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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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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October 23

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile 35 posted by Jillian in Biography, Curriculum, Education reform, History of Education

J2 grew up in Adelaide and went to a high school in the Adelaide Hills, at the time regarded pretty much as country for the purpose of school sporting competitions. At the time, as Baby Boomer adolescents put pressure on high school enrolments, the school had a number of young, enthusiastic teachers who connected well with students. The young teachers quickly became role models.

J2’s father had wanted to go to university but with the 1930s Depression and WWII, his family had no money for his education. He was determined, however, that his sons would have what he had been denied. He did all he could to ensure his children- 3 sons – had a good education and qualifications for a career.  His eldest son, four years older than J2, had won a Telstra Scholarship to do Engineering at University.  The youngest son was also focusing on Maths/Science. In part inspired by a good English teacher, J2, in the middle, was drawn to English and the Social Sciences.

He had other good teachers – and a couple of poor ones. It was, however, the school environment – teachers excited about knowledge and learning, the nurturing of his leadership potential in football teams, as House Captain and prefect – that captured his imagination and heart. It was an environment that supported change and development. The prefects as a group tackled some of the more arcane and arbitrary school rules about dress and behaviour and were able to make a few changes. It was an environment of possibility.

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October 7

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile 34 posted by Jillian in Biography, History of Education

At a Catholic Girls’ College in Adelaide, which she attended from the age of 4, H2 engaged with a lot of handcrafting, regarded as an appropriate thing for young ladies. She loved doing things with her hands, including cooking. Her grandmother, and to a lesser extent her mother, knitted, crocheted and embroidered. Her ambition was to grow up, become a nun and teach young children to knit.

From the College she went to a selective State High School, at the tail end of the old Public Examinations Board (PEB) cohort, so could not continue her Domestic Arts interest into Year 11 and 12. She loathed her double Maths, double Science program. To make matters worse, her parents separated in her final year of schooling and her elder brother, in hospital while she was doing her final exams, died tragically and traumatically.

While her mother was pushing her to become a teacher, in line with her early ambitions, H2 applied to 25 restaurants for an apprenticeship as a chef. She was invited to two interviews, at Lyrics and Decca’s. From this, aged 16, she was offered a three-month trial as an apprentice and a place at Teachers’ College on the same day. Under pressure to make a quick decision, living between her father’s and her mother’s homes, she took her mother’s advice and opted for Teachers’ College, joining the first cohort of the four-year integrated Batchelor of Education course.

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September 24

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile 33 posted by Jillian in Biography, equity, History of Education

G2 grew up in Adelaide and can’t remember a time when she didn’t want to be a teacher. Her mother had an aunt who had remained single and had a career as a teacher in NSW in the 1920’s. Although G2 never met the aunt, her mother talked a lot about her and she was a figure to be admired.

They were also a church-going family, and Sunday School provided a role model in the figure of another unmarried teacher at the church who recruited G2 to teach Sunday School. In particular, she got G2, when she was about ten years old, working with a Downs Syndrome child and preparing teaching aids.

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September 15

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile 32 posted by Jillian in Aboriginal education, Biography, equity, History of Education, Indigenous education

F2 always loved the school environment. She was happy and successful at school and always had good teachers who encouraged and looked after her. At 15 she had the option of leaving school and attending a secretarial college. The alternative choices were nursing or teaching. In her senior school years she really wanted to attend university and her teachers encouraged her.

It was the understanding in her family that she would need to get a scholarship or join the workforce. Her initial hope was to attend the University of New England in Armidale but her scholarship stipulated she must study English and History at Sydney University.

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August 31

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile 31 posted by Jillian in Aboriginal education, Biography, Education reform, equity, History of Education

When E2 matriculated in Western Australia her first career choice was Speech Therapy. She had for years and years pursued Music, Speech and Drama out of school hours and had studied Music at school. She matriculated with 11 subjects, including French and German. Her father, who came to Australia from Greece in 1922 at the age of 9, had achieved 10 subjects but not matriculated because he did not pass English.

There were no scholarships available for Speech Therapy, and no course she could pursue in Perth. She needed to move to Melbourne to study Speech Therapy. None was offered that year. Her second choice was Law, but family could not have afforded for her to do that.

She opted therefore, for her third choice – teaching. She took a bonded scholarship to Claremont Teachers College for a two-year training course in Primary Teaching. The course began on 14th February 1966 – the same day as the introduction of decimal currency into Australia, so her first allowance payment was made in the new Australian dollars!

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