Congratulations to Sam Best (Smithycroft Secondary School) who have been nominated in Scots Teacher o the Year sponsored by Scottish Qualifications Authority in the Scots Language Awards 2020. Vote now!
We asked Sam Best (Smithycroft Secondary School) the following questions.
Tell us aboot yersel or yer ootfit.
I’m an English teacher in the east end ae Glasgow, originally fae Linlithgow in West Lothian. I studied English, Journalism, and Creative Writing at Strathclyde, where I also then did my teacher training. When I’m no teaching English and Scots I’m writing short stories and novels, and I had a bilingual novel called ‘Shop Front’ published in 2014.
Whit wis it got ye involvit wi the Scots leid?
I didnae grow up speaking Scots but I certainly heard it and read it. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I realised I had a wealth of knowledge about this incredible second language, and being involved in the creative writing scene showed me a world ae passion and vibrancy, much of it in Scots. The two things combined and as soon as I got the chance tae teach it I did.
Ony particlar career heighlichts?
I’ve been honoured to work wi fantastic colleagues in my school – Jill Haywood, who was nominated for an award last year, for example – and together we’ve enjoyed seeing young people find and develop their strengths in the Scots leid. That’s a real everyday highlight but one that always gies me a wee boost. That moment when a pupil realises they they ken the word ‘ken’ – there’s a magic in that.
I’ve also been able tae work wi folk like Chris McQueer, Matthew Fitt, and the great teams at the University of Glasgow and Education Scotland to write and develop teaching resources and create new opportunities for learning. Seeing this huge range of experiences and passions and working with them to create experiences which reflect how fun and engaging Scots is has been braw.
Wha’s yer plans fir the days aheid?
Mair reading and writing! I think there’s such a wealth of talent out there in our young learners and I’m excited tae keep working wi my colleagues to help nurture that. Matthew Fiit, Doug King, and I had bonnie plans tae shoot a Scots music video this year, so hopefully the world can sort itself oot and we can get back tae that soon enough!
The Scots Language Awards 2020 will be online at www.scotslanguageawards.com. We will have a mixture of events on the 23rd / 24th October. Performing at the Award on Saturday 24th September will be Gerda Stevenson, Gary Robertson, Shona Donaldson and Jim Malcolm.
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