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The way we were

Gordon Liddell, lately English guru from Moray House (more accurately, ongoing guru lately of Moray House), was billed to speak to the English teachers' annual conference (page six) on "Not an Address to the House".

Unfortunately, as Liddell admitted, 40 years in the Scottish education system had not improved his handwriting. His talk should have been entitled "Not an Address to the Mouse". Burns enthusiasts will realise this has nothing to do with computers but, pace the poem, allows the commentator to look back and then ponder the future.

Liddell did just that recalling his early teaching days in Airdrie where there were strange goings on, not in this case peculiar to Airdrie. He spoke of "the modifieds", the bottom of the heap in the local junior secondary who followed a modified curriculum which was essentially designed "to keep them from destroying the building".

Then there was the disillusioned mother of a junior secondary boy who marched into school to complain about its offerings. So effectively did she present her case that they gave her a job as a teacher.

No reminiscing is complete without reference to "Lochgelly days", as teachers were trained in all the belting techniques necessary to outwit kids who were cruising for a bruising. Happy but, fortunately, changed days.

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