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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November 18

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile No.45 posted by Jillian in Adult education, Biography, English as a Second Language, History of Education, Languages

V2’s Scottish grandmother and her two daughters, one of whom was his father’s twin, were teachers. This grandmother had married his grandfather – an Australian soldier – in Scotland – a week after the end of The Great War. She followed him to Australia. V2 and his family were living in Sydney when his father was killed in a car accident. V2 was two years old and his brother 10 months old. V2’s mother and her two children moved to Tamworth.

The compensation court made a limited financial award – the assumption from the magistrate, when addressing her, being that she would marry again. His mother put half the award into trust for the boys, and half into a sizeable deposit on a little house for them to live in. His mother did remarry, though not happily. Her second husband, an alcoholic, was suffering, as V2 would realise later, from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from his WWII service in Greece and the Middle East.

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November 11

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile No.44 posted by Jillian in Biography, History of Education, Primary schooling

T2 loved his own Primary schooling. He had good teachers, good friends and lots of sports. In High School he recalls more sport – and debating. He has fond memories of catching the train to Moss Vale in Year 6 to play cricket. Most of all, however, he has vivid, fond memories of his Year 6 teacher. It was 1968, the teacher’s first year at the school.  He was a veteran of radio quiz programs like Pick-a-Box, (and later TV programs like Sale of the Century) who transferred his passion to the boys he taught, introducing class quizzes and quizzes as rewards for completed work. T2 was an early convert to trivia and trivia quizzes, especially as an educational tool. He enjoyed picking up information.

He was part of a bright cohort of students. His father was a GP and his mother taught. He liked science but it was not his strength so he was not going to follow his father. T2 said his sister had those genes. Law was an option. On leaving school he did not qualify to get into Law, so opted to do a couple of Law subjects within an Arts degree. After two years he decided Law was not for him and that he was much more interested in his other subjects – History, Government and Psychology, so adjusted his course accordingly.  The Primary School attraction had never left him, so, on graduation in Arts, he enrolled in and completed a Dip Ed in Primary Education. Without that transforming Year 6 Primary experience he would not have thought of the Primary education pathway.

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November 6

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile No.43 posted by Jillian in Art education, Biography, History of Education, Secondary schooling

Teaching was what she always wanted to do. With her mother and an aunt as teachers, S2 grew up in an atmosphere of education. She participated in activities involving art whenever the opportunity arose. She was an avid follower and participant in the ABC Radio’s children’s program, The Argonauts, sending in Art work, then eagerly anticipating, and taking account of, the feedback she received on air from the Art commentator, Phidias, (the Argonaut persona of the artist Jeffrey Smart).

She enjoyed her own schooling, liked children and, especially in her senior years of high school, enjoyed Languages and Art. Many girls from St George Girls’ High School progressed to careers in teaching, medicine or nursing so it was a well-worn path for her into teaching. She tossed up between teaching Languages or teaching Art. The modelling she saw for both subjects led her to believe that Art would be the more interesting path. There was a rich culture around Art – far more aspects to explore with students than there appeared to be in the grammar-based Languages curricula.

Her back-up plan – a B.A. Dip Ed- did not have to be implemented. She was accepted into the special Art teaching program at East Sydney Technical College, Darlinghurst (from 1996 the National Art School), commuting each day by train from Oatley, south of the city, to Sydney’s Museum station.

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October 30

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile No.42 posted by Jillian in Education reform, History of Education, Primary schooling

R2’s father was a teacher. He was different to other fathers, interested in opera, a piano player, academic, friends with John Bernard and Arthur Delbridge, the editors of the Macquarie Dictionary. R2 grew up absorbing this world, but understanding it was not the norm. His father was also his Year 5 teacher.

He loved working with children, but did not get the marks to enter Teachers’ College in his final school exams.  On leaving school he went to work in the Insurance Industry, lasting 2 years and 2 days. It was clear to him that this was not for him. He successfully applied for one of the Whitlam Government’s mature-age tertiary education allowances, quit his insurance job and enrolled in a Primary Education course at The Guild Teachers’ College in Sydney. There was a choice of Infants, Primary or General Primary teaching. He favoured General Primary. His leaning was towards Year 6.

His parents were OK with his choice, although his father was, by this stage. a bit frustrated with teaching.

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October 20

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile No.41 posted by Jillian in Art education, Biography, History of Education, Primary schooling

Q2 hated school. She grew up in NSW in a household that included her widowed grandmother and a godmother (step-daughter of her grandmother) who lived around the corner. Until Q2 was 5, these two taught her sewing and domestic skills in a nurturing, supportive, extended family environment. She had the run of the two houses. Her mother had been eligible to go to a selective high school, but her parents couldn’t afford to send her. Both her parents wanted her to be well educated.

School, she quickly decided, was not for her. She ran away again and again, getting herself through the main shopping centre of Bankstown to her home on the opposite side of the town to the school, on the borderline of the zone for the next school.

Two incidents in her first couple of weeks at school remain in her memory. On a day, after she had had an injection, a boy pushed her into a tree, hurting her injected arm. The teacher she complained to told her not to be a dibber-dobber.  On another occasion she wore a small brooch to school that her father had bought her from a visit to Botany. She lost the brooch in the playground. The teacher from whom she sought help told her she should never have brought it to school and it was her own fault, providing no help to find it.

She decided then that she would become a teacher in order to be fair and kind to students. The resolve never wavered.

