27th August 2004 at 01:00
Those were the days. Belting the weans, ink rubbers leaving holes in the attendance register, teachers in suits, 20 per cent pay rises, jobs that were 10 a penny, pubs forced to shut at 10pm.

They all make an appearance in a book of "musings" by Willie Young, principal chemistry teacher at John Ogilvie High in Hamilton, where he has been working for the past 30 years.

Young recalls joining the staff in 1974 as an assistant principal teacher of guidance - those were certainly the days: remember assistant principal teachers?

As was the practice, he got the job after making a presentation to a group of councillors - 30 of Lanarkshire's best, in fact. Not that many of them seemed quite alert to the task in hand. "I was conscious of the fact that, with the notable exception of the chairman, nobody was paying a blind bit of attention to what I was saying," Young writes. "In fact, I swear that a man in the corner was reading a newspaper."

And so a career was born - although his new heidie had other reasons to celebrate. "He was keen to know what subject I taught. When I said chemistry, he was delighted as they were short of science teachers.

"When I indicated that I was also a qualified maths teacher, he was just about doing cartwheels. Apparently they were even more short of maths teachers."

At no time did the headteacher enquire whether he cared about children. "I could have been Jack the Ripper for all he cared, just so long as I could teach chemistry and maths."

As for the rest of the 30 years, you'll have to read the book - at pound;9.99 from Athena Press.

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