Leadership - Defend the Scots language, says prize-winning head

Teacher delivers warning as she is honoured for her life's work

Emma Seith

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A scottish headteacher, who this week collected a lifetime achievement award for her dedication to the profession, used the occasion to warn against allowing the Scots language to die out.

Isabel Lind of Aileymill Primary in Greenock declared herself "sair hodden" - or overwhelmed - after receiving the UK-wide award at a ceremony in London.

"One of my great loves is the Scots language, and it worries me that it is not being used as much as it used to be," she said. "There has got to be a conscious effort. We all must understand which words are Scots, and use them where we can."

Next week, to coincide with Halloween, her own school will be promoting the local word for guising - "galoshans" - through its annual fancy dress parade, Gallus Galoshans. Ms Lind has yet to settle on a costume, but in the past she has been a pig in a poke, a baby and Cleopatra.

Ms Lind, however, was brought up to be "seen and not heard". It took an eccentric mother-in-law, Edis Lind, and the children she worked with to give her the courage to be different, she told TESS.

"I've learned more from the people of the East End of Greenock than I've ever taught them," she said. "They have that charm many Scots have, and that ability to talk to folk they do not know. I used to follow what the children did."

Ms Lind, who knew she wanted to be a teacher early on partly because of her "bossiness", was also inspired by her father, William Doull, and her first headteacher at King's Glen Primary, Bill Melrose, to always strive to be better.

"Hardly would something be finished, and they would be saying, `What's next?' Now I do that myself instinctively."

Ms Lind's next step, however, could be retirement, although she stressed she was not winding down to it but "building up". She is now 63, and has been working in education for 44 years.

"I'll finish this year, and I might manage another one. I think 45 years in teaching has more of a ring to it," she said.

When nominating Ms Lind for the lifetime achievement prize at the Pearson Teaching Awards, her depute, Catriona Miller, said: "Isabel Lind has touched the lives of hundreds, inspiring, illuminating, challenging and caring deeply; her passion for education burning as strongly as it did at the start of her career." A "praise Isabel Lind" page has been set up on Facebook, attracting almost 550 followers.

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Emma Seith

Emma Seith

Emma Seith is a reporter for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Emma_Seith

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