When Lumsden Primary School principal Andrew Watson enters school property nowadays, he bears baked goods rather than professional burdens.
After a 10-year run Mr Watson,who is on refreshment leave, has decided to resign from the role, effective from the end of the year.
However, he would not become a stranger to the school.
”I was there just recently delivering scones,” Mr Watson said.
He had also dropped by the school on Friday for a photo, where he had been pounced on and pencilled in to read to the children that afternoon.
The people were the highlight of the role, he said.
”To me the most important part, the heart of it, is the kids.”
He enjoyed working on the school’s values the most, he said.
”We are kind and we always do our best.”
The simple phrasing made it easy for children to understand.
”It’s not just a slogan. Most kids can tell you what being kind looks like.”
The job had also come with its challenges. The imposition of national standards in schools had not sat well with him.
All children were different and should not be expected to hit the same learning targets at the same time, he said.
”I felt it placed the kids in boxes. It should be about how well they make progress.”
However, he had the satisfaction of seeing those standards removed again.
Mr Watson started out as a teacher 30 years ago before falling into his first role as principal at Dipton 20 years ago.
He was using his refreshment leave to teach children their way around fretboards and keyboards.
”I’ve been music teaching two days a week .. guitar, piano and ukelele,” he said.
He was also taking time to focus on hobbies such as DIY projects and creative writing.
He did not yet know what his next job would be.
”I’m knocking on a few different doors .. so we’ll see which one opens.”
With both a family and a small farm to care for, work-life balance would be something he would prioritise.
”It’s a hugely satisfying job . . . but the demands take a toll.
”It’s better to go out and finish whole, still really enjoying it, than leaving when the enjoyment wears off.”
Acting principal Callum Tytler said the school community had a lot of respect for Mr Watson.
“He’s probably the world’s nicest guy,” Mr Tytler said.
“He’s really mindful of what other people are thinking and feeling.”
Mr Watson was a humble man who would be happy to sneak away without a fuss, but the school community planned to give him a proper farewell later in the year, Mr Tytler said.