NAOMI Rodwell and Sammie Love never expected to find their first teaching jobs at the same school, even despite their 17 year history.
The best friends, both 22, attended the same primary school, high school and studied the same degree at the University of Newcastle, before signing three-year contracts at St Joseph's Primary in Merriwa, where they now live together.
"We never expected to be teaching together, let alone at the same school," Ms Rodwell said.
The pair received Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle Teacher Education Scholarships and were part of its Targeted Graduate Recruitment Program.
Ms Rodman had spent and enjoyed her out of area practical placement at the school, but said she wasn't sure if she could move to the town on her own.
They were surprised when principal Ashley Borg offered two graduate places.
"It was just the biggest shock, but it was very comforting knowing we'd be together, moving two hours away [from home]," Ms Rodwell said.
She teaches the school's combined year three and four class, while Ms Love teaches the combined year one and two class.
They will mark their first World Teachers' Day on Friday with lunch with colleagues.
Ms Love said she had always liked working with children, in out of school hours care and running parties at McDonalds.
"Now being at school it feels like home, I walk into the classroom and it's so comfortable to be here.
"I love watching the children develop. If it takes them a while to get something, to see them finally get there and learn."
Ms Rodwell said she admired Ms Love's "calm and collected" approach in the classroom and how she effectively set high standards for her students.
Ms Rodwell said as a child she role played being a teacher and librarian and worked as a school learning support officer while studying.
"I just love seeing my class every day and COVID really made me miss them. Some of them say 'You're my safe person' and that really makes you feel you are making a difference."
Ms Love said she respected Ms Rodwell's "strength and determination to keep going" and persevere in challenging classroom situations.
The pair said country students were more "hands on learners" than city kids.
They cracked whips at talent quests, enjoyed learning outdoors and played "horses rather than cops and robbers" and in dirt pits instead of sand pits.
They too are enjoying the change of pace.
"We're big advocates for going rural and starting at a small school because you will learn so much," Ms Rodwell said.
The friends have known each other for so long - socialising, playing netball and travelling together - they said it can feel like an arm is missing when the other isn't there.
They work together often at school.
Ms Rodwell recently had to spend three days at home in isolation waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test.
"I'd come home from school and say 'Hello, are you ready to talk?' It was weird not seeing her at school," Ms Love said.
Ms Rodwell said they weren't allowed to be in the same room, but continued to speak through a closed door.
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