This series could equally have been called “My Wollongong Decade” – for that is what it was, broken in 1977-78 by secondment to Education at the University of Sydney. In terms of where I lived:
12. 1970 Finlayson Street WOLLONGONG (solo)
13. 1970-1971 Princes Highway DAPTO (family moves back )
14. 1971-1972 Gilmore Street WOLLONGONG (a) (first flat)
15. 1972-1974 Gilmore Street WOLLONGONG (b) (second flat)
16. 1974-1976 Gilmore Street WOLLONGONG (c) (solo flat)
17. 1977-1978 Alexandra Road, GLEBE
18. 1978-1980 Church Street, WOLLONGONG
In terms of schools:
- Dapto High 1970
- Illawarra Grammar School 1971-1974
- Wollongong High 1975-1976
- University of Sydney 1977-1978
- Wollongong High 1979-1980
In February my friend Graham, who was an Inspector of Schools and architect of the 1972 English Syllabus back then, turns 80. There will be a bit of a who was who of English teaching in the 70s and 80s at that gathering. I might add in one of those continuities that Mr R (right in school excursion mode) met G some nine or ten years back. I wonder if R is now starting a Wollongong decade of his own? I rather think he might be onwards and upwards before the current decade is out.
Mr R’s decade begins in a very different educational and technological environment. Evidence of the latter is dramatically noted in Internet 2009 in numbers – thanks to Adrian Phoon for that one. In 1970 we had chalk, for writing with and for throwing at students when their attention wavered – probably grounds for assault nowadays – and we had Gestetners and Fordigraphs. By the end of the decade we had reel to reel videotape, then VHS or Beta, closed-circuit TV, cassette recorders, calculators, and sometime in the mid-70s I spotted the first computer in a school. It rather terrified me, a state of affairs that was to last at least another two decades! By the end of the decade I had a new teaching subject: Photography. We also had the cane at the beginning of the decade: 1970 was the only year I ever used it, and that because as Year 8 “Master” at Dapto I was obliged to.
By the end of the 70s I had qualified to be a Head of Department — though, aside from an honorary Head of History status for a while at TIGS, I never was one. I was on the state council of the NSW English Teachers’ Association, and was secretary of the South Coast branch. I had organised and/or participated in several staff development conferences and HSC study days.
But there is more to a memoir series than such facts, and the CV is ever a poor indicator of what really happened, isn’t it?
Did you ever see the TV series Teachers? Well… When I arrived in Dapto aged 26 I was comparatively old compared with the rest of the English staff…
… More to come