The first meeting of 2015 began with President Frances Gilroy welcoming members with good new year wishes and introducing Jennifer MacDonald formerly of Mackie Academy.
Jennifer’s presentation was entitled ‘We don’t need no education’ and was illustrated by relevant humorous cartoons.
Jennifer remarked that, like it or not, school has had a big impression on us all.
She decided at the age of five that she was going to be a teacher.
Her reminiscences of her own schooling, at James Gillespie High School for Girls in Edinburgh, brought to mind the wooden desks and learning to stand up at them without banging the seats. As a teacher later on, she remembered smoke-filled staff rooms, busy with groups for bridge, crosswords, knitting but with little time for chatting.
Teachers had developed acting skills, ‘the look’ and ‘the voice’ and to guard against falling for what pupils swore the previous teacher had allowed them to do.
The enthusiasm of a new teacher often gave way later on to cynicism.
In Jennifer’s opinion, technology had changed teaching considerably.
Janitors were all important, often being in the past the only ones with keys to the school.
Snow brought its own problems, buses had to have sufficient warning of early school closures and often the weather improved later on. One of Jennifer’s last comments was that, latterly, women were being appointed to senior management roles in education.
Her highly-amusing presentation was remarked upon by Mary Milne in her vote of thanks. Mary felt members had been treated to an excellent start to the new session.