For teachers. For a change.

A year ago, I asked ASTI members to support me in seeking election to the office of Vice-President. I promised then to reinvigorate the ASTI with ideas, action and solidarity between teachers. I wanted to draw strength from our members and drive the ASTI forward. Since the last election, things have become more fraught for the ASTI: the strong action we took on Junior Cycle reform has faded away, we have voted to reject proposals on pay, the union appears divided and unable to act. These headline concerns have prevented us from dealing with the issues of teacher welfare, of multiple pay scales and of improving the structures and reach of our union. Action is required to tackle these crucial problems and move on to a more secure teaching profession.

In recent ballots on critical issues, up to two thirds of our members did not vote. We should regard this as a warning. There is no doubt that the ASTI still holds the attention of its members, days on the picket line and visiting schools proved that when asked to act members respond. I know the members are looking for honest answers, not easy answers; clear leadership, not false promises and political naivety. But the gap between members and our leaders seems to have grown. How many teachers in schools know the way the ASTI is structured? How many are in touch with the leadership? The ASTI needs visible and dynamic figures to represent the union in public.The confidence that we have always had as a profession shouldn’t be something we celebrate just at Convention every year, but something that guides us in our development as a union every day. Confidence in the ASTI supports everything else: it allows us to progress, to support each other, to give aid to the weakest among us. If teachers are losing that faith as evidence by poor turnouts in ballots, we have to act to change. We know the strength of our numbers. We had the support of the public when we remained strong on Junior Cycle reform. But we should act to regain our unity of purpose. We are the heirs of teachers who survived warnings, threats, and vitriol every bit as difficult as those that challenge us now. Those ASTI members, strong men and women, shaped our union, our education system. It is time we became a generation worthy of taking their union on to the next step, and in that process rebuild the unity and confidence of the ASTI. To restore the faith and confidence of members in the ASTI, I ask members to support me again for Vice President.

If we have faith in our union’s relationship with its members, faith in our unions structures, and faith in the future of the ASTI, nothing needs to change. If we believe work has to be done to be restore that relationship between teachers and the ASTI, that work has to be done to improve our union, or to restore our vision of Irish education, our course is in our hands. Restoring the faith and confidence the ASTI should enjoy is the most important task we face. It is the challenge of this generation of ASTI members. To answer that challenge though action I want To lead the ASTI.

We are at a crossroads. One road ensures self-interest and fragmentation. It promises internal and external conflict, chaos, immobility. Failure. All the work of our predecessors, all the lessons we have learned point us towards the path of common purpose and the restoration of what the ASTI stands for: teachers. I do not promise you that reinvigorating the