My Story

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My Story

Journal prompt: what was it was like for your ancestors when victory was announced on 15 August 1945?

I have become obsessive compulsive in my pursuit of educating people in the art of preserving their family history!

At the time of writing it is the eve of VP day, the day we could officially celebrate the end of World War 2. This morning I tuned into my local ABC radio Conversation Hour and listened to veterans and their families talk about the significance of VP Day. Some of the stories resonated for me as they revealed how much the storyteller learned about their ancestors who fought in the war. Many stories only come to light decades on when the memories are retold or a diary is discovered or we interview our elders with a view to recording their stories.

On August 15, 1945, Prime Minister Ben Chifley announced the end of World War II. That milestone date would become Victory in the Pacific (VPDay and, 75 years on, remains one of the most pivotal moments in history.

Herald Sun, LifeStyle

What is the significance of this day to you and your family? Do you have ancestors who fought in WW2? Have they told you stories of what it was like for them when victory was announced?

I was just a few months old when Victory was announced! I was born in Cardiff Infirmary, Wales in 1945. So I do not have a personal memory to relate about VP day. My ancestors’ experience in that period will become the next topic for my family history blog, a task for tomorrow. This will involve another Ancestral Card, another story script and another digital story.

What I do want to share with you today is ‘my story’ and how the decisions that I have made has shaped my life.

Ten years ago I was content to explore my family tree and to build my knowledge of where and who I come from. As I became more aware of the lives, experiences and stories of my ancestors, I learned more about myself. Many of my ancestors were entrepreneurs in the fields of Tailoring and Building construction, and I am on the hunt for those who were the teachers and pioneers, and where I get my independent learning skills from.

Much of my thirst for learning has been helping me sort out who I am, what I have become and how my history has shaped my life.

Sixty years ago I made a decision that changed my life completely – I decided to become a teacher. I could have chosen a different career and a different life path, such as a lawyer or a writer. In hindsight, becoming a teacher was the right decision for me. It has led me to the right place.

Do you ever consider what it might have been like if you had made different career decisions, way back when?

My teaching has been diverse in context and in audience. I began as a high school teacher, delivering commercial subjects such as legal studies, shorthand and typing to teenagers. My claim to fame back in the sixties was teaching Dean Jones (Australian cricketer) how to be a touch typist. I wonder if he still uses that skill. High school teaching spanned a thirty year career and it is where I learned the difference between being a teacher and an educator.

“… an educator is a person who teaches, informs or inspires others, while a teacher is someone who helps others learn new things. … Educator and teacher are two words that are often interchanged wrongly. Mar 22, 2017…”

The Education Network

In 1993 I took the opportunity to become a lecturer in Australian Technical and Further Education (TAFE) learning centres. Entering a new world of adult education, my role as an educator took off in new directions that I had never imagined. I was involved in face-to-face education of adult learners, and in 1996 I gained a new opportunity to step into the world of professional development for educators – in other words, teaching my peers.

I had always had a penchant for technology and a strong set of technical skills that I was able to share with others – especially useful when the world changed and elearning challenges arrived on the scene. I was one of the first of my peers to embrace online learning and that took me into the fascinating genre of becoming an instructional designer for online courses.

My technical writing skills soared as I began to write and publish instructional manuals for students in the TAFE courses I was teaching. Word Processing was an emerging technology back then and I wrote manuals for WordPerfect 5.1 and Word 2.0. Remember those? I was influential in steering the Publishing House at Outer Eastern TAFE to focus on writing manuals for Microsoft Word as the standard word processing software for students in the Business Management centre where I was employed.

So am I a pioneer like my Dad?

Allery Clan, Pioneers

I had become an author and discovered that I much preferred to write manuals than to teach. This led me to the next stage of my career when I moved from the city to the country to take up a position as an Instructional Designer in the Training Design department of a large regional TAFE. During this time I learned the importance of applying adult learning principles in designing and producing print resources and online resources.

Several years later I was restless again and yearned once more for hands-on opportunities to be a practicing educator – specifically for teachers of adult learners. I returned to the world of professional development and took up numerous projects for mentoring educators in regional adult learning centres, now called Learn Locals. My network grew and expanded my skills as a leader in this field and this enabled me to branch out on my own – I became a freelance mentor and helped teachers to work in the world of blended elearning and online learning.

Am I an entrepreneur like my great Grandfather?

Allery Clan, Freedom of the City of London

During that decade I became drawn into the world of genealogy and my career in family history was born. I evolved my skills as a family history researcher and began to write my family stories as blog posts to share with my family and friends.

After my work life was retired I rewired and began to think about what’s next.

So, am I a romantic dreamer like my Mum?

Allery Clan, Romance

A spark of an idea flared into my brain and I began to consider how I might share my tips and strategies with others who wanted to write their ancestral stories and share with their networks. In March 2019 I set myself a challenge to write my first online course for Family Historians – the Digital Storytelling Online course emerged. What I realized by then was that I now wanted to revitalize my career as a Family History educator and help others preserve their family stories – my new career was emerging.

In December 2019 I completed my Diploma of Family History and graduated at the University of Tasmania. This has enhanced my thirst for more online learning, and in September 2020 I will embark upon another course Be a Professional Genealogist, to build my credentials in becoming a Professional Genealogist.

I knew that I had several commitments in my other world of Toastmasters to complete by end of June 2020, so I planned ahead to carve out time to step into my new career at the age of 75. I reckoned that I could keep my brain synapses firing and ward off old-timers issues if I could once again have a new purpose and use the skills I had acquired over a lifetime.

So, am I resilient like my grandmothers?

Cutting Clan, Resilience

A new challenge has emerged in 2020 (amid the craziness of global pandemic) to provide my help to others keen to preserve their family history. Creating online course-ware has become the focus of the last few months of my life.

So I must now create my BRAND:

Be Brand You

B = build new skills and knowledge with a myriad of new technology tools

R = reflect on the past to help shape my future, listen to the stories of my ancestors

A = assist other family historians to learn new skills in researching and documenting their ancestral stories

N = network with a diverse audience through my social media networks and local connections

D = design resources for those who want to use modern technology to preserve and share their ancestral stories

New logo
New logo

How will you create your BRAND?

How has your family history shaped you?

How will you share your family stories?

Feel free to share your family stories in a comment below.

Genealogy Research Services

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