My Five Decades Plus Seven

Dear Year 8 Students,

One advantage of being a relatively old History teacher is that I have encountered a number of historical events personally. I can’t recall most of the ones in my first decade, but I do remember the moon landing, which I watched on black and white television in my primary school teacher’s lounge room. 

In the first ten years of my existence, here are just a few events that took place:

  • 1963: John F Kennedy was assassinated.
  • 1964: The Beatles came to Melbourne and “Beatle-mania” took hold.
  • 1966: “Changeover-Day”: We switched from pounds and pence to dollars and cents.
  • 1967: A referendum was passed to include indigenous people as citizens of our nation.
  • 1967: Harold Holt, our then Prime Minister, drowned.
  • 1968: Martin Luther King was assassinated.
  • 1969: The first moon landing took place.

I could go on about the history that I’ve lived through — for example, the sacking of Gough Whitlam (when I was 13), the fall of the Berlin Wall (I was 27 by then) and the 9/11 attacks (I was 39).

But actually, it’s far more interesting for me to contemplate your promising future than my dusty past. After our first class or two, you will know all about the legacies of the ancient Romans and I shall ask you to write a comment about which legacies you would like to leave when you grow to be even older than I am now. Unimaginable, huh?

After all, in History, we are not constrained to think of our lives and our world in a linear way. We are like Time Lords who can imagine our lives at their close, who can picture ourselves as medieval peasants and who can contemplate the question of why ancient Roman tyrants behaved as they did.

Most of all, we can use our knowledge of the past to ponder on how to fashion a better future for humankind. Now there’s an idealistic hope. Aren’t they the best type?

All the very best from your History teacher,

Ms Green

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22 Replies to “My Five Decades Plus Seven”

  1. I like the legacy that is books and musicals because they are stories that I can enjoy and they affect me by opening my mind to new ideas and concepts. I also like songs because they sound great and can keep my mind off things/ make me feel happy or understood. I appreciate the translation of the bible because otherwise people wouldn’t be able to explore ideas in it or know whether or not what people say is in it is correct.
    I would like to be remembered as someone who helped and listened to people going through tough times and helped protect the environment Also I want to act in plays and be remembered for that. – Julia

    This is a lovely, thoughtful comment, Julia. I especially like your idea about “opening your mind to new concepts”. Well done! – Ms Green

  2. Eric
    Legacies I am thankful for:
    I am thankful for pencils and paper. Pencils and paper allow us to write without having to use heavy materials for paper and having to carve words. Pencils are far more accessible and easier to use than carving. Without paper we could still be very likely to be using heavy rocks as receipts, imagine modern day contracts on slabs of rocks.
    A legacy I would like to leave:
    Achieve rank 1 in a video game or hold a record of some sort.

    I think that the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings might agree with your point about writing on rock, Eric! Well done. – Ms Green

  3. A legacy that I appreciate is the Internet because it is a incredible way to connect the world and and share ideas.
    Medicine is also important, as I enjoy living and would like to continue to do so and medicine helps with that, and more specifically germ theory as for a long time we didn’t know of the little bugs everywhere.
    One legacy that I want to leave behind is one of happiness and sharing.

    Well done, Riley!

  4. The legacies that I appreciate from the Roman Empire are their sanitation because it helped our era be sanitary and clean and it has given us an idea for how to be hygienic.

    A legacy that I hope to leave is my knowledge and ideas so that I can hopefully influence the future generations.

    Thoughtful remarks, Adrian. – Ms Green

  5. A legacy I appreciate is the internet because the fact that we can communicate with others on the other side of the world using a small device not much bigger than an adult’s palm is amazing in its own right.

    A legacy I want to leave behind is my knowledge, although it might not be much in its own right, but common knowledge from the present might benefit future generations sooner or later.

    You have explained the power of the internet very well, Terry. Well done. – Ms Green

  6. A legacy that I appreciate is medicine because when I or someone else gets sick I can use the medicine that someone made to help me and others get better.

    A legacy that I would like to leave behind is to stop homelessness because it has become a big problem in the world and we need to take drastic actions to stop it. When I walk around in the city, I see homeless people on the streets and it makes me sad to know that people have to live like this while watching well-off people walk by. It is so heartbreaking and that is why I intend to do something about it.

    A very thoughtful and touching comment, Serena. Well done! – Ms Green

  7. There are so many legacies that I appreciate. From sanitation, fresh water and electricity to public order, medicine and education, there are so many that I can’t list them all. Some that I appreciate the most are the internet, as it allows us to connect with others and find useful resources with just a click; the refrigerator, as it keeps our food from spoiling; and (almost) international peace, which allows us to travel from one country to another without the threat of being assaulted.

