Hear it from the teacher

Teachers are a busy lot, so why would you accept the extra responsibility of taking students to the Great Vic Bike Ride?

We sat down with Kevin Purvis, a teacher from Old Orchard Primary School, to discuss a few questions around the RACV Great Vic - this is what he had to say.

Q. Why take on the extra responsibility of taking students on the RACV Great Vic?

“There’s a really strong sense of achievement that they (the kids) get out of that challenging experience,” says Kevin Purvis, who, with fellow teacher Wendy Scott, is organising a contingent from Old Orchard Primary School to go on the upcoming Great Vic. It’s the third year the school has participated in the event, and Kevin and Wendy have been involved from the start.

“It enabled us as teachers to develop a rapport with some of the kids for whom school was a bit challenging,” Kevin continues. “This was an event where they could get in there and be really physical and really active. That had a spin-off in terms of getting alongside those kids and getting engaged with them more.”

Q. But it isn’t only about the kids?

“Most of the children who came with us bought a parent or another adult with them, so it develops a really nice community feel around the group. We’ve had some terrific connections with the adults as well as the kids on the rides. You get to know part of your school community in a different way.”

Of course going on the Great Vic also means that you can go on a bike ride as part of your job.

“The riding side of it is fun and I really enjoy that. But being part of a group, helping facilitate the group to get there in the end, and celebrate the achievement, and enjoy it along the way. That’s been great.”

Q. How much extra work is required to make it happen?

The backing of the school’s principal, Duncan Cant, was critical, according to Kevin: “We wouldn’t have been able to do it without that level of support from him, and that then means the whole team at the school.”

Q. How did they go?

The Great Vic runs over nine days, with three and five-day ride options available. Old Orchard Primary opted for the three-day ride, but it’s still a long way for a primary school kid. 

“There were some kids who really struggled on the first day particularly, and found it really hard to keep going and make the distance. Some of the WARBYs were fabulous. They picked up some of our kids occasionally and rode with them.”

WARBYs (We Are Right Behind You) are riding volunteers who provide medical, mechanical and emotional support to riders.

“We have found it a very supportive event amongst all the riders, and amongst the other schools especially. They (the kids) made it that first day, and then the second day they seemed to just take off. They think: “oh yeah, I can do that,” and off they go.”