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Article by Annabella Perrie (1988)

On and Off Coll - A Teacher's View
 
At first I found it strange adjusting to island life and teaching in an island community. As I was already used to the harassment of mainland teaching, it was a new and pleasant experience to be teaching in an environment of peace and tranquillity. Initially, I found the island children very reserved. This was perhaps due to the myths surrounding'the mainland teacher' and the fact that these children had had the good fortune of a most professional teacher in Miss Kennedy. She was of great assistance to me, and although technically I was the only teacher in the school, I knew I had only a few yards to 'run' if I needed any advice, for which I'm extremely grateful.

It was not long before the children and I became at ease with each other. It was delightful to find a classroom with so many brothers and sisters, where the concept of age did not exist and the primary seven children were eager to involve the primary one children in all their social activities. Here on the mainland this simple sign of friendship and togetherness is not found. In teaching projects such as Nature the whole class could pack up and have a first-hand experience of God's wonderful creation. This approach is not possible in many areas of mainland teaching. How wonderful it would be for the children I teach at the moment to see such things as the sea in both winter and summer - things island children take for granted.

The basics of education are the same on Coll as on the mainland; however the island children are at an advantage due to the small numbers in class. This allows for more individual teaching, and many a day I long to have the opportunity for teaching smaller numbers and giving the individual child a few precious minutes of encouragement. Sadly, this isn't possible in a class of thirtythree children. I think that is the main comparison between mainland and island teaching.

I have been fortunate in teaching a variety of children in my career, but I cherish every memory I have of Coll and those memories are with me very often.
Coll Magazine - Article by Annabella Perrie

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