Hi. I thought I would continue on from where we left off a few days ago.
I had been part of a learning world up until I entered Alexander Mackie Teachers’ College Paddington, Sydney NSW Australia, straight after leaving Sydney Girls Selective High School Moore Park, Sydney NSW Australia when I was around 18.
During those years I had had the opportunity to learn so many wonderful things in so many areas. I had also had the opportunity of teaching myself things as well – Tennis, the Recorder, and now, during Teachers’ College, the Piano. I also had the opportunity to teach others during my High School life and was to in Teachers’ College also. Without really knowing it at the time, I had truly found my Niche, so to speak.
I remember having to fill in some information in Year 5 about what I wanted to be when I left School, and even at this age, I wrote down I wanted to be a School Teacher and also that I wanted to have the chance to share my love of Music and Tennis with others, which I was ultimately able to do in the future big time.
Alexander Mackie Teachers College was nearing the end of its days in operation as a Teachers’ College around the time I entered it. I did not realise this. It had previously been Sydney Technical High School. It is almost next door to the Army Barracks and the Tank Stream.
During my 6 years at Sydney Girls’ High School at Moore Park, Sydney NSW, I was part of the first group of High School children to see through 6 years of High School instead of 5.
When I entered Alexander Mackie Teachers’ College, I was part of the last group of 2 year trained teachers to do so.
I was to meet my wonderful, soulmate and husband-to-be, Bruce, through a friend I knew at Teachers’ College, this being during the latter part of my 2nd year of Teachers’ College. We were to marry towards the end of my 1st year of teaching, around 10 months later, in 1970.
We have now been happily married for 38 years. We are definitely soul mates and he is a truly great “bloke”.
I remember, during my College years, studying 14 different subject areas, and having to complete assignments and exams for all.
Our College day commenced at 9am and finished around 5pm, and this was 5 days a week.
I also recollect us all wanting to have the opportunity to complete our 3rd year whilst at the College, but this, we were told, was being introduced for the next year’s group of student teachers, not ours and that we had just missed out.
Our year, and those who went before us, were to have to complete our 3rd year part-time during night times and weekends, after teaching during the day time. We also had to all do the same again when required teaching qualifications were once again changed from 3 year to 4 year trained.
I also remember training to be a Primary School Teacher of Students from Years 3 to Year 6. However, I was to end up being posted to an Infant’s School for my first teaching school, as our College Registrar, in charge of teaching placements, accidentally placed most Infants’ Trained teachers in Primary, and most Primary in Infant’s. This was not a good time for most of us, at all.
It was to be 7 years before I could finally move in to teach in the Primary School, where I truly found where I belonged and absolutely wanted to be. I loved the opportunity to teach all grades, which I did get to do during my 29 year career, but my favourite grades were to become Years 5 and 6.
My teaching years were truly fabulous and extremely rewarding. I will always be extremely grateful for the opportunity given to me to teach children. It is an unbelievable feeling to know you have had a part to play in assisting the learning of children, and that you can see they have grown from having been in your tutelage.
I took my career extremely seriously. I worked very, very hard and loved every moment.
I was fortunate to have been given some gifts/ talents, I was able to share with many children.
My Music afforded me the opportunity to conduct School, District and Regional Choirs and Choral groups, Dance Groups, Recorder Groups, Bands and Orchestras. I was fortunate to be able to teach every band instrument to the children in my band, as well as conduct them.
I was also totally thrilled to have been selected as 1 of 10 teachers from the Region to implement the Kodaly Music Program from Hungary, throughout our School, as 9 other teachers did in their Schools – both through the Infants and the Primary Schools.
This was when I was fortunate enough to be able to finally move in to the Primary School.
I had spent 3 years with my current class up to this stage, and their Musical abilities, because of the Kodaly Music program, were outstanding.
I was given the opportunity to move with them in to the Primary School to carry this program on.
Sadly, the program was to fold after several years, because it really required qualified Music trained teachers to implement it. These students were quite brilliant at Music. They could sing in Canon, parts, play instruments to a very high level indeed.
It was whilst working with this program I was offered the opportunity to go to Hungary to give demonstration lessons on what I had taught to students with the Pilot program. I wanted to stay to work with the children in my classes here.
I also had learned in the Infants School how to really teach children how to Read.
Whilst in the Infants, I was also part of another Pilot program that had only been introduced in to our School in Australia. This was so I could introduce the Open Court Language Arts Program from America to my students. This was the same group of Students who were part of the Kodaly Music Program. They were to be tested at the end of Year 2 and their Reading results were up there topping the State.
When I moved in to the Primary School at the same school, (because back in those days most Primary Schools and Infants Schools ran separated Departments and their Staff did not have the same Staff Room), I was to carry this program on.
Back at that time, Reading was not taught in the same manner in the Primary School, as in the Infants School. I was able to move this program in to the Primary School and Reading results throughout the school improved dramatically.