    One big legacy I would like to leave to this world is the path to a world where all are treated equal, regardless of age, gender, race or illness. In this way, we could have a brighter future.

    A deeply thoughtful comment, Gau! – Ms Green

  8. The legacies from the past I am thankful for are the aqueducts. Without the Romans inventing these, we wouldn’t necessarily have clean, fresh water and the toilet flushing to our disposal. Including having warm showers. This invention also has improved the sanitation in many of the households, that they can have access to washing and rinsing their hands more easily due to the plumbing.

    Yes, we tend to underestimate the value of plumbing! In the Middle Ages, the people certainly suffered from a lack of attention to drainage. A thoughtful comment, Emily. – Ms Green

  9. A legacy I appreciate is the discovery of electricity. It has changed the world in many ways as many things we use today require electricity and it is present in our everyday life. Electricity is necessary for human survival as it is in almost everything we use.
    A legacy I want to leave behind is underwater Uber, otherwise known as SCUBER, as I think it will benefit a lot of people and it could rescue people who are in ocean accidents. I also think it would be an enjoyable experience and could help transportation.

    Hi William, I am always learning something from my students – I had never heard of SCUBER! The rate of change is remarkable, isn’t it. It was a pleasure to read your original and thoughtful comment.
    – Ms Green

  10. I really appreciate different sports and games (such as cricket), as well as the internet and my education. I appreciate sport because it is something that I enjoy doing in my spare time and have created many friendships and memories while playing. I appreciate my education and the internet because I love to learn at school (most of the time) and I can teach myself new things easily with the internet.
    Legacies I would like to leave behind are simply the friendships I have and will be involved with as well as the contributions and advice I can give to assist friends and members at my sports clubs.

    Dear Jasmine,
    I agree that the internet makes it possible to learn anything and I love the independence that brings. Your plan for your legacy is one of the best kind. Your appreciation of the value of friendship impresses me very much.
    – Ms Green

  11. I appreciate many things in my life, most of which were brought about by someone from the past. I appreciate the legacy of many things, such as books and other forms of storytelling. But most of all I appreciate the legacy of my education, the result of so many who fought for Australia to be somewhere where everyone is entitled to that education.
    I hope to leave great legacies of technology behind me, to solve the mysteries of the possibilities where so many others have fallen short. To create new things that could save so many lives. Hard light, a dream for so long, might not be an unattainable goal. Holograms could become more useable and widespread. Artificial cell regeneration could save people from diseases previously believed to be the point of no return. To bring people back from the brink of death. To have future generations not have to worry about diseases or otherwise fatal wounds. To create a better world, a safer world.

    Dear Tash, you have some fascinating and creative dreams and hopes! I hope that you will have the opportunity to fulfil them and to enjoy the process. – Ms Green

  12. I’ve always been keen on travelling and experiencing different cultures and lifestyles of the world. Through the invention of new vehicles and transport such as aeroplanes, ships and everyday motor vehicles, it has become so much easier for millions to travel to multiple countries for the many reasons included. I believe that so much can be learnt from these experiences, both humanely and academically, that these inventions have allowed us the opportunity for many to keep on experiencing and learning. This 21st century transport has given us the chance to be at various places faster, and further away from our homes. It aids those who want to explore, and those who need help where they are, for without these modes of travel, we lose out on so many extraordinary chances and bumps through life. Without the legacy and growth of knowledge from our history, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate such a phenomenon with its many possibilities, hopefully we can continue to expand on the basis of transport, to leave something worthwhile for those in the future.
    -Miko

    It was a pleasure to read your thoughts, Miko. – Ms Green

  13. One of the legacies that I appreciate is reddit, because it is an amazing website with lots of information about current events and some hilarious jokes about random things. It always makes me laugh when a Keanu Reeves joke comes up as well as all of the news that you can look at on the go. A legacy that I would like to leave behind would be to drum in a band that becomes kind of successful as I enjoy drumming a fair bit and it would be good to turn it into a possibly successful career with some people I know.

    Alistair, thank you for your original and thoughtful contributions. I must look into Reddit. I hope that your interest in drumming bears fruit in the form of a career or simple pleasure in creating music. – Ms Green

  14. Legacies that I appreciate:
    Paper and books – these were (and still are) really essential for the development of the human race, as so much more information can be shared when written down – and with a wider range of people. I think it’s amazing how literature has developed, and opened up a whole range of jobs and industries everywhere. I like reading (I do it a lot) and really appreciate how authors make books so engaging and entertaining with stories. In addition to enjoyment, books have also made learning and information so widespread and accessible, so that millions of people have benefited and gained knowledge through them. Without such a useful invention, we would surely not have the society we do today.

