We all know a bit about our efficient Bearbrass secretary Sue Hoile, but now we’ll fill you in with the real deal. Sue grew up in Hawthorn and went from Camberwell High to Burwood Teachers College on a studentship in the 1970s. She taught primary schools for 24 years, mainly in Mildura/Bendigo. Her last role was principal of Quarry Hill Primary, Bendigo.
“I thought I’d like admin but it proved over-stressful. It’s teaching I really love, so I retired out in 2005. I didn’t want to give up teaching so I took a tutoring franchise with Kip McGrath Education. They’re an Australian company and they’ve taken their systems worldwide to NZ, Singapore, UK and Africa. ”
The work involves tutoring students from pre-school to adulthood who want to catch up or pass exams. In the past half-decade she’s also been enriching the education of students from many ethnic backgrounds. She built her business to two offices and employs a dozen teachers. At peak pre-COVID she was organising 200 lessons a week. Post-COVID the whole operation has continued online with herself, teachers and students on Zoom from home. “Some students really miss face to face, and youngsters may even have trouble using keyboards. You can’t swipe on Zoom like on an iPad,” she explains. While COVID has delayed Sue’s retirement, she’s actively working towards life after teaching.
Outside work she loves walking and bushwalking, especially the Grampians. She’s also an avid reader of fiction, mostly novels about the human condition. “I was lucky enough to study French via the Education Department and I’ve done two study tours to Vichy and Lyon. I’d love to return one day.”
Husband Jim’s hobby is tinkering with their 1975 Combi Campervan and as soon as they’re allowed they’ll take off around Australia. “My best trip ever was in 1983 around Australia with the kids in a converted 1960 Bedford bus and I want to try it again,” she says.
Jim, now retired, was an army physical training instructor and later, a facilities manager for a large school in Point Cook. Eldest daughter Sarah is a health and well-being facilitator in schools and Hannah is a child and adolescent psychologist. Step-son Ryan is a photographer. Sue, who has five grandchildren, has been sewing scrubs for health workers and now she’s busy sewing masks – she’s made about 20 in the past week. “I race to the sewing machine between tutoring sessions,” she says.