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Monday, November 4, 2013

Another glimpse of my time spent working in the classroom...

Occasionally I have been writing posts about old photos that give a glimpse of my former work in the classroom (and outside too). The photo I have chosen this time, dates back to 1974. It was the year of 'The Flood' after heavy rain during the Australia Day weekend. Hundreds of homes and businesses were flooded in the Brisbane/Ipswich area and schools remained closed to students for the first week of the school year.
Staff were recalled on the Wednesday if they were able to get to a school, even their closest school if flooding prevented access to their own workplace. I had a bag full of year 3 resources because I had been allocated that year level. When I got to school I was told that I had a Year 5 instead. And I would meet my new class on the following Monday. What a delightful group of children they were; I had a wonderful year with them.
Some of the gonk dolls made by my class in 1974

When I trained at Teachers College we learned that stitching was an important part of the art curriculum and it just wasn't for the girls like when I was a student at school.  (we used to stitch these samplers each year while the boys went to cane work and marbling paper lessons; I always felt cheated as a girl! lol) Consequently I planned art programs for my classes that covered so many art areas and used a wide variety of media.

The photo shows some of the completed dolls. Gonk dolls were a simple oval shape, hand-sewn with simple running stitch, stuffed and then legs,arms, hair and facial features were added. The class were very enthusiastic and some of the dolls even got shirts, skirts or pants made for them by their young designers.

In the rear left hand corner of the photo is a display board with some weaving samples that the children had made. We made the weaving with a few colours to imitate tartan checks.
The pictures hanging on the back wall are some origami houses glued to the background sheet and then by investigating perspective the students drew in a path and also drew some garden plants. The roosters' pictures are simple paper mosaic with many students experimenting to make their roosters appear 3D.
You may have noticed the back wall of my classroom. It's actually a wall that folds back. The ceilings in this 1930's building were very high and those doors were very tall and heavy and to actually fold back those partitions were beyond most of us, lol!

But looking at those doors/partition wall in this photo brought some other memories flooding back. In those early 1970s when I had started my teaching career, if a colleague was away, a supply teacher would not be employed to replace them. The teacher next door to the absent teacher was expected to take both classes. You would open the doors there in the middle, stand there and look after both classes for the day. I was 19 when I first started teaching and I waited with trepidation for the class teacher next door to have a day off...she ended having several days off throughout my first year and I would end up with 76-78 students...obviously I survived and it was because the children were lovely and worked hard throughout the days under those conditions.

Years later I would come back to this school as a relief teacher and this building had a complete refurbishment. The rooms were opened up and each pair of rooms became one classroom with lots of space. And most of those partitions were removed and replaced.
One more photo...this was my class in 1974; the ones who did all that creative works.

Most of these students will have celebrated their 49th birthday this year...:-/ 

P.S. I posted the photo of the art work on the school's Facebook page with the caption asking if any students recognised their sewing. I didn't expect anyone to respond. The girl 3rd from the left in the back row wrote a comment saying that she did recognise her gonk doll. It was second from the right in the back row and she added that she still had the doll up to a few years ago, 'when it fell to pieces'. I was impressed! lol


Anonymous said...

A lovely post Maria.
Not surprising that one of your students remembered her doll.
In the 50's I had a "Domestic Science" teacher during my first year at Secondary School in the UK and I vividly remember her teaching us that we should do our housework with pride (we were all expected to get married and stay in the home during those days). When hanging out the washing do it with care so that all towels hang together etc. I STILL HAVE TO DO IT. I cannot bring myself to have a messy washing line! If she were still alive I wonder how she would feel knowing that a little girl from a mining village in the UK is still hanging a tidy washing line over in Australia and enjoying the look of it blowing in the breeze.

Anonymous said...

lovely post Maria,you would've been a lovely teacher to have had.xx

Paul Forster said...

Wonderful photos of wonderful memories. Your craft skills were obviously put to great use in your teaching. Have just done a post myself that includes some classroon displays!