Sandi Thom

22nd February 2013 at 00:00
Not many people stand out from the singer's schooldays apart from one teacher who was a real lady and all heart

Nobody in secondary school actually stands out to me as anybody who I particularly liked or remember fondly. My school used to be an all-boys school and I was one of the first girls. It was quite traditional, a public school, everybody was in uniform and we all had houses and played hockey and all that kind of stuff. It was a good school, though.

My primary school teacher in P6 and 7 was Miss Hart. She is the one that sticks in my head, mainly because she was a dedicated teacher. She clearly wanted to do that with her life. She wasn't someone who just landed a job, which I kind of got the impression was the case with some of my other teachers later on in life.

She was quite stern and hard and she had a steely look about her but you knew that, underneath it all, as her name suggested, she was a lovely woman and she really cared.

Miss Hart had a nice smile and a way about her. I remember her face clearly. She was a bit older when she was my teacher, probably in her sixties. When you are 10 or 11 years old, you are kind of scared of all your teachers and she definitely knew how to exercise authority over children. You wouldn't mess with her, put it that way. She wouldn't shout or anything like that - she just had a way about her. She could make you do your work and not be naughty but, at the same time, you knew if you had a problem you could go to her. She was great.

Now that I am grown up and have much more of an understanding of people and how they are, it's even clearer to me that Miss Hart was a lovely woman who was good at her job. She was a proud woman, she looked after herself, she was well presented and you had respect for her. She was a real lady, well spoken and, like in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, the creme de la creme. Miss Hart was more of a role model than any of my secondary school teachers were.

I was the quiet one in school - not just there, but also at university. Maybe being a songwriter you are more inclined to observe and be quiet, as opposed to talk a lot and not listen. I got into trouble, definitely, because who doesn't when they are that age? But nothing extreme - we are talking about a school here that doesn't let you wear black tights. I was rebellious against all of those laws and rules, as were every single one of my friends. Defying authority is part of growing up.

As far as being a student goes, I was pretty good. In those days, music wasn't as promoted as it is now, so I didn't do a lot of music in school. My time in school was mostly taken up with academic subjects.

I enjoyed science and maths, I was better at that than English and that kind of thing. We also studied Latin and other relic subjects. That was cool. My brother went to university and studied Greek and classical stuff, and I kind of followed in his footsteps and tried to be as good as he was. He was older and much cooler than me. I have caught up; I am much cooler than him now.

I always bumped into Miss Hart when I was in secondary school. I would bump into her in the school grounds or in the street and we always had a little chat. She was always concerned and happy to see we were doing well. It felt like all the children she reared through her class became her children. She was an inspiration and a great lady.

Sandi Thom's new album Flesh and Blood is out now. She will be touring the UK and beyond from the end of next month. She was talking to Julia Belgutay


Born: Banff, 1981

Education: Robert Gordon's College, Aberdeen; Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts

Career: Singer.

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