By Chris Sheedy, Guinness World Records Representative for Australia / New Zealand
We Guinness World Records staffers are well trained to avoid becoming personally involved in a record.
After all, if we have to deny the breaking of a record - as occurs quite regularly - we must do so without concern or emotion.
We must only be interested in the facts. But every now and then a record hoists itself upon us and we can't help but feel personally involved.
Such was the case with the world's oldest teacher.
You see, of all of the teachers in all of the schools in all of the countries in all of the world, the oldest active teacher is one that taught me.
But his current record wasn't immediately obvious.
In fact, I only discovered that Father Schneider was still teaching at St Aloysius' College in Sydney's Kirribilli after receiving a regular email sent out to old boys of the school.
In the email it stated that Father Schneider was about to turn 100, and the fact was accompanied by an offhand comment that he may be the oldest teacher in Australia. I took the bait.
After officials at the college supplied me with various pieces of evidence, including employment records and a birth certificate, I passed them on to several heroic (and less personally involved) members of the Records Management Team in GWR's head office.
They painstakingly searched the world, communicating with gerontologists and education departments, and almost three months later came back with the news that Father Schneider was, in fact, the oldest active teacher in the world.
It was wonderful news for me and for the school community.
The record was announced at a cocktail party to celebrate Father Schneider's upcoming 100th birthday.
To hand Father the certificate was a great honour - he is a man who has touched the lives of tens of thousands of students, always in a positive and supportive way.
He has been a part of the life of many of our country's leading sports stars, musical talents, politicians (he taught the current Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey), actors, authors, artists, medical professionals and business people ... and one very thankful GWR rep.
And they all listened to the gentle words Father Schneider had to share. When your teacher is almost 80 years old, as Father was when I attended St Aloysius' College, you can't help but absorb all they say.
After all, they have more knowledge and life experience than many other teachers combined.
I can only imagine how the boys at the school today feel when they're being taught by a 99-year-old. A little bit blessed, perhaps.