Retiring Daniel reflects on long career

TEACHING and football have played huge roles in Peter Daniel's life for more than four decades.

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Mr Daniel, the Summerdale Primary School principal, will retire tomorrow after a teaching career spanning three states, numerous schools and thousands of children.

The former Essendon Football Club full-back, who played 100 games from 1968 to 1974, said before the days of players making a living from the game he had to have a job - and for him it was teaching.

His early teaching career was dictated by where he was playing and then coaching.

``I came out (of Toorak Teacher's College) in 1968, which was the same year strangely enough Alan Hird was president of the Essendon Football Club, (Bomber coach) James's grandfather, and strangely enough I ended up with an appointment with the Essendon North Primary School,'' Mr Daniel said.

``I've always had a bit of a philosophy that you need to enjoy what you do and also have a very strong belief that kids need to enjoy what they're doing if you want them to learn.

``It's been a key element, whether I've been a teacher or a school leader, principal or senior staff person - we all need to have some fun and enjoyment to keep the passion and the enjoyment and the enthusiasm and the engagement going.''

One of Mr Daniel's most memorable moments was when as a teacher he got tired of listening to a class next door continually singing the same song and when the other teacher wouldn't stop, he and his students threw buckets of water through the windows.

He said the changes in education over his career were gigantic.

``When I first came out we were trained on how to use the strap,'' Mr Daniel said.

``There's been a huge amount of change, all sorts of methodologies, from kids sitting in two seats and in rows and not being allowed to speak to collaborative learning, where kids actually worked together to solve problems.''

Mr Daniel said a huge amount of the changes in recent times had been politically based and not always to the benefit of students, schools or parents.

And although he agreed there was a need for testing and to improve student performance, he said NAPLAN was not the best way to do it.

``Education is more than that,'' Mr Daniel said.

He said the change of parental values over the years had also meant that much more was expected of teachers.

in high school and playing with the Victorian Country Football League Woori Yallock Football Club.

When Mr Daniel finished playing with Essendon he went on to coach and play at North Launceston, picking up five premierships in eight years.

He also coached the Tasmanian side, the rest-of-Australia side when it played against the AFL team and coached Subiaco in the WAFL before returning to Launceston and coaching at City South.

He also coached at the Clarence Football Club and taught in the South.

Mr Daniel was inducted into the Tasmanian football hall of fame in 2005.

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