Getting down to business

Members in the Lismore area can now call on the services of a new IEU organiser. Richard Ryan replaces the long serving Sandra White, who retired at Christmas.

Richard comes with 20 years’ experience as a teacher at St Francis Xavier Ballina, where he taught PE to all ages for the last six years.

Richard is no stranger to new challenges, having started teaching later in life after a career as a builder.

“The body was breaking down a bit, I was spending every Friday at the chiropractor’s, so it was time to move on. Teaching had always been my plan B.

“I had friends and family who were teachers and I took a lot of interest in my daughter’s education, helping out.”

Following four years of study at Southern Cross University, Lismore, Richard started out with a Year 2 class.

‘It was all fresh and very exciting.”

Transitioning from being a builder to a teacher wasn’t the only challenge Richard was prepared to take on. The CSO needed an Indonesian teacher and he learnt it from scratch, travelling twice to Denpasar to attend language school, so he could teach it to the children.

When the challenge of the IEU officer role came up he didn’t hesitate.

“It’s a role I’ve admired for a long time and I thought I could do something with it. I was brought up in a union family and had always been a member.”

Richard was the Union Rep at his school for a few years and then President of the North Coast Branch, attending IEU Council for about six years.

I've always been a union man, and worked in a number of industries.

“I guess I’ve tempered my approach to a laid back style because of that.”

Richard said teachers need the Union to have their back and he plans to encourage young people to join and be aware of the benefits and the history of unionism.

“The core business of teachers and support staff is the core business of the Union,” he said.

Sue Osborne