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.