A few weeks ago while teaching a year 10 class it suddenly hit me that it was exactly 50 years earlier that I had been in Year 10. I expressed this to the students and they responded by saying that it was amazing that someone could be so old and still talk and stand at the same time.
We discussed the changes that occurred over this period. Then the unemployment rate was well under 2%. A student could leave in year 11 and do a two year primary teaching certificate and be back in the classroom before turning 20. Lots of students left by year 9 and 10 and went straight into jobs and apprenticeships. At Queenscliff High all my fellow students would remember Robbo who was the first to escape and became a postman. Even in the early 1970s I could still walk into the Ford factory and find myself on the afternoon shift the next day earning some money so I could afford to get married the following year.
At my school girls still did the “girls’ subjects (Home Economics, Commerce and Shorthand and Typing) and boys did the “boys’” subjects (Mechanical Drawing, Woodwork and the sciences). Some schools were beginning to experiment by allowing a more democratic choice of subjects.
There was the cold war, nuclear fears and the growing rumbles of the Vietnam war. Colonialism was coming to an end and we had just introduced decimal currency.
The divorce rate was still low and de facto relationships hardly heard of. Although later I found out that many of these families suffered at the hands abusive husbands and fathers.
Technology has of course been the one of the most massive changes. In 1966 the teacher would hand out sheets which had been duplicated on a spirit duplicator. Every student would sniff their sheet of paper for its faint smell of the spirit/alcohol.
For those of you who are a certain age, what changes have you noticed?