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 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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May 12

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile 30 posted by Jillian in Biography, History of Education

M2 grew up in New Zealand as the second of three girls. Her father, the son of a lawyer and lecturer at Otago University, had been a German Prisoner of War during WWII, who, aided by the Red Cross, completing his B Com while in the POW camp. Her mother, before her first marriage, did not work, and, from family scrap books, spent much time going to the races, balls and other social events. Living was grand and gracious. However, after her first husband was killed in action, she spent the rest of the war sewing items such as christening gowns, table linen, and other articles for sale to support herself and her young daughter.

With her two sisters, M2 attended a private girls’ school – with expectations that they would take a year off at the end of school, “go into nursing and marry a Canterbury farmer”. While her older sister was compliant, M2 thought she would like to be a doctor. Unfortunately this was made difficult by the school’s curriculum, which did not include either Physics or Chemistry. She had an ally, however, in a Maths teacher, who fought (unsuccessfully) for her to gain university accreditation at the end of Form 6. The other teachers would not allow it as her English was not considered to be of a higher enough standard. This meant she was unable to have a year in Form 7,  which would have automatically given her access to a bursary with a living away from home allowance. Her family, however,realised she was not going to stay home for a year of socialisation and happily agreed to support her through university for as long as she wished.

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February 16

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile 29 posted by Jillian in Biography, equity, History of Education, Primary schooling, Secondary schooling

D2’s father was a journalist, her mother a nurse. From as long as she could remember she wanted to be a journalist. Her older brother had followed their father into journalism. Her mother thought all female journalists were hussies. No way did she want her daughter to become a journalist.

Her parents separated. The children stayed with their mother, who could not see why a girl needed an education to wash nappies. Her own nursing career was at least a help in what she saw as a woman’s vocation.

On leaving school, D2 applied to one of the Adelaide daily newspapers for a journalism cadetship. The Paper took one male and one female cadet each year. When D2 was told she was in the final 3 after her interview, she went home and told her mother she was in. She knew the other two finalists were both male. Her mother, firm in her views, phoned the Paper and told them her daughter had accepted a place in Nursing and wished to withdraw from the cadetship.

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February 1

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile 28 posted by Jillian in Biography, History of Education

Until she was ten and a half, C2 attended Prospect House, a Quaker Prep school in Northern Ireland. There she fell under the influence of Miss Baird, a PE teacher who had taught her father. She was old, and reminded C2 of her grandmother. She was a lovely, decent woman who would take C2 out of Maths to do sports practice. She determined to become a PE teacher.

At ten and a half she was sent to an all-girls boarding school miles away from home. A couple of things reinforced the PE teacher ambition.

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December 9

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile 27 posted by Jillian in Biography, Curriculum, History of Education, Primary schooling, Secondary schooling

B2 was motivated to become a teacher by a terrific Year 7 teacher who saw her potential and encouraged her to go to Enfield High School and pursue teaching. It was difficult to make this happen. Her parents were not supportive and sent her to Nailsworth Girls’ Technical High School to pursue secretarial studies.

At Nailsworth she was in a Commercial stream and did German as an addition in her own time. Joan Young, who was the deputy at Nailsworth, encouraged her to apply for a teaching scholarship in Year 11, her final year as the school did not offer Leaving Honours. She also had a job after school on Thursdays and Fridays. She won the scholarship to do Primary teaching at Wattle Park Teachers’ College. Joan went on to become Principal of Gepps Cross Girls’ High, where she stayed for over 20 years and significantly improved girls’ education.

At the end of her first year at Wattle Park, B2 was asked to transfer to Western Teachers’ College to take up training in a new pressure-cooker Home Economics teaching course. There were about 20 students in the program and they studied food, nutrition and needlework. She met a number of dynamic and influential women through the course. At the end of it she was appointed to Whyalla but a friend, who had a city appointment, wanted to get away from the city and asked her to swap. So small was the Home Economics world that there were no barriers to this!

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September 25

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile 26 posted by Jillian in Biography, History of Education, technology in education

A2 grew up in England where his older sister had disappointed the local Grammar School by leaving aged 16 to become a hairdresser. Because of this the school would not accept another member of the family and A2 went to the local Secondary Modern School. He was good at Science and, at 16, transferred to the Grammar School for the last two years of High School to get his A levels and matriculate. Ironically, his sister later returned to study and complete both Bachelor and Master degrees.

His Science took him, aged 18, to a job in scientific research at a naval research station 80 miles from the sea. Living in a nearby town and travelling to work by motorised bicycle, he had the status of a Sub-lieutenant and reported to a Rear Admiral. The classified research arose from the nuclear weapons program but directed toward radiation treatment of cancer. His main job involved working mostly on his own to build glass vacuum systems. He was not, he found, very good at building glass vacuum systems – many of his systems leaked! His image of himself as a scientist was dented. He was also bored. 

It dawned on him that what he really liked was working with people. Throughout high school he had taught other children – and enjoyed it. He rang a teacher at his old Grammar School and asked her advice. She suggested he enrol in a teacher training program at Borough College London and helped him to gain entry. He trained in Physics and Science, graduating with a London Institute of Education Certificate in 1968 and becoming a Physics and Science teacher at Nobel Grammar School in Stevenage just as the school was moving to become Comprehensive.

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