Scots in the 1920s Classroom (?)

Frae FB: Jamie Smith fund this anecdote in a 1928 Montrose Review anent the Scots leid bein uised in the scuils as a language o instruction (in a Mr Whacker’s Jography cless). He writes:’ ‘it seems tae hae been liftit frae the beuk ‘Howetoon, the Records of a Scottish Village, by a Residenter’ (1892)’.

A 1899 Forfar Herald, that recoonts the same jography lesson, cries the stories in the beuk ‘authentic’: ‘[…] there is little if any exaggeration in these sketches. They are noted from the recollection of a participant in the experiences recorded, and are genuine specimens of local humour in a special aspect, and excellent illustrations of some peculiarities of district dialect.’

Here the anecdote in text form:


The following is intended to show the teaching methods in a Forfarshire school of a former day:—

“‘Ameriky’s a great big place,’ explained the teacher to the class, ‘but it disna a’ belang till itsel’—we have a big lump o’t ca’d Canady. Point oot Canady!’ Here the pointers clattered all over the sheet to north, south, east, and west, but as far from ‘Canady’ as possible. “Eh, that’s awfu’!—Jock Stewart’s hettest!’—instantly every stick claimed kinship with Jock’s—‘but ye’re a’ cauld ye. Up a bittie—tuts! that’s owre far; doon! doon yet—easht noo. Div ye no’ ken your richt hand frae yer left? The tap north, the boddam sooth, the richthand easht, the lefthand wast—pit doon yer pointers an’ say that a’ thegither.’ This being done, and it had to be gone over at each lesson, we would, perhaps, hit the mark a little near next time; in which case Mr Whacker, with racy running comments, would introduce us to fresh fields and pastures new, bringing us in a few years to such perfection that it was possible for some of us to point out the situation of our own country on a map of the world.”

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