Good old days for grammars

18th September 2009 at 01:00

What makes people want to be teachers? In recalling his days at Paisley Grammar (September 4), Alex Wood reminded me why I wanted to teach. Alex left in 1969. I left in 1971, and would not dispute much of his take on pre-comprehensive days.

The school focused on exam passes and getting on, but also offered a range of extra-curricular activities. These were the good old days of grammar schools, even if I don't remember many friends' dads who worked on the shop floor.

People knew what the "Grammar" was about and that was why Margaret Thatcher, prompted by old boy and then Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil, stopped Strathclyde Region closing and merging the school in the late 1980s.

But those reasons also persuaded me, and probably Alex, to pursue teaching. Despite the school's undoubted success, there are, sadly, few memories of inspirational teachers who could change lives. It was only outside school I discovered wonderful teachers with the power to transform.

As a young graduate, I wanted to change the world by changing lives through education. I thought I could do better, especially for the less advantaged. Then, as now, there were few jobs for young teachers. The best I could manage was to write about it.

David Henderson, York Road, North Berwick.

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