Jim and Jillian Dellit established this website to bring together their various endeavours, to engage with and contribute to the educational community and educational delivery. Jillian is continuing this work both in her own right, and to keep faith with Jim's life, 1947-2014, and their productive partnership 1970-2014.

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October 9

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile 22 posted by Jillian in Biography, Education reform, equity, History of Education, parents

X was born in a small Italian town where she and her family lived in one room. Her mother died when she was 2. Her father had already left for Australia looking for work. X and her brother – 16 years older than she – lived with an aunt and their step-grandmother. They lived in poverty.

At the age of 4 she went to kindergarten. She has a vivid memory of, at 5 years of age, watching an Easter procession and commenting to a friend “I am going to be a teacher”.

Not long after, X came to South Australia with her mother’s sister, who became her step-mother. She went to Lockley’s Primary School with teaching still on her mind as a career. She progressed to St Mary’s College in Franklin St. Here her best friend wanted to be a secretary and X decided she wanted to work in a bank. In their final year, Sister Philippa taught them all subjects – and they all got A’s. X still wanted to work in a bank, but after the holiday period changed her mind. It was too late to enrol in teaching.

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August 7

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile 21 posted by Jillian in Biography, History of Education

U believes that her NSW selective high school was a pervasive influence on her pathway to university and teaching. She had a lot of extremely good teachers and her schooling was in the hands of good role models. In the middle years of high school she liked the idea of teaching as a career and thought English and French would be her chosen teaching subjects.

Her English teachers advised her to concentrate on History (at that stage History was paired with English teaching for promotion purposes). She also had careers advice which suggested she should consider either the diplomatic service or journalism. She explored these pathways, but found neither of them were easily open to girls. She was quite happy to take up teacher training – but did so initially on a Commonwealth Scholarship rather than a bonded Teachers’ College Scholarship in order to keep her options open for the other pathways. She switched to a Teachers’ College Scholarship for the last two years of her training.

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May 27

Conversations with Baby Boomer teachers: Profile 20 posted by Jillian in Biography, History of Education

R first heard about the option of teacher training on the deck of the SS Troubridge on the way to Kangaroo Island on a holiday in South Australia in 1970. She had grown up and attended school in Queensland. In 1966, her matriculation year, her parents moved to South Australia and she attended Adelaide Girls’ High School where she made friendships that survived her family’s return to Queensland a year later – and eventually resulted in the discussion on the Troubridge.

Back in Queensland, R repeated her matriculation year and, in 1968, went on to Queensland University, where she did a wide range of subjects with no specific goal in mind. In 1970 she visited South Australia again and learned, from one of her Adelaide High School friends, that the South Australian government was looking for teachers. The following Tuesday she visited the South Australian Education Department and on Thursday began teaching at Elizabeth High School.

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February 20

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile No.19 posted by Jillian in Biography, Education reform, History of Education

V grew up and attended High School in Country South Australia. Her parents had secondary education. Her father grew up on the family farm and her mother had been a housekeeper in a school boarding house before marrying. Her father developed polio in the 1950s. V’s older sister ran the farm and her other sister trained as a nurse. Their mother had dreams that V would marry into the local gentry. V went to school at four and a half as part of a community bid to keep the local primary school open. To stay open, the school needed to average 14 enrolments over the year. By starting school early, V pushed up the average attendance enough to keep the school open a bit longer.  It did close, nevertheless, and the children, including V, were bussed to the next town for school. Before it closed an inspector came to the school and was impressed by V’s reading ability.

At High School she was a good student and did well at the Intermediate Certificate., V’s Physics and Chemistry teacher recognized her ability, got to know her parents and argued for her to become a teacher. She explained about teaching scholarships and encouraged them to allow V to apply. This they did and V set off the following year to an Independent Girls’ boarding school in Adelaide.

In some ways this was a disaster. V was physically ill and homesick.  The school did not support her ability in Science subjects and did not help her manage either the transition nor her time there.  She was good at sport, which provided both an outlet and acceptance. She was, however, poorly prepared for university.

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December 23

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile 18 posted by Jillian in Biography, History of Education

T had two daughters, aged 4 and 7, when her marriage broke up. She was devastated. This was outside the experience of anyone in her family and she had no models to draw on. She found a place to rent in the outer Adelaide Hills.