I was also offered a position over in America to work with American students on this brilliant program, but, once again I chose to stay with my students here.
I spent 7 years in the Infants Department at this School and 4 years in the Primary School.
Whilst in the Primary School I also started to teach choir groups for Opera House performances. This is where children from all over the State of NSW who are interested in, and good at, Singing, join a specific choir to learn more difficult part material so they can all eventually perform as 1 big united State choir at the Opera House.
I was to have the privilege to take several groups over the years and it was most rewarding for the children, and also for me.
I finally left this school and ended up in a very small country school with 1 class per grade. I was to teach there for 4 years, and was to teach Infants classes, except for 1 year. In all the following schools I was to teach at, as well as teaching my classes full time, I was to also teach recorder, recorder groups, choirs, dance groups, choral groups, band and orchestra, and school musicals, as well as conduct.
I was to also conduct and organise District Music Festivals and Regional Musica Viva concerts.
It was during this time I was selected as the Regional Music Consultant, a position I had always wanted to have, but, at around the same time, I found I was expecting our first child, and, after much consideration decided I would not have been able to be a “constant” for the Region, so I sadly turned the opportunity for this wonderful position down. They were grateful I had been honest with them.
However, my husband Bruce and I were over the moon to be having our 1st child. This was to be a boy and we named him Christopher John.
I was also to have a girl, Caroline Elizabeth, around 2 years later, whilst in what was to be my last year at this school.
Before I left, this school was to hold its Centenary, which was extremely exciting, with a lot of hard work needing to be put in by the whole school community to ensure its success.
The school, however, was to close a year later as a new, larger school, Samuel Terry, was opening up a short way up the road to cater for the large, growing student numbers in the area.
This new school was the School to which I was to return after my 12 months I took off to be home with my daughter Caroline, during her 1st year of life.
I had also previously had 12 months off to be home with our son Christopher too.
This was also a very sad time, whilst off teaching to look after my daughter Caroline, as my father had contracted lung cancer about 1 1/2 years before Caroline was born and, sadly, after being extremely ill over these 2 years, he was to pass away when Caroline was only 8 months old.
When I returned to teaching to teach at the New School, the School held a School Opening, as it was in its 1st year of operation. This was another major event, that took much organisation. When you are the Music person in a School there are many extra-curricular activities you are the organiser and trainer of.
Another sad event was to happen in the 1st year of this School being open, and occurring around the time Dad passed away, in fact within approximately a month, the 1st School Captain of this New School, a truly great child I was teaching, was to be knocked off his bike and killed. It was a very hard time for his family, and for us all.
Whilst at this school, I continued my Choir, Choral work, Recorder, Dance Group etc.
It was whilst at this school I was to get my 2nd promotion.
I was to then leave this school to take up my role as Executive Teacher at the next School. I had now experienced a large school, 1/2 my career teaching in the Infants and 1/2 in the Primary School, teaching in a small country school, a Bicentennial and Closing of a School, the Opening of a School and now I was to experience another “different” thing.
I was promoted to a Primary School. The Infants School, part of the whole school, was, however, positioned on a totally different block of land several streets away. We still needed to work together, so there were many lunch times needed to go to interact with the Staff and Assistant Principal in order to be working on the same plain.
My experience with learning to teach Reading was to really become valuable here. I was able to have the Principal purchase many thousands of dollars of well-needed Reading Resources for the Primary School.
During my time at this school, as well as continuing with the Dance Group, Choirs, coaching Tennis etc, I was to lead the School Band. There were many band instruments at this School, however, they were extremely old. Undeterred, I was to train each band instrument, and compile and write some Music for this Band – the School Song – Advance Australia Fair – writing the parts for each instrument. In their 2nd year of me working with them, from most of them never having played a band instrument before, the Band performed these pieces of Music, as well as other Music, to the delight of the parents, and the children themselves.
I certainly did experience a number of unusual events during my teaching career that most teachers would not have the opportunity of experiencing. They were rewarding as experience is the greatest teacher. Another was to come to pass at this school.
The Education Department decided to utilise the classrooms and block of land where the Infants’ teachers had been for many years, as a District Headquarters, therefore requiring the Infants’ teachers and students to move up to merge with us, after having been separated from the Primary for many, many years. There were a few teething problems, but we overcame them.
It was also during this time that the High School next door to our Primary School, on the same block of land, and the School to which our Primary School children had mostly automatically gone to forever as their local High School, was chosen to be a Selective High School. This meant that most of the students that had been automatically going there forever would have to travel to High Schools further away.
This was a very difficult time for the Parents to come to terms with the fact their children would now mostly have to travel.
I already had a very deep interest in Teaching Children to Read, but I also had a blossoming interest in teaching Gifted and Talented students. I was working several programs, with the children at this school to extend them, as there were a number of students at this school who were moving ahead extremely quickly with their schooling and learning, in a wide variety of subject areas. I went on to devise a successful program that was to ultimately see quite a number of students leave our School and enter the Selective High School.
