From the week just gone, two topics have dominated my reading: politics in Britain, the Windrush scandal which intersects with Brexit so clearly for me, and the Referendum on May 25th on the removal/retention of the 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution. Two reads each on those two dominate my choices there, I’m making no excuses for nailing my colours to the mast (both Brexit and the 8th Amendment were/are poor outcomes of public discourse). I’ve broken this post up with some humour and History, when political dust settles we should always have time to laugh and understand our History.
Time for some light relief. I’ve just discovered Tony Naylor‘s monthly column on How to eat and the most recent about lasagne made me laugh out loud, several times while sitting on the couch alone. Good sign.
Two podcasts stand out over the last few weeks. If you haven’t subscribed to Second Captains yet, you should, this podcast was made free after it struck such a huge chord. It’s an amazing coversation with Sinead O’Carroll and Richie Sadlier about consent, sexual health and education in the wake of the recent high profile Belfast trial on two rugby players. Also, it’s the tip of the iceberg, there is so much more than sport in this podcast, not a week goes by that I don’t learn something about something I hadn’t even thought about before.
The second podcast is an interview that shines a light on a too often ignored part of the Peace Process, that is the role of Northern Irish women. This interview by Lyse Doucet with Monica McWilliams is heartening, enlightening and frustrating in equal measure. Monica is amazing by the way. Another important listen.
It has been a long week, mainly because I entered my late 40s and haven’t been able to shake the cold I had last week. Added to that, I haven’t read as much I usually do. But, as in previous posts from weeks when I fell behind, the things I did get to read and share are pretty special.
Christmas has come and gone, the reading goes on. This is a selection of the best things I read over the break, so it’s slightly longer than usual. Switching off the phone over Christmas for three days might not sound like a revolutionary act, but for me that’s extraordinary! So there’s plenty of interesting stuff still in the bank to share in the weeks to come.
First here’s a story about a basketball coach who can’t quit from Adam Zagoria. It struck a chord with me: teachers who have to suddenly stop on retirement must find themselves in a strange limbo sometimes.
This next piece is raw, honest and tragic. Mimi O’Donnell writes on the loss of her partner Philip Seymour Hoffman.
For a bit of fun head over to Instagram to see Accidentally Wes Anderson which does the job of location spotter quite well for the next Anderson movie.
I loved this piece by Theo Dorgan about the place he came from. Home is so important, and so is remembering where we came from
Most of the education reading I did over Christmas I chose to challenge me. This post by Katie Martin did just that on collaboration and teachers supporting each other.
If we want to improve skills and knowledge and the application of them in our classrooms, we must move beyond telling people what to do and get into classrooms to help them problem solve, reflect, tweak, and learn together and collectively figure out how to move forward.
Improving our practice is always worth it.
This is just a beautiful essay on the triggers that set us off remembering someone who’s gone from Roy Hoffman. A Sister’s Nurturing, in Countless Home Haircuts
Two podcasts now, the first is on Suffragism from In our Time. Very apt for the year that we are entering because (some, not all) British, and, by association Irish women were given the franchise in 1918. Consistently brilliant programmes from the BBC here, by the way.
The cover image this week is one of my favourite pictures: Hunters in the Snow (Winter) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder which we were lucky enough to see about fourteen years ago in Vienna. I used it in school all the time. Some great conversations began there. I got it from the very cool Google Arts and Culture.
It’s time to shout from the rooftops… that we have things to to say; that we will no longer be silent and humble and shy about the great things we do in our classrooms. Lift your head up; look people in the eyes: you are a teacher.
The full post is here.
Everybody moves on, though. From good days, from bad days. They go about their lives and leave you to yours. Niall Donohue ended his on Wednesday, October 23rd 2013 and left behind a family, a community, a hurling club and a county team, each of them bewildered in their own way at the loss.
The full article is here.
Miriam Lord: I had no hand, act or part in writing my column No extract, no spoilers, it’s hilarious and perfect.
Trump, Israel and the Art of the Giveaway by Tom Friedman, pulls no punches, but isn’t laughing at Trump like so many, this is deadly serious.
Trump is a chump. And he is a chump because he is ignorant and thinks the world started the day he was elected, and so he is easily gamed.
And finally this week, Cafe Pittoresque, 1917 by Georgy Bogdanovich Yakulov Armenian painter, stage and costume designer is image of the week. I found it here.
Malachy Clerkin is one of those writers who covers sport but pushes out of those pages to say things with far more import. This piece is about a fan who as a boy collected autographs and letters from GAA stars. Sounds simple, but it becomes a story of Ireland now and Ireland then, and how much our culture means to us.
This piece by Natasha Frost on Ann Gregory, the African-American golfer is an amazing piece of history, again teaching us that we wouldn’t be where we are in our world without trailblazers who pressed on against the tide.
I ran middle distance races when I was a teenager. If I’d managed my studies and athletics better I might have been closer to the people Ian O’Riordan writes about here. Ireland’s athletes once ruled American college races.
The weeks fly by and with them the reading becomes more specialised, more focussed. Whether it’s a president or a teacher, a dying man or a lottery winner, the time of year tells us things are silently taking shape beneath the surface, and we have to make do with what we can.
Have a great week everyone.