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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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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May 9

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile 25 posted by Jillian in Biography, Curriculum, History of Education, Languages

Z does not understand where her early drive to become a teacher came from.  She did have an uncle who was a teacher but the drive and influence did not, from her memory, come from him.  She wanted to be a teacher well before she herself went to school. She had a big blackboard at home and even before she started school she would conduct classes using it. She can only assume that she absorbed the atmosphere and activity of school as she and her mother walked her older sister to school each day – but she has no memory of observing or spending time inside the school.


She does remember that she cried every morning on the way to the school with her mother and sister, because she was not allowed to stay. Her sister was two years older. Eventually her mother could bear it no longer, and added a year to Z’s age so she could start school a year ahead of her 5th birthday. Her attraction to teaching was undiminished. She conducted assemblies at home using a mop handle as a microphone. Throughout primary school she observed what teachers did and incorporated elements into her games – constructing not only roll books, but timetables and lesson plans – based on sneak peeks at the papers teachers left on their desks. She loved school and was sorry when holidays came around – looking forward to the next term time.

In retrospect, she attributes the attraction as a good fit with her “bossy nature”. She never wavered in intention.

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March 7

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile 24 posted by Jillian in Assessment, Biography, Education reform, equity, History of Education

A comment on his practice teaching report that he was “good with a difficult class” redirected Y from a future in hospitality to a long and successful career in education. The son of two primary school teachers, he attended high school in suburban Adelaide and wanted to attend university and leave home at the end of high school.  The Teachers’ College Scholarship, unlike the Commonwealth Scholarship he also won, paid a living allowance. He was amongst the last cohort to benefit from the Teachers’ College Scholarships designed to encourage final year school students into teaching.

By the time he finished his Dip Ed, the demand for teachers was lessening and the scholarship scheme had been curtailed. Although the Education Department honoured the commitment to train, they no longer guaranteed work and no longer enforced their bond. Y had taken an extra year to finish because of an eye operation. He was offered a country placement but under no obligation to take it. He was, by this time, in a committed long-term relationship and his partner worked in the city. He therefore turned down the appointment and got work as a waiter and restaurant manager for two years.

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December 8

Conversations with Baby Boomer Teachers: Profile 23 posted by Jillian in Biography, Curriculum, History of Education, Languages

From the age of 10, W said she wanted to be a teacher; a primary school teacher. Her home at St Peters in Adelaide had a garage with huge panels that acted as a blackboard and there she would play at being a teacher with younger children serving as her pupils.

When she was at high school an elderly friend of her family asked her what she wanted to do when she grew up. When she answered “a primary teacher” he asked her why and suggested she should be a secondary teacher. That got her thinking.

Her Italian migrant parents had not had university education, but were literate. Education mattered and was valued in her family. Her mother had aspired to university and told the story of a family friend in her grandfather’s generation who became a professor and yet her grandfather had been the brighter of the two throughout their schooling. The fact that W wanted to be a teacher was given great importance by her parents and regarded as a high status choice. She was supported to the maximum level – not in material terms (such as coaching) but in terms of values and valuing.

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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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