Reads of the Week #14


Six things I read this week that you should have a look at. 

First Sapuran Gill says ‘there’s no silver bullet to succeeding in the classroom; however, you can do the basics well, and year-by-year you’ll see the small steps that you take gather pace’ here.

Next teacher David Mooney on the Marriage Referendum: ‘I’m 30 and for as long as I can remember there have been people telling me that I cannot be fully me; people who have put limitations on me being me. So once more; I’m asking you to please just let me be. Let me love. Let me commit. Let me feel supported. Let me be equal. Let me be a husband. Let me be a Dad.’ here.

Andy Warner argues for traditional teaching methods: ‘over the last few years there has been far too much emphasis on having busy, noisy classrooms where students are doing lots. This has its place, but it mustn’t be at the expense of quiet reflection time’ here.

Mary Ann Reilly writes here on love loss and remembering, this will touch a chord with anyone who ever grieved. 

By coincidence, I recommend you read Mark Wisniewski on channeling grief into art here.

And finally for a mixture of fun and the truth about love’s uncertainty here’s Laura Olin. 

Find all my Reads of the week on Twitter here

And the archive on previous posts is here 

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It’s been a busy few months. I’m getting two weeks off from Wednesday, which is welcome I suppose. Where this all began is with an appointment at the CRYP centre in Tallaght hospital to get my three girls, and me, checked for any irregularities in our hearts. We were monitored, scanned, I ran farther on a treadmill than,  it is safe to say, I have run in quite sometime and were sent home with Holter monitors to wear over night.

Actually, it didn’t begin with that at all. It began in the summer of 2006 when, while on holiday in Killarney with my wife and then only one daughter we got a phone call nobody would wish on his worst enemy: my brother had been found dead in his apartment in Dublin. Conor had been treated for a heart problem for years before and now at 32 he was gone, it’s defined our family since.

So when the doctor called to say my Holter monitor showed a pause of five and a half seconds around five am (in other words my heart stopped) I was pretty calm. The kids were all fine and I knew Conor had had pauses of up to eight seconds so I didn’t panic. Then I asked the doctor what we should do about it and she said she’d like me to get a pacemaker.

A pacemaker is a small, battery-operated device into your chest, to help your heart beat regularly, you know that. The surgery is minor, I only get a local anesthetic and I’ll be awake while it’s done. It’s preventative, it’s to make sure I motor on, but it’s my heart and that’s crucial to understanding the nerves that go with this operation.

When I was a kid I was a pretty good athlete, a sprinter and middle distance runner for most of my teens, I think it’s safe to say that girls and school got in the way and I drifted away from it. I still feel my heart beating as I won my first All-Ireland medal, it was fine and regular when I came off the bend in a 200 metre sprint, but when I saw the line and no-one ahead of me, there was a quickening, when I saw my brothers and parents that’s when it almost burst out of my chest. Or when I saw my wife in Holycross Abbey on our wedding day, or when each of my three children was born, that’s when I remember my heartbeat. So the way I think of having a pacemaker fitted isn’t as the end of something, just a little bionic kick to make sure I can have more of those moments, though I’m not planning on running 200 metres, or getting married again (or having any more kids!).

At CRY they have a big family tree for us, on a huge spreadsheet. I imagine there’s a code for checked and clear, one for checked and operated on, one for the next world. A death in the family isn’t easy, a young death is a shadow hanging over you for ever. That’s what CRY is for, making sure the shadow doesn’t spread. My Dad has raised huge money for them over the years, they exist on donations which is criminal when there is such a need for the service they provide. 

So. That’s it. I’m not allowed to drive, but I can, write and tweet. If you’re thinking of helping a charity is a good choice.

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Reads of the Week #13


A little late this week, here are the best five things I read last week

First, Laura June on Dr Seuss, repetition and parenting

Then there’s Diarmaid Ferriter on the elephant in room as we prepare to mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising

Next there Tom Healy on the need to place education at the centre of any economic recovery

Here’s Hannah Arendt’s guide to thinking: Education was, for Arendt, an expression of that care – “the point at which”, as she wrote in her 1954 essay on “The Crisis in Education”, “we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it”.

And finally here’s Heidi Stevens on how the internet hates her hair

Find all my Reads of the week on Twitter here

And the archive on previous posts is here 

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Happy reading!

Reads of the Week #12

This week the best things I read were:

 Lindy West’s account of tracking down the cruellest of cyberbullies here 

Claudia Emerson’s poem Lock on Emily Dickinson, an interesting meditation on our desire to attach meaning to people, poems and things here

 James Theo on education as a two legged chair, an analogy for teachers constant search for stability and support here

Mike Dash on how a family of six were discovered in Siberia, cut off from the world for forty years here 

and finally

Anne Enright on Newfoundland, which isn’t Canada, but may be a little bit of Ireland here

Find all my Reads of the week on Twitter here

And the archive on previous posts is here 

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Reads of the Week #11


Another varied selection of great writing and reading this week this week.

First here’s Elisa Gabbert writing on more than grammar when talking about The joys of using the “wrong comma”.

Next a regular in these blogposts Kenny Pieper reflecting on his youth in My Own Personal Jesus.

This next one is very special: Grainne Faller on having preventative surgery: When I wake up, I’ll have breasts. They’ll just take a while to become mine.

Poetry choice of the week is a choice of fantastic quotes That Will Make You Fall In Love With Poetry.

And finally both a local and a history choice, about Carey’s Castle, one of our  family’s favourite Sunday walks

For all the previous tweeted links click #mrotw

For all the previous blogposts, try the archive 

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Reads of the Week #10


This week’s eclectic selection begins with a great article on the Dutch Billy, one of Dublin’s lost buildings. The next piece is on how Clive James has been doing since he was prematurely written off. I loved this, The Blanket by Anthony Wilson, a regular in these blogposts. Next is the story of Lindsey Stone, a misstep on social media ruined her life. Finally back to poetry and Two Poems by Greg Delanty which should strike a chord with teachers. 

Check out #mrotw for all the previously tweeted reads

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Reads of the Week #9


This week is a mix of Irish History, English literature, education, economics and a serial killer.

First, here’s an extract from Diarmaid Ferriter’s new book on Ireland’s ‘Revolutionary Period’.

Next, something fun: How To Tell If You Are In A Virginia Woolf Novel 

Here’s Alex Quigley on dealing with fads in education 

According to the ETUCE, the Economic crisis has left its continuing noticeable marks on social dialogue 

And finally: One Detective’s Quest to Identify A Serial Killer’s Lost Victims 

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