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June 28

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers Profile No.40 posted by Jillian in Biography, History of Education, Music education

From a very early age, P2 had shown an interest in music. Neither of her parents were educated beyond the age of compulsion. Both, but particularly her mother, wanted more for their daughters. They encouraged her musical interest. They were fortunate to have a neighbour, Claire Shand, who taught piano, taking private students and holding regular concerts. She took P2 under her wing, teaching, encouraging and mentoring her.

When P2 went to a selective girls’ high school in Sydney she was fortunate to find a strong choral music tradition and another talented, committed Music teacher who recognised her potential. Even though she was the only student enrolled in Leaving Certificate Music and Music Honours, her lessons were timetabled, she was taught and enabled to sit exams and matriculate in Music. Music was her thing, and she never deviated from it. The Music teacher was her advocate and mentor, negotiating with other teachers who complained about the impact of Music studies on other subjects.

Her dilemma, as she approached Matriculation, was whether to proceed to the Conservatorium of Music to pursue a performance-oriented future, or take a more general Music pathway through Sydney University. The university had recently introduced a B Mus degree, focused initially on composition, while still offering a BA with a Music major. The school Music teacher encouraged her to take the broader university path which opened more options – including teaching. P2 took this advice, along with a Teachers’ College Scholarship, and enrolled in the B Arts (Music).

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February 4

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile No.39 posted by Jillian in Biography, Curriculum, Education reform, History of Education

N2 began high school at Port Augusta High School and completed Year 12 at Christies Beach High School in Adelaide. There was an expectation from both his parents that he would go on to higher education. Both his parents were well educated for their time. His mother’s family had a history of education and his father’s family did not. N2, having been slow to speak as an infant,was regarded as the slowest of their children. By the time he was in Year 12 he had a close group of “switched on” friends from different schools – into bands, dope, flower-power and the idea of Nimbin. They discussed at length what they would do and where they would go post-school. The social context was of great importance in their decision making.

The group consensus was to go to Flinders University.

His parents were delighted when he got into Flinders University and was awarded a Teaching Scholarship. This provided enough money to live on – but involved a bond, requiring him to teach for four years after graduating. He accepted the scholarship, but there was no way he was going to join the Middle Class by teaching. He disliked the tired family discussions about education and learning, the arguments and analysis. The consensus in his group of friends was that no way were they going to be Middle Class. It was an idyllic, fun time.

He majored in Psychology, which interested him, but he resented the requirement to stay in the good books of lecturers and tutors by participating in their experiments. His Honours thesis was focused on Rumour Transmission.

He bought a block of land in Nimbin.

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December 17

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile No.38 posted by Jillian in Biography, Curriculum, Education policy, Education reform, equity, History of Education

M2 grew up in Whyalla, South Australia, loving school and everything associated with it. Her father worked at BHP. Her mother had been a teacher but, in deference to her husband, did not teach after her marriage. She did do some nursing.  Both parents were supportive of education for their children but could not afford to send them to University.

For M2, therefore, there were two factors that contributed to her choice to teaching as a career, it was, first and foremost, an available pathway to a university education. As she put it “the economics worked for me’. Secondly, it was the continuation of something she loved. School was a great experience for her, she admired and liked her teachers and looked forward to continuing within the schooling community.

She took, therefore, a bonded scholarship from Year 11. She was nurtured within a strong work ethic, a member of a bright class where one of her good friends was the daughter of a primary school principal. Her favourite subject was Chemistry and she did harbour ambitions to do Pharmacy. The required University course, was, however, out of the reach of her parents’ finances.

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November 11

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile 37 posted by Jillian in Biography, Curriculum, Education policy, Education reform, equity

L2 was a conscientious, high achieving student in a State High School in what, at the time, was a new suburb of Melbourne. Her teachers were mostly young graduates who moved on quickly, providing energy and enthusiasm, but little continuity. There was no tradition of university entry at the school. Very few students stayed on to Year 12 and 5 or 6 of those might proceed to University. No career counselling was provided, beyond that casually given by individual teachers – “You’re good at school – you should become a teacher”.

Her father was ambivalent about the usefulness of a university education, but her mother encouraged her and she applied for and was accepted into Arts/Law at Melbourne University on a Commonwealth Scholarship.

She had also been offered a Teaching Scholarship. The notification told her to attend a meeting at Melbourne Teachers’ College, which she did, wearing casual clothes. The male presenter at the meeting singled her out, commenting to the assembled group: “We don’t expect anyone to turn up looking like that!”. He also warned the potential teachers “You’re not here to get pregnant”.

She began Law.

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November 3

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile 36 posted by Jillian in Assessment, Biography, History of Education, Languages

K2 grew up in country NSW in a teaching family. She was comfortable in schools; comfortable too in moving every few years. In the environment in which she grew up, all students had a right to good teachers: teachers could expect to be sent where needed. It was what her family did.

In her final year of high school, a “Guidance” Counsellor told her “You could do whatever you like” – advice she did not find in any way helpful. It certainly contained no guidance. When she won both a Commonwealth and a Teachers’ College Scholarship at the end of her schooling, her family background, a strong sense of the ‘noble idea of service’, a liking for children and the need to support herself through training led to her accepting the Teachers’ College Scholarship. On reflection she thinks she had a compliant personality. Teaching was accepted by those around her as a nice job for a girl, the pathway was in front of her, and she took the path.

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