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30 years ago

"The amateur days are over," James Scotland, principal of Aberdeen College of Education, told students receiving their diplomas (TESS, July 4, 1975): A good teacher in Scotland, he said, must be very professional indeed. That meant three things. First, taking the job seriously. Second, knowing not only what had to be done, but why. Third, it meant balance.

"We all suffer rather a lot these days from the extremists. Whether they are on the left and never stop shouting, or on the right and never stop muttering, they have two dominant characteristics - a direct personal line to perfection, and a marked propensity to double vision . . .

"Everyone agrees how important the schools are, but not, it would seem, the teachers. You will understand that this isn't only, or even chiefly, a question of salary: the Houghton award was generous, but this year's applications to enter training are down on last year's.

"Until people really value their teachers again, and communicate that feeling to their children, there will be a continuing supply problem in Scotland.

"But that is why you will need balance. You will have to accept these facts and still go on serving people, even people who do not apparently deserve it, for that is the mark of the professional."

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