"He would even refer them to people in other villages who were experts in using herbal medicine to cure a particular illness.
"My mother spent most of her time looking after us and making sure we had everything we needed."
Third in the family of six, Serupepeli attended primary school at Saint Joan of Ark in Sigatoka.
Because his family lived far from the primary school, Serupepeli had to live with relatives in Yavulo Village which was close to the school.
He completed form six at Ratu Sukuna Memorial. He applied to what was then known as the Nasinu Teachers College, now Fiji College of Advanced Education.
"When I was at Nasinu Teachers College, I received an acceptance letter to attend the University of the South Pacific but it was too late because I was already enrolled at NTC," said Serupepeli.
"I trained for a year in 1970 and got my first posting in 1971 to Bua College. The experience taught me a lot and it was the beginning of a profession I've never regretted.
"In 1974, I was transferred to Navakasiga District for three years. I also spent time four years at Conua District then another three years at Noikoro District.
"In 1986, I taught at Koroinasau Primary and then spent a year at Vatulele District. Other schools I taught at include Naqalimare District, Viwa District, Nokonoko District, Nalagi Primary, Sigatoka Methodist and Yalavou Public."
He was transferred back to Naqalimare District this year until he retired on October 24.
And like any other school teacher, Serupepeli said the profession made him a happy man especially when students are happy.
The father of six children attributed his success as a school teacher to God. He said without the blessings and guidance from above, he would not have been able to carry out his passion efficiently.
"Those thinking of taking up this profession should be honest with themselves so they can teach their students honestly," he said. "I would like to thank God for guiding me especially at the different schools I taught because they were at remote places.
"I plan to spend the rest of my retirement with my family but I will miss teaching because it has helped me in more ways than one," said Serupepeli who lives in Sigatoka.

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