SHE has worked under no fewer than five head teachers and taught more than one generation of the same family.
But Margaret Laing has finally said a fond farewell to staff, parents and children at Parsons Green Primary after 36 years of service.
The 58-year-old widow from Haddington would have been happy to stay on even longer but decided to step down to make way for young talent coming into the profession
She was treated to an “overwhelming” surprise retirement dinner at the Royal Overseas League on Princes Street, which was attended by friends and colleagues.
And asked why she had decided to remain at the school for so long, she said: “The environment itself and the location of the school are absolutely beautiful, right at the bottom of Arthur’s Seat.
“This has an awful lot to do with the morale of the children. It it is fairly free from cars and noise. The staff and parents have been fantastic so I thought ‘why move?’ If I had been going after promotion it would have been different but I just thought, this place is a gem.
Mrs Laing had a spell teaching at Haddington Primary after Parsons Green was forced to lose a member of staff.
But fortunately she was able to return to her beloved school within weeks after a new position came up.
“The support you get at Parsons Green and the catchment area is wonderful,” she said. “The parents want the best for their children and if you get children coming into school healthy and happy, that’s half the battle. It makes our job a lot easier. I also can’t stress enough how hard all the staff work to make the school a success.”
Headteacher Susan Cochrane thanked Mrs Laing for her years of service, adding: “I don’t think it had sunk in just how much regard she is held in by everyone across the community, she really will be hugely missed by everyone in the school but we do wish her well. She was widowed a few years ago but demonstrated such incredible strength, determination, resilience and positivity that she is an inspiration to all.”
Mrs Laing, originally from Glasgow, did her teacher training at Craiglockhart College of Education from 1976 to 1980.
She had originally wanted to specialise in teaching PE to primary schoolchildren but opted to focus on general education when the course was dropped.
One of five children, her two sisters also went into the teaching profession,
Mrs Laing, who enjoys walking and gardening, now plans to visit relatives in London and will holiday in Cape Verde – and she hasn’t ruled out a return to Parsons Green as a supply teacher if needed.