Our son Christopher was to sit for the Opportunity Class and was to achieve extremely high results. He was to move to the Opportunity Class, at another school, for Year 5 but I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to teach Year 5 at this school and my son was to be in this class. People often asked how that was. Christopher loved it. The rest of the class didn’t mind it at all and saw no favouritism was ever shown to him, testament to the fact he went on to be chosen as Vice Captain of the School for the next year. I had now been the Acting Assistant Principal at this school for 18 months.
I was to get an opportunity to move to the School as an Executive teacher, where the Opportunity Class was situated, which is next door the University. An Executive Teacher not only teaches in the Classroom but holds leadership, management and Executive roles within the school.
Christopher, Caroline and I were to now move to this School. Christopher was to take up his place in the Opportunity Class for Year 6. His Maths was so advanced he was riding to the local High School 5 days a week to work on Year 10 Advanced Maths.
I was teaching the classes with hard to manage children, many of whom were behind in their learning. Many of these children went on to improve their results dramatically, which greatly boosted their self esteem and behaviour. But I also had the added opportunity of being able to work with the Gifted and Talented children. I was to teach the Opportunity Class for Maths for 2 years. These children worked the Maths Olympiad to come 2nd in Australia and the Tournament of the Minds to come 2nd in NSW, losing by only 1 mark to the School that went on to win the Australian Tournament. Christopher and Caroline were part of these groups.
Caroline was to become Prefect in Year 6 and also came 2nd in the entire School of 5 Year 6 classes during this year, including the Opportunity Class, which she never sat for entrance for. She was to Dux her own Year 6 Class, which I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to teach. The class was actually a Year 4, 5 and 6 composite. Once again the same applied for Caroline as Chris – no favouritism etc.
I can honestly say it has been most rewarding to have had the opportunity to teach my own children at School and they still say they were the best years of their school life.
I was involved in many School curriculum areas, during my career, many at the same time and also heading many, but still continuing with my Band, Choir, Choral Group, Dance work in the School, Region and State at all schools I taught at.
It was whilst at this last School, I was to organise 2 School Musicals that entailed working with the whole school, parents, teachers and students alike as one big team. We all pitched in together to hold 2 really great Musicals. There was much work to these, with organising the venue, the costumes, the performers, the training, etc, but they were truly memorable experiences.
There were many, many other areas I participated in, and/ or led during my years of teaching. We were also able to participate as teachers in much Staff Development, Personal Growth work, and Curriculum training etc.
One of my favourite learning experiences was the Accelerative Learning for which I was to become Accredited and earn my 4th Year Status.
It was at this time also that everything seemed to be going along smoothly. It was in the previous year I had had the opportunity of teaching Caroline.
It was during this year also, and whilst on an excursion o the University next door with the Senior School students, of which I was the head teacher, and, also once again the Acting Assistant Principal, that I was to have the freak accident that was to eventually take away my career.
After the accident, I was now teaching a Year 4 and gradually getting more and more unwell. I was also heading the 2nd School Musical.
However, not long after Princess Diana died, I was no longer able to return to school full time.
It was to be several months before I finally got to see a Specialist who immediately, almost 12 months after the accident, understood what had happened and what needed to be done to help me. I was only able to make the last couple of weeks of school that year to see the Musical to its completion.
I was so certain I would be back on my feet after the next School Christmas holidays in order to be able to continue my wonderful career.
I had also just before these Christmas Holidays, been given the amazing news by the School Principal that I was to be the next year’s Opportunity Class Teacher. This was out-of-this-world news, something I had totally dreamed of my whole teaching career, but, sadly, after many attempts the next year, I was never able to return to school teaching again. I was to be medically discharged 2 years later.
One could look back and see how truly sad this was, and, at times, I did, but more and more I have come to realise over all my years that one door closes and another one opens, as long as you let it.
I was to spend much of the next 6 years in hospital, more in than out. I had a very different, extremely difficult form of treatment that was required for my “condition” and really all was a huge life battle. It was a 1 step forwards and 2 or more steps backwards experience, but we never gave up.
If I ever wrote a book about this period of time in my life and the effect it had on my husband, mother and children, people would not believe it.
I prefer not to go there as it was too painful and I feel it is very important to have grown from there.
I was to meet many people during this time who had a great impact on my life then and also its future, my survival, etc. It was truly a growing time. It was, many times, a fight for survival, but we came through.
I think I have sort of caught you up to where, why and how I was introduced to Network Marketing and MLM as I spoke of in my previous Blog sessions.
That’s enough about me now though, and I will now be focusing on where I am going today and in the future – why I love eBay and what John Thornhill and Daniel Sumner are teaching me, as well as Matt and Amanda Clarkson.
Thanks for listening and have a great rest of the day! Speak with you again soon!