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Great to hear so many familiar names

The 1960’s are considered synonymous with all the new, exciting, radical, and subversive events and trends of the period. It’s probably a good thing that we didn’t know it at the time.
Most of us headed for Struan on day one with a mixture of apprehension, excitementand varying degrees of confidence. The uniforms of childhood had been replaced bywhat we viewed as the height of fashion, though looking back at the photos, I’m not quite sure whether we even knew what fashion really was! There was always something terribly clone-like about our clothing.

‘Lecturer’ Bill Martin introduced us to College life, making sure that we were blatantly aware of the importance of this introductory week, ‘Vegetable Week’, which required us to consider specific vegetables in some depth. We also had a minute’s silence for some dearly departed lecturer. Many of us were so gullible in the ways of a ‘grownup’ world. The new college buildings weren’t quite completed, so we briefly joined those who were already halfway along their study path, at Struan. Little did we realise that study was going to become a necessity throughout our careers, not just the 21months of our course, or a bit longer for some who saw a life ahead teaching ‘little kids’ .

For many students, much of college life was taken in their stride. For me the most remarkable stride was that of Monty Brown hastening along to lectures, gown flapping, all ready to ensure that if only we had studied Latin 1 & 2 we would easily comprehend the complexities of the English Language. I hadn’t and I didn’t then, but I coped in spite of it.

Of all the staff, to my recollection, no one seemed to swoosh their gown with quite the flair of Peter Botsman, who reminded me of the then contemporary Have Gun Will Travel hero, Paladin.

We soon settled in to timetables and the vagaries of lecturers, who were most probably wondering if this rabble of teenagers could ever be trusted with the education of society, let alone that of their own children and grandchildren. They were not to know that collectively, we have been responsible for some 5000 teaching years and direct influence on at least half a million students. For some ofthese students, we have become the memorable teacher of their past.

Teaching round one, when we ‘observed’, and had pointed out to us, the superior teachers, including those with the best work programs. We were even allowed to ‘help’ in class. After that we signed ‘The Bond’ that piece of paper which ensured we would be gainfully employed, and beholden to the whims of the Victorian Education Department for 3 years. Although women could escape through marriage after 12 months, the blokes weren’t so fortunate. They had to dig deep if they wanted a departure clause.

It was about this time, we were introduced to the ‘lesson plan’, that late night activitywhich preceded the formal lesson, for which we got a ‘crit’, by the class teacher, less frequently, by the head of the teaching area, and once a week, a lecturer. We compared ‘good crits’ and hoped other indiscretions would not haunt us the rest of our days, as anyone could check out the whole teaching round’s lesson plans and resultant comments.

Lectures of varying interest and demands on our time and intellect, proceeded apace, with assemblies on Wednesdays. My fondest memories are of assemblies. Electoral spin by Max trying to convince us of his platform when he spoke of his commitment to the Institution, Constitution and Pros ……… perity.

The glamorous Elly Lukas showing the girls that etiquette and decorum were essential elements for a woman, don’t know what the blokes did, but it couldn’t have been nearly as decorous. This could have been about the time of the ‘Gallant’s Fashion Parade. I wasn’t fashion parade material.

Percy Cerutty, when he eventually got there, was about as far from fashion as was possible, in his grey turtle neck sweater, shorts, bare feet and demonstration of running, across the stage using parallel arm and leg movement, he reckoned it was possible for runners to perfect such a gait. I don’t think Herb Elliot ever took it up.The begowned staff somehow looked out of place on the stage. There were thestudent contributions too, Jenny’s ‘Summertime’ and a wonderful violin solo, I recall.

We played the recorder, the most ludicrous instrument for a teacher to use as it was impossible to play, sing and direct our students at the same time. “Lazy-Ade”Monsborough seemed to manage pretty well though, with a bicycle pump and a length of garden hose. Somehow, I don’t think Bernie Carrigg would have approved of us turning up with that, he barely tolerated the ruler recorders, when we inadvertently left our real recorders at home whenever we had a new piece to practice, in our own time. I was quite good at playing the ruler.
We, who were sure we’d left homework behind when we left school, didn’t rate it highly when there was an adult social life awaiting – and we could smoke in the common room!
By the next year, the original TPTC’s had graduated, the original TITC’s seemed totolerate us as we were now old hands and we revelled in the welcome to the unproven, incoming ‘stewed-ants’. How were they to know that their new lecturers and welcoming committee were there for our entertainment? Their banner welcome, I think, assured these subsequent students, ‘That there was still time’.

