Flashback Friday: When Baby Boomers did school differently

school classroom
Back in the day when classrooms looked a little different. Source: Australian National Archives

When it comes to the education system, it’s safe to say things sure have changed since Baby Boomers were lacing up their boots and trotting off to school. These days schools take a softer approach to learning, with mindful language, inclusive attitudes and politically correct toys lining shelves.

That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just very different from what the Boomers went through!

Nowadays, you’re more likely to see a child meditating in the ‘quiet corner’ than getting a whack across the knuckles with a ruler. Tuck shop treats at some schools display glass cases brimming with gluten-free options and coffee machines to keep hormonal teens buzzing with cappuccino-fuelled adrenalin.

It’s a far cry from the ‘take it or leave it’ approach of the past that bread hard-knock Boomers to understand that life ain’t always a peach!

Take a look back with us at some of the most memorable moments from the days when Baby Boomers ruled the school.

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Back in our day, school looked a little different …

Kindergarteners on their way to school in Canberra. Source: Australian National Archives

There were no SUVs lining the school carpark. Kids were loaded on the bus and mum and dad pretty much blindly trusted that you’d make your way home somehow.

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We learnt real-world skills with our hands

Students learn mechanical skills at Sydney Technical School. Source: Australian National Archives

Woodwork, metal shop and home economics were mandatory and taught us the life skills we’d need to run a home and fend for ourselves. Being handy wasn’t just about knowing how to fix things around the house and darn socks; it was about learning the art of thriftiness and pinching pennies when times were tough.

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We entertained ourselves for hours using our imaginations, not our iPads

Kids spent plenty of time one on one. Source: Australian National Archives

Claps, marbles, hopscotch, chasie, handball, yo-yos and more. You name, we gamed it.

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Lunchtime in high school was about catching up, not taking selfies

It was all about that peaceful reprieve from the classroom. Source: Australian National Archive

Finding a spot on the grass to sit and chat with your girlfriends, or guy friends, was the highlight of the day.

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While lunchtime was for fun, class time was for learning

Kids gather around to listen to their teacher. Source: Australian National Archives

And if you didn’t sit up straight and listen, ooo boy, watch out!

While there were often times other places we’d rather have been, it’s hard to imagine growing up any other way! 

What’s your most memorable moment from school? Do you think schools are too soft nowadays, or are the changes for the good?