ONE of the county’s longest serving primary school teachers, Mr Martin Smith, retired from his post as principal teacher on Friday of last week.
The school organised a special gathering where colleagues past and present, and Martin’s friends and family, had the opportunity to pay tribute to him for the 38 years service he has given Maisondieu Primary School.
Martin said: “When I arrived in Brechin in the seventies, it was a different place.
“I had been offered a number of jobs in the Angus area but decided to choose Maisondieu.
“The gentleman who did the interviews, a Mr Smith from the education department, recommended Andover.
“It turned out he was a former head teacher there. My wife went to teach there and I came to Maisondieu.
“It’s a decision I have never once regretted.
“I have had tremendous support from my colleagues over the last 38 years and the decision to take early retirement hasn’t been an easy one.
“I think when retirement will really hit home for me is when my wife Lynda (who is also a teacher at Maisondieu) and my daughter Erin return to school after the Easter holidays.
“However, I have a great deal to look forward to and plan to spend a fair bit of time getting my golf handicap down.
“I will also have far more time to spend on my ‘other unpaid job’ as vice-chairman and treasurer of Brechin City.
“Just recently I had a call from Mike Holland, who audits the club’s books for us.
“He said I had to get some work done on them as we were due to send them off to the Inland Revenue, so that involved a late night burning the midnight oil.
“The good thing is, now that I have retired, I will be able to do that sort of job during the day.
“When I started my job was about learning children to read and to write and to see them develop so they could go on and face some of the challenges life throws at them.
“One of the reasons I have survived as long as I have in teaching is that I have a wonderful team of people at Maisondieu to work with.
“They help me with much of the paper work, which teachers spend far too long on these days and I hope one day the youngsters who are qualifying as teachers now will be allowed to get back to just teaching the kids.”
Martin was given presentations from the school’s PTA, chair Alison Reid, handing over a retirement gift on their behalf. He also received gifts from staff past and present.
One of the highlights of last week was the surprise concert the children staged.
“Every class performed a specially made up song or play and ex-pupils from S1 to S6 Brechin High School orchestra performed two of my favourite pieces of music,” explained Martin.
“It was a highly emotional afternoon for me and I have to admit I shed a few tears during the concert.”
Head teacher Connie Tough said: “Martin has fulfilled so many roles at Maisondieu everything from sports day to Dalguise and from football to Lacrosse.
“Above all, however, he is popular with the children because, first and foremost, he is an excellent teacher who cares about the children he has a responsibility for. We will all miss him so much and hope that his retirement is a long and happy one.”
Martin’s daughters Gill and Erin performed a duet for him at Thursday evening’s gathering, which was very well received.
Martin still has one more surprise to come, but we wouldn’t want to spoil it for him!