We could choose our specialised subjects and it meant more time in schools doing real teaching. And developing the contents of our Aids Cases, just think what ourgrandchildren would make of that one! We practiced our speech rhymes, our blackboard techniques, and wondered what on earth we would do next in ISM. Do you realise that we were probably one of the first groups to utilise acronyms as part of our everyday life? That’s probably why we can sort of survive in today’s world.

1961 was a great year. And what a year! Revues, plays, social committees, trips, electives, publications and ‘The Gondoliers’! For something which really occupied quite a small period of time, it has occupied a very large part of the memory space of many students, who have sung along and reminisced at the slightest provocation in the intervening years.

The last few weeks were a blur of exams, results, excitement and trepidation. In December, we walked across the stage to collect our Certificate which showed, that we were teachers and we would now be set loose on the world.

In the intervening years, much has changed, we are all far from the somewhat naive neophytes of fifty years ago, and we are here to reminisce and celebrate our time at Frankston Teachers College which began our career path and made a contribution to what we all have achieved in our lives.

Sandra Parker

I was lecturing in Infant school method in 1960 and 1961 (I think) sharing an office with Pat Kennedy (not ideal!).I had had just three years as an Infant teacher before that and the ISM course was completely prescribed byPat. I drove a Morris 8. Read the rest of this entry »

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Leaving F.T.C. I was sent to the then newly-open Yooralla School for Crippled Children at Balwyn. Facing quites everely handicapped youngsters, some with little or no speech, was a daunting experience for a new chumwithout any special training or preparation. Read the rest of this entry »

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A little over fifty years ago we sat at our first assembly in front of the old Struan house and watched with apprehension as details of Teachers College unfolded. Most of us were fresh from secondary school and excited at the prospect of embarking on a career. How hard will the course be? But I can’t do maths! Will I have to teach music? Who’s the guy with the long sideboards and the flowing black gown?

If we’d been asked what we’d be doing in fifty years time, we’d have said we can’t think past tomorrow. It’s all too unknown. Yet we’d have guessed that statistically some of us would not make it to 2010, some of us would remain teachers all our career, and some would change careers at various stages. In those days it was highly likely that most of the women would resign to have babies because the system was stacked against married women and there was an assumption that you got married to have children and if you had children you couldn’t teach! After all, men were paid more than women for equal work because they were the “bread-winners”. It was assumed that men would ultimately become principals and if a woman didn’t marry she would become thefeared Infant Mistress.

As the year progressed we developed new friendships, became influenced by dynamic lecturers, had our comfort zones tested and teaching rounds began to challenge our resolve. Extra-curricular activities increased and we became aware of those with extraordinary talents. While we would have guessed that Max Gillies would have continued his success on the stage, we could not have guessed that he would be impersonating the Prime Minister of the day on national television. Who would have guessed that the lad with the crew cut and the perpetual grin (Mark Skinner) might be removing our spleen in sunny Queensland! Or that Helen Thomson the Age theatre reviewer was the Helen Dimsey we once knew. As for Diane Haig being a Professor at universities here and in America – well, I’ll leave you to read the rest! These four are just a selection of FTC graduates from the 1960 entry year who have achieved so much since our college days.

Sadly twelve of our intake of 135 have died (tributes to two of them are amongst the profiles). A few lecturers remain (two will attend our reunion), but most have passed on.

The less obvious successes of the past fifty years are the enormous influences that 135 teachers can have ongenerations of students. The ultimate compliment a teacher can receive is for an ex-student to comment manyyears later on the positive influence they have been. We know from experience that such compliments arethe “tip of the ice-berg” and that we have influenced thousands more students in a positive way.

The following profiles reveal a diverse array of talents, not just in teaching. The TPTC and TITC encouraged usto be generalists and we have been able to contribute to our communities in a very broad sense. Most of us are retired, but we are still active community members (in between all the travel that we seem to do).

Thanks to the contributors for giving us some insight into your fifty years since our college days. There are some sad tales and some amusing ones, but the theme is one of self-improvement and achievement in providing quality education for future generations.

On behalf of us all I would like to acknowledge the hours of work that Orme Harris (Lind) has spent in collating the profiles. She says it was a very rewarding task, but I know it took a lot of her time.

Thank you Orme!

Kevan PorterFor the Planning Committee.

Download the Frankston Teachers’ College Profile PDF document, with over 45 pages and 22,000 words, take a trip back in history.