    Legacy I would like to leave behind:
    Architecture – during my life, I would really like to become some kind of designer or architect, and design buildings or houses. Building layouts and designs can really make a big difference to how people work and function, so I would like to create places that are beautiful and function well.

    I agree with your comments about books and the benefits they bring, Grace. It is a sheer pleasure to be able to visit another world, just like that – or learn from another person whom you have never met! The idea of buildings that are beautiful as well as functional is one we certainly need. I wish you well with this very worthwhile endeavour. – Ms Green

  15. There are many legacies that I appreciate the creation of, but the one that I appreciate the most is probably the computer. Not only does it allow for new experiences through applications and games; it also allows for communication with people from all over the globe. Computer technology additionally helps with learning almost everything, including languages, arts and more. Without the invention of computers, it would be a lot harder to live life in general. A legacy that I would want to be remembered for is my generosity to others. I strive to give as much as I can to others.

    Very mature and impressive thoughts, Daniel. I agree with you on the topic of the revolution that computers have brought. I am also very impressed by your aim to be generous to others. – Ms Green

  16. There are many legacies in life that I am grateful for; one of the most important and influential legacies is the invention of the wheel. The wheel allowed for transportation across land to speed up drastically, increasing productivity and connecting countries thousands of miles apart. Wheels allowed huge, complex machines to be built and paved the way for other inventions. Since I am still very young, I am not sure what specific legacies I shall leave, but it would be likely to be in the fields of science or video games.

    Very thoughtful remarks, Alan. – Ms Green

  17. The legacy that I appreciate is the modern day technology that assists me in everyday life. It allows me to access entertainment easily each day and is crucial for my education. It makes my life more comfortable and convenient. It allows me to access key information and facts that assist me to learn new things every day I come to school. I appreciate technology every day and without it my life would be a whole lot worse. A legacy that I would like to leave is one of being nice to my friends and making them feel accepted and welcome.

    What a lovely legacy, Parth! I am impressed. – Ms Green

  18. A legacy that I appreciate is electricity as now almost everything in the modern world is powered by electricity and humanity would be nowhere if we hadn’t discovered electricity. Electricity not only powers the current world but the future world as well, as electricity is also powering the latest technology leading to new discoveries. For example, newer and better quality telescopes are computerised and powered by electricity, which makes breakthroughs easier and more frequent. A legacy that I would want to be remembered for is that I was a generous person, that I was kind and always thought of other people before me.

    Arvan, I really like your choice of legacy. Well done. – Ms Green

  19. Dear Mrs Green
    The legacy that I am thankful for is education, because this has made way for lots more things that we use like maths, science and English which are all very useful needs in life. Education has also helped us to understand the world more and overcome problems by applying innovative ideas; for example, when we needed quicker transportation to get places we invented cars, buses, trains, even bikes. The legacy I want to leave behind is a solution to plastic waste because the plastic is ruining our environment, our land, seas and skies.
    From Maneesha

    Very thoughtful comments, Maneesha, showing your understanding of the connection between many aspects of our lives! – Ms Green

  20. One of the legacies that I appreciate is the fact that we have a democratic system as it instils order in the world and thus, all the major countries. It keeps our economy going smoothly and is one of the factors that has contributed to the fast progressing research of better technology that in turn, helps our lifestyle become better in general. A few of the legacies that I want to leave behind are just the humble facts that I have got a good job, changed the league community for the better and had a good life.

    Thoughtful comments, Eric. I particularly like the humility you have shown in the legacies that you aim to leave behind. – Ms Green

  21. The legacies I appreciate are education, the internet, electricity and cars/transport, because these are things that are involved in my everyday life and without them I would struggle to do my everyday activities. A legacy that I want to leave is research to help save animals habitats and environments from problems like global warming and deforestation. I want to leave this because I would hate to know that I left with our environment still getting ruined.

    Very thoughtful comments, Ginnie. – Ms Green

  22. Two legacies I am grateful for are technology and the internet because without these innovations we wouldn’t be able to connect with family and friends and we wouldn’t be aware of what is going on around the world as quickly. I would like to leave behind a world full of peace and happiness and I hope that all eco-friendly products evolve and are used much more in the future. I want to leave these legacies behind because I want the world to be clean, peaceful and happy for everyone in the future.
    – Ruby

    Lovely thoughts, Ruby! – Ms Green

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