After 39 years of championing pupils in a remote region of Scotland, a former teacher celebrated winning a royal award the same day she retired.
After initially thinking the email was a fraud, Anne Paterson, 60, toasted her OBE for education services with a bottle of champagne.
In Argyll, Ms. Paterson spent her entire career. She began as a teacher in the classroom and ended up as Argyll and Bute Borough Council’s chief education officer.
She taught in Oban, Inveraray Primary, Ardrishaig Primary, Lochgilphead Primary, Minard Primary at Park Primary and was awarded the Scottish Headteacher of the Year in 2006 while she was at Inveraray School.
Her enthusiasm for education encouraged her two daughters to follow in her footsteps as well. At Wallace High in Stirling, Emma Paterson teaches, while at Inveraray Primary School, Kirsten Rennie is the head teacher.
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I’m an Argyll girl, I went to school, then I went to Jordanhill and I wanted to go back,” she says, “but then the inevitable thing happened, I got married to an Argyll farmer, and the rest is history.
Friday was a crazy day with a lot of texts, but now it’s sunk in, I suppose.
Actually, the email came to the email address of my husband John and he said to me,’ come and see this.’ I couldn’t believe it. We sat there for a while wondering whether it was a scam. I was very really humbled, speechless, and unusually for me.
It was my last day of work, too, now that I’m retired. It’s better to leave when you’re at your highest, I’ve always said.
The couple recently left their hill farm on Loch Fyne above the village of Minard and have settled in the village now.
Ms. Paterson said she agrees that there is a lot more strain on teachers than they were when they began.
She said, “I seem to remember that there was a feeling of being freer to push the curriculum that you felt the children needed,”
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I’ve always been adamant about that, that the program needs to be focused on the kids you have. We must make sure that this is not a structured program.
However, the former teacher will not be leaving education altogether; she plans to seek a part-time doctorate at the University of Strathclyde in rural education.
“There is very little research on rural education in Scotland,” she says.
There’s Canada, there’s America, there’s Australia, but there’s so little here, so I felt like I had to look at that.
Where you come from, rural or urban, and how you grow, I think it matters. There is a really strong community around the school in the country and that brings a real sense of belonging and who they are.
“Something that summed that up for me is the Native American proverb that says, ‘Give your children roots first and then wings to fly.’ That’s something that’s always been close to my heart.”
For her voluntary service to St. Magnus Cathedral and the Orkney community, Marlene Croy of Kirkwall received a BEM.