Our school years make up a formative part of our lives and who we become as adults. When I look back at my time at school there are a few events that stick out as more significant than others. For me, one of those instances was when Mary Turner Thomson joined my S2 History class to help us write a book about the Transatlantic Slave Trade [FOUR LINKS IN THE CHAIN].
The fun parts of this project are easy to remember, us choosing our favourite colour, splitting into groups and creating characters based on them. In a class of 13 year olds, imagining ourselves in the place of the characters we created made the tragedy of this history more tangible and the loss more significant. Though the subject of our particular book was heavy, approaching it in the supportive and team-building environment that Mary and our History teacher built for us made the experience a positive one. Being able to see the fruits of our hard work with our names on the cover was definitely a proud moment in our young lives.
On a more personal note, the experience of seeing a book’s formation from start to finish was the initial spark of inspiration that led me onto my current career path. At 23 years old now, it has been a decade since I first met Mary Turner Thomson and yet I am continuing the lessons she taught us by pursuing my own career in publishing after studying Scottish literature at university and continuing on to my current Masters degree. As an, obviously, big fan of books having Mary teach us about the publishing process all those years ago was like getting to peak behind a curtain that only adults were allowed past. I’m sure the majority of people would consider creating a book to be beyond the means of a group of 13 year olds but throughout the experience I cannot remember Mary ever doubting our abilities or demonstrating anything but utter faith in what we could achieve. The confidence this inspired is something I think every young person should get to experience and I definitely consider myself lucky that I was able to.
Education & Training