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Wired . . . Northern Southland College pupils (from left) Maddison Price (13), Grace Duthie and Lachy Elder (both 14) have been learning skills this year including how to put up a fence with agriculture teacher Jean Little who is about to retire. PHOTO:SANDY EGGLESTON

A woman who has been very keen on agriculture all her life is about to give up sharing her knowledge in the classroom.

Northern Southland College agriculture teacher Jean Little is retiring at the end of the school year.

Mrs Little said she started relieving at the school in 1997 and gained a permanent job at the school in 2000.

She started teaching the agriculture class the next year at the request of the new principal Tom Clark.

“He said “righto Jean, let’s get ag up and running.”

Later the school became accredited to teach AgITO courses and the pupils could earn unit standards.

Mrs Little had a bachelor of agricultural science degree from Lincoln College (University).

“It’s always been my passion all my life.

“I’ve always got into farming.”

She had planned on being a farm adviser but later changed her mind and trained as a teacher.

Although she taught other subjects including mathematics and economics she really enjoyed teaching agriculture.

“You can have so much fun with them because they are characters, most of them.”

It was also a subject the pupils enjoyed.

“You could have these great discussions … as they argued over the right way to do something and who had the biggest tractor.”

Teaching was a very satisfying job,” watching the kids grow up into these cool young adults.”

After she retired, the 68-year-old had a few plans.

“I got into bees last year so I’m keen to work up and get a wee few hives.”

She also planned to sort her garden, travel with husband Bob, spend more time on volunteer roles in the community and write a family history.

Principal Mike Newell said Mrs Little would be missed.

“She’s so busy and it’s all about doing the best for kids,” Mr Newell said.

“We’re very sad to see her go but she thoroughly deserves to enjoy a busy and active retirement because she’s given a lot to the profession and Northern Southland.”

She “never a bad word to say about anyone”.

“She’s hugely respected and admired by her colleagues.”