Time for looking on the bright side

3rd March 2006 at 00:00
I was disappointed to read Sandra Percy's article in last week's TESS, entitled "What's gone wrong?"

I was hoping for an insightful critique of Scottish school education, but instead got a piece of staffroom girning of the most depressing variety.

I respect Ms Percy's right to let off steam, but her reminiscences of her own apparently halcyon schooldays when "pupils would not dare to stand up for (their) own rights", but nevertheless "'turned out all right", smacked of the worst sort of educational nostalgia - a nostalgia that was no doubt being voiced by some teachers of "30 years' experience" when she was at school.

She laments the passing of staffrooms where "practical jokes were played", and classrooms where teachers could amuse pupils with "the odd joke at which we would all laugh". However, as far as I am aware, there continues to be no prohibition on either of these activities in Scottish schools.

I dread to think of the impact that such a downbeat article would have on a young person considering teaching as a career. Certainly, there are issues in Scottish schools with pupil behaviour and an assessment-driven curriculum. But couldn't we please be at least a little more positive about our job and the young people we teach?

John Devine

Depute headteacher Blairgowrie High

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