Former student’s turn to teach her teacher

FOR Shirley Williams, co-ordinator of the Bridgewater Online Access Centre, it started out as just another enrolment.

At the tender age of 70, Roberto Fogagnolo of Dromedary thought it was time he learned a little more about computers so he enrolled in a 10 week computer basics course at Bridgewater Library.

“A friend had mentioned the eLearn course, so I went along to the online access centre to enquire. The lady was very, very nice. So I filled out the forms and handed them in,” Roberto said.

“Then she said ‘I think you taught me at school’. So I asked her maiden name, and I had to think back, but I remember her very well, though it was 40 years ago.”

Master and student: Shirley Williams at the Bridgewater Online Access Centre now teaches her former teacher, Roberto Fogagnolo.
Master and student: Shirley Williams at the Bridgewater Online Access Centre now teaches her former teacher, Roberto Fogagnolo.

Shirley said she had a flashback when she saw Roberto’s surname on his enrolment form. “He was my maths and science teacher at Cosgrove High all those years ago.

“I have lots of lovely memories of this very gentle teacher from way back then and it is a real pleasure to be associated with him again through the Online Access Centre,” Shirley said.

Roberto migrated to Tasmania from Italy in 1963. “I was a qualified teacher at home but when I arrived they didn’t even recognise my matriculation certificate.

“So I went back to study and finally started to teach again in 1967. Cosgrove High was my first school.” Roberto said.

Roberto showed the same tenacity when he completed his computer course. “We had to complete a number of assignments to finish the course. I got 100 percent each time. Much of the credit has to go the Shirley. She is an incredibly thorough teacher who pointed out any mistakes.

“I would also like to thank Val, a very capable volunteer who works with Shirley. The way they work together is very nice,” Roberto said. “She is a beautiful addition to the course.”

Roberto has since trained to become a volunteer himself, with plans to help tutor the next intake of eLearn students at the Brighton Online Access Centre.

“I have always believed that you take with one hand, and give back with the other. It is only by teaching that you truly learn,” Roberto said.

The next eLearn course commences at the Brighton Online Access Centre on 15 June.

If you would like to attend, or find out more, call Shirley Williams on 6263 6222, or drop into the Bridgewater Library and Online Access Centre.