Tribute for long serving rep

Mark Turl has been a member of the IEU for 38 years and counting and has served as both rep at Our Lady of Mercy College (OLMC) Parramatta and President of the Cumberland Sub Branch.

Mark’s years of service were honoured at a Cumberland Branch chapter meeting recently, as Mark is now on well deserved extended leave, after 40 years of service to OMLC.

Mark (pictured with IEU Organiser Aiden Anderson) was a co-ordinator of Human Society and Its Environment until his late wife Paula became unwell about 18 years ago.

More recently he has concentrated on teaching Geography, which has evolved due to the increased use of digital technology.

“Nowadays I can just put up the daily weather maps from the Bureau of Meteorology online and relate them to weather changes outside the classroom. The kids just love that,” Mark said.

“But the feedback I get is that they still like the traditional discussions that we have, exchanging ideas and opinions about geographic issues, rather than doing individual research online working alone with a screen.”

Mark said the other big change in his career has been the gradual reduction in the number of nuns at the school.

“When I started in 1980 the presence of nuns was very strong, especially in Music and Religious Education of course.

“That started to dwindle in the late 80s and 90s and it was just the principal until 2004. Now there are none.”

I’m looking forward to receiving my 40 year union membership badge. I think continuing to support the union movement is the right thing to do.

Mark said the school has a wonderful culture influenced by the tradition of Catherine McAuley and the nuns.

“The kids are fantastic, as are my co-teachers, all salt of the earth people.”
Motivated by a desire for justice in the workplace, Mark said joining the union was a natural thing for him.

“There are always lots of issues in schools, whether for individuals or the collective. Work intensification has been growing for 20 years, but in the last five years it’s really started to bite, and finding that ‘sweet spot’ in which there is a genuine work- life balance has become increasingly challenging.

“My second wife Anne cannot believe how hard teachers work. She ran a health food business for 20 years and thought that was hard work until she married a teacher.”
At OLMC there is not just one rep, Mark was part of a committee of three that shared the responsibilities. He’s happy to be leaving knowing there are good people to replace him. He will be a member of the union even in retirement.

“I’m looking forward to receiving my 40 year union membership badge. I think continuing to support the union movement is the right thing to do.”

He’s also looking forward to spending quality time with his new wife, who he met four years ago at grandparents’ day at the school, his mother and mother in law and their 13 “bonza” grandchildren.

Sue Osborne