The Australian Teachers Alliance Inc
(Formerly The Australian Teachers Association)
Pre 1990 the teachers from the various states did not have many opportunities to meet and discuss matters pertaining to teaching. Although Winter Schools were held annually by different Branches there was little content specifically for teachers.
During the 80s informal discussions were taking place about a possible Teachers Association and after many opinions being given at the Armidale Winter School it was decided to go ahead and an interim committee was formed. By 1991 we were up and running.
Distance was one of the biggest hurdles to overcome as at that time airfares were ridiculously high (no Jetstar or Virgin) and so the committee recommended that our Annual Meeting take place at each Winter School which was attended by a fairly large number of teachers and during the intervening months contact would be maintained by a newsletter. This was given the name ATACHAT.
Over the years our Association, now the Australian Teachers Alliance, has managed to conduct a wide variety of courses including Tutor Training in 1991 and in 1999. It has had several residential courses for teacher training aimed at giving an opportunity to candidates who because of distance or work commitments could not attend a regular Branch course or whose Branch found it unable to conduct such a course.
Our most recent venture in 2009 was to assist candidates who were about to embarkon Unit 4 but who were not at all sure where to start and for teachers who could possibly be asked to be mentors. This proved a successful event with dancers from five States attending.
Next year we plan to conduct a further Tutor Training course over the Easter/Anzac Weekend. We feel that this would be beneficial for Branches wishing to conduct Examination classes in 2012 (we only have examinations once every three years) as many of the existing tutors and senior teachers are no longer as active as before but could still act in an advisory capacity to a newer tutor. For some reason capable teachers have been reluctant to enrol in this. (Perhaps this could be a matter for discussion later.)
We would dearly like to see more junior classes in Australia but again teachers are reluctant to ‘give it a go’. Other than exchanging ideas from existing junior classes via ATACHAT or Treble J (A Journal for Junior Jiggers) things are not moving as we would like. We must aim at making 2011 the year of the Junior Dancer!