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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