Halina remembers her early years teaching in various schools in Glasgow.
Read the transcript:
INT: And what did you study at university?
HM: I did an ordinary degree, which is not brilliant in Physics and science in general, but Physics in particular, and Maths.
INT: That sounds hard to me. And how were you able to fund it at the time?
HM: Funding? That was difficult because to begin with I thought I would never get any funding and my relatives were not all that keen to fund me. My mother would have done anything for me, my father was barely earning a living and someone tipped me off that Glasgow Corporation gave bursaries, no not bursaries…
HM: Grants to students and to begin with we didn’t quite believe it but when I applied, lo and behold I was successful so I was funded for the three years that I was there.
INT: That’s excellent. And after university did you begin work straight away?
HM: Oh yes, I became a teacher. I went to, teacher training college at Jordanhill and I got a job straight away.
INT: And so where did where did you teach? Can you remember?
HM: Yes, my first appointment was in Kelvinside Academy, no North Kelvinside Secondary School.
INT: I taught there for a week once.
HM: Did you? Well did you not find any traces of me there? For a few months anyway then I taught at St George’s Road.
INT: In Maryhill?
HM: Yes, almost Maryhill. Then, I was married so to begin with I didn’t teach anywhere, but I had to earn some money because things were tough, so I went to teach in King’s Park Secondary School and then I had another short job in Battlefield Junior Secondary School. After each of these jobs I had to have a rest because it was very hard but after each rest I realised if I didn’t go and make some money I would have no clothes to wear and the children will have no clothes to wear. My husband was a teacher as well and while he was brilliant and was hard working but teachers’ pay was very low. So, the next job I had was in Eastwood and I taught Russian there for five years. I was a qualified teacher but not qualified to teach Russian but I knew enough Russian to teach it.
Then they got a qualified teacher who was also qualified in French which I wasn’t, so I had to go and then I decided to take a proper permanent job which was in Woodfarm High School in East Renfrewshire.
HM: I stopped there thirty years ago nearly. No no twenty-five years ago.
INT: And you taught science there?
HM: I taught maths. The first tranche of my teaching I did teach science but I find science was a dirty job. You had to handle equipment and I’ve had more cuts on my hand than you can imagine and they were always full of carbon, sorry sulphur carbon eh…
INT: Sulphuric acid?
HM: No copper sulphate and copper sulphate is blue and gets under your nails and was difficult to get out. Vaseline was another dirty substance and my overalls were burnt through wherever the acid fell and of course bunsen burners so I said no more.
INT: You wouldn’t be allowed to do any of that nowadays, health and safety would stop you!
INT: And everybody would be wearing covers over their eyes.
HM: Not then.
INT: Absolutely not!
HM: Now they do but not then. There was a period when they could do anything if they could get hold of the equipment. In fact, they were delighted if something went wrong because ‘oh, we’ll get compensation’ but after that, I think health and safety came in and now there are supposed to be experiments where they must be goggled and gloved.