On leaving school in 1967 she had done the first year of an Arts degree at the University of NSW, but had been unmotivated as well as ill, and did not sit her exams. She was very fortunate that academic staff were concerned for her future wellbeing and arranged for the university to issue a letter to the effect she had withdrawn from the course due to illness without a failure being recorded. She then worked in the private sector as an office manager for a company of geologists and geophysicists, learning typing and doing some study in Geology at the University of Sydney at night.  All these skills she used in later work.

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November 24

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile No.17 posted by Jillian in Biography, History of Education

When she completed the HSC at a School on the North Coast of NSW, S desperately wanted to travel overseas. However, she was offered a Teachers’ College Scholarship and, after considerable deliberation, decided to accept this offer as it would provide her with independence and long term financial security.

Growing up on the Gold Coast allowed her to develop strong swimming skills both in the surf and in the pool. She spent hundreds of hours training in an ocean, salt-water swimming pool before goggles and caps were common. The Gold Coast also offered her the opportunity to participate in numerous sporting codes. School and Association Competition allowed her to further develop her skills and she played a range of competitive sports including Netball, Soccer, Softball, Athletics and Hockey. She was well co-ordinated and, although her childhood dream was to be an Air Hostess, she decided to specialise in a career in Sport and Physical Education. She considered joining the Forces but the scholarship to teach was offered and she chose to train as a Physical Education Teacher. She was offered a three year training scholarship at Sydney Teachers’ College and, with a home made fruit cake and all her possessions in one suitcase, drove to Sydney with a family friend.

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October 29

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile 16 posted by Jillian in Biography, Education reform, History of Education

P grew up in a small community in rural South Australia. It proved to be a complex childhood with events necessitating her leaving the community at the age of nine to board in a nearby town. Her new school – and her Monday to Friday home for four years – was a convent of Josephite nuns who ran a two-classroom school and cared for ten boarders.

The strong and caring role models of the nuns – and their consistent message of education, life choices and opportunities for women have influenced her ever since. The nuns lived by the philosophy of Mary Mackillop – a rule of service and social justice in a family and community context. The consistent narrative was one of opportunity – for women and girls, but also for anyone disadvantaged. Their fundamental message of ‘if you see a need, do something about it’ has been P’s guiding principle in life.

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June 26

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile 15 posted by Jillian in Biography, History of Education

Q probably decided to be a teacher because teachers were the only female role models she had.  As she grew up, she formed a view that education could make a big difference to individuals and to the world. She saw education as a way to influence the future. This derived, she thinks, from both her own experience of education and from the role models she saw.

She was very fortunate; she had terrific teachers. They impressed her both in what they taught and in the beliefs to which they adhered. She knew no other professional women, and grew up without knowing any university educated women outside of school. She is sure many of the women who taught her would not today be teachers. They would have perceived themselves as having fewer choices of career than women of their background would today.

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May 29

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile 14 posted by Jillian in Biography, History of Education

Like many of her generation, O was the first of her family to go to university. She came from a family that did not have much money. She attended Walford Girls’ Grammar on a scholarship and knew from an early age she wanted to go to university. She liked school and had, with one exception, good teachers.

In her Intermediate Certificate year she was awarded a Teachers’ College Scholarship to stay at school for a further two years. Walford had an annual trip to Tasmania for senior students, and O wanted to go. Her parents told her that if she used her Teachers’ College Scholarship money – and took upon herself the risk of having to pay it back if she didn’t end up teaching – she could go. She didn’t hesitate.

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May 18

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile 13 posted by Jillian in Biography, History of Education

N followed her two older sisters to Woodville High School in Adelaide. Her mother enrolled her in the Commercial stream following the common wisdom that if you can type you will always have a job. Port Adelaide Girls High would have been closer, but it had, according to her mother, a bit of a reputation, and she feared her girls would get pregnant if they went there.

Her father was a wharf labourer, which, at that time, meant no security. Men presented for work each day and were assigned to unload or load ships on a needs basis. The insecurity meant her mother worked to maintain cash flow. Her father was keen for the children to join the workforce to contribute to the family income and security. Her two older sisters left school at 14 to work and contribute.

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