Jotter - Ever felt this in HE?

30th October 2009 at 00:00

We're pretty sure we've heard this before, but there's always a new generation of teachers who won't have, so we have no hesitation in repeating a story retold at a recent retirement for a home economics teacher who would rather remain nameless.

She recalled the 1970s advice given to undergraduates at Glasgow's Queen Margaret College - or Dough School, as older readers will remember its affectionate nickname. "Whenever we were about to initiate the distribution of handcraft materials to an all-male class," she remembered, "there was an instructional command we were taught never to use: `Right, boys! If you want felt, come to the front of the class please'."

Lost in translation

She was not the only innocent abroad in the good old halcyon days. Those with a solid grounding in Latin will be aware of the terror of "unseen translation" lessons, where there was no chance to prepare. The panic was particularly acute in at least one rural secondary in the 1960s where pupils were urged to "get out your unseens".


The Galloway Gazette has announced the demolition of Wigtown's former All Souls RC Primary, closed in 2002. Alas, education standards have clearly declined since then. "After many years of educational service, in 2006 the now defunked (sic) buildings were declared surplus to requirements," we were told.

Whiter shade of Paisley

Regular readers will be aware of recent columnists and letter-writers "coming out" as ex-pupils at Paisley Grammar. Latest recruit is John Mitchell, Hodder Gibson managing director in Scotland, who doubles as amanuensis for our regular columnist Morris Simpson.

Mitchell reveals a darker secret: that, as a one-time teacher at the school, he was the only staff member to be belted by the rector, the redoubtable R Corbett - Robert, not Ronnie.

He hastens to assure us that the punishment had taken place while he was a pupil - and had been a hideous miscarriage of justice. "I had been in the toilets at the time bigger boys were throwing water bombs from the window - but the janitor who caught them accused me of watching," he relates.

"I hear you were only watching?" the fearsome Corbett declared as he unfurled his Lochgelly leather. "But you were enjoying watching, weren't you?"

He who hesitates

Adam Ingram, the Children's Minister, does not normally address gatherings of the vocational faithful. So we were almost expecting Scotland's famous economist to walk in, after the minister, deputising for his boss, Fiona Hyslop, referred hesitantly to a course " being delivered by Adam Smith ." before adding ". Forth Valley and other colleges".

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