‘Best job in the world’: Beloved teacher farewells St Mary’s
After more than two decades of sharing her love of music and the arts with the next generation, beloved St Mary’s teacher Erin Hilton is leaving the classroom behind.
Beginning her teaching career in Kalgoorlie in Western Australia in the 1980s, Mrs Hilton’s work as an educator and performer took her to the Northern Territory and Melbourne before she settled in Warwick.
Always juggling her teaching work with performing in various bands and instructing group fitness classes, she said it was her long-term role at St Mary’s that finally enabled her to combine all of her greatest passions.
“I have the best job in the world, because every child loves (PE) and music, which are both passions of mine and have been for so long,” Mrs Hilton said.
“My specialty being in voice, (as) I was trained in opera and then toured doing country music. “I fell into dance with the current curriculum, because I couldn’t just teach music, you had to teach another strand of the arts.”
It was Mrs Hilton’s foray into teaching dance that became her “favourite part” of the job, especially in the lead-up to the annual St Mary’s ball or school musicals.
“The last few years I’ve had to do a special dance for every class, and the joy on the kids’ faces when they get to give you the moves and choose their own piece of music is amazing,” she said.
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The beloved Warwick teacher said another precious aspect of her time at St Mary’s was being able to work with both her own daughters and then her grandchildren, as students.
Finishing up full-time teaching was by no means retirement for Mrs Hilton, who said she would now focus on her and husband Steve’s Horsepower Hilton accommodation business at Morgan Park, and her various community endeavours.
“My plan for stopping work at schools was always picking my cabins up and running them properly, while still giving myself time to do the (Christmas Carols in the Park) and any community events,” she said.
“I still like to sing, and I think I’ll go back and do some supply teaching later on down the track (at St Mary’s), because I’ll miss them all.”
St Mary’s principal Emma Timmins said Mrs Hilton’s bubbly and energetic personality combined with her years of expertise would leave a lasting impression on the school.
“Erin is an outstanding educator in her fields of experience, and she was always reflecting on her practice to make sure that her students got the very best from her pedagogy and presence as a teacher,” Mrs Timmins said.
“She’ll always have a special place in the St Mary’s school community.”