Casual chat with Christine Mullen

Teacher’s aide Christine Mullen talks about being a student at Frankston High School, teaching and her love for Frankston.

Tell me a bit about yourself?

I have been a teacher for many years and have a family of two girls. I’m a widow and my husband died about eight years ago. I love to travel and sew. I love my football team St Kilda. I have a good group of friends that I met around the Frankston area and were still friendly now.

I’m going to delve into the past, what was it like being a student at
Frankston High School?

I was at Frankston High School from 1959-1963. My father was a builder so we moved around quite a bit in those days after the war. Once I started at Frankston High school things started to settle down that was the only secondary college I went to until year 10.

My memories of Frankston High aren’t so much in the classroom its more sports, not so much participating but I love to spectate. Things like swimming sports and carnivals anything outside. Also any productions, my brother was a very good singer and I tried to emulate him.

It was Gilbert and Sullivan type productions by the music teacher. The one that I can remember most was a very short musical Trail by Jury, it was quite fun to be involved. The choir sang at the end of the year award ceremonies, we did a lot at functions for the school.

Were there any productions similar to the Rock Eisteddfod?
Not in those days, I was involved heavily in the Rock Eisteddford at Lyndhurst Secondary College. Being a textiles teacher for the first three years I made and organised costumes.
I had a class of students who wanted to involve themselves in making costumes. The fourth time we entered the Rock Eisteddfod, I won best costume and I felt that was a feather in my cap.

I think it was Mrs. Oates at Frankston High School she was a really lovely lady and a good teacher. My mother was very good with needlecraft and so from then, I thought it would be a good occupation to become a teacher.
I love kids still do, basically adolescence of course they are going to be the people that look after us in nursing homes. So we should be looking after
our young ones.

How has teaching changed from the 1950s to now?
Students have a problem with authority in the classroom. Technology has changed so much it can be used as a good tool if you have a very good teacher in the classroom. Its not good with computers when students are accessing stuff they should not be, while the teacher is instructing. They have to have
a standard in schools where they say no computers and smartphones while
teacher is instructing.

What advice would you give to your 15 -year -old self?
Study hard particularly maths, it was never my favorite subject. Now as a teacher’s aide I’m semi-retired and work three days a week at Lyndhurst Secondary College. Math’s is very important, I know I’ve use it in drafting. Trigonometry back in the old days used to scare me. Now it’s a lot easier
with calculators. I also love English; it can be inspirational if you have a good teacher.

What were you like as a student?
Because I’ve been to so many primary schools, I was a very quiet student very well intimated, as the
years went on I drew strength from that and became friends with people that perhaps I would not have been
friends with if I had not been at other places. I found after a while it became easy to make friends. I was a very timid student in primary school and in secondary college I gained confidence and enjoyed my education. I became a little bit of a joker; I loved to get a get a laugh of people with practical jokes
such as putting a spider under the lid of the piano.

What were some of the most exciting moments in Frankston?
The movie On the Beach that was huge in Frankston, something that we were all excited about. I think I saw the head of Ava Gardner walking along, but that’s about all I saw. That’s when I think Frankston started to get a name for itself, before that we were a sleepy little town.

What were some of your hobbies?
I used to draw the bay right across to Melbourne; in those days there weren’t
as many skyscrapers.

What advice would you give to future teacher?
If you want to be a teacher makes sure your motives are good. If your going into it for money and holidays that’s fine but remember your molding young people to look after the earth when were gone.
Be patient, have a good sense of humour. You have to be honest and fair.
Have to have a certain type of intelligence. You don’t necessarily have to be
the brightest person on earth but you have to be dedicated it becomes your
life and it takes over.

Christine Mullen passed away in 2014. In her memory year 7 Frankston High School students took photos  for a live artwork during the “Celebrate Living History of Frankston exhibition” held at Cube 37 in 2014. Christine was very passionate about the younger generation and we hope she was smiling down at the students embracing their artistic skills.