Kerry Fraser was always told in primary school that using her native Scots language was wrong and improper.
But now a teacher herself, she challenges that outdated view by encouraging pupils in her English classes at Perth High School to speak and write in Scots.
And she has won a prestigious award for her efforts to keep the language alive.
Kerry, originally from Aberdeen, grew up speaking Doric as part of her everyday life and hopes to inspire the younger generation to love the language by challenging the negative view often associated with it.
This sometimes includes pupils picking up just a “wee smattering” of the language but her efforts earned her the title of Teacher o’ the Year at the Scots Language Awards on September 25.
There was a long time where we thought of Scots as being something lesser.”
She said: “At primary school I still remember my P6 teacher telling me that the way I spoke was wrong and correcting me for writing that my dad grew tatties in his garden.
“It sticks with you. I think there was a long time where we thought of Scots as being something lesser. There seems to be much more of a revolution now.”
Her pupils from S1 to S6 take part in language challenges including writing creatively and reading the weather in Scots.
Senior pupils studying National 5 and Higher courses also complete a Scottish set text as part of their SQA examinations, including work by famous Scots writers Robert Burns, Ann Donovan and Ena Lamont Stewart.
Mrs Fraser is also working towards establishing the SQA Scots Language Award in the school’s English department.
— Perth High English (@EnglishPhs) September 25, 2021
Often pupils associate Scots with the way their grannies speak, Kerry said, but she helps them appreciate the value in speaking in their native tongue.
She said: “Some young people know lots of words and they’re really keen to talk about it because finally they’re hearing someone say what they’re saying isn’t wrong.”
She added: “I think it’s a really important part of our culture and we teach French and Spanish in our school so Scots should be there as well.
“Young people should be able to write in their own language if they choose to.”
Heather McMahon, principal teacher of English at Perth High School, said: “Kerry’s passion and enthusiasm for Scots language has really driven the development in the department.
“It’s wonderful to see how the students have reacted and the truly amazing thing is that you often see young people popping in to have a few words with Kerry in Scots.
“The award is very well deserved and it’s fantastic that Kerry’s far-sighted work is being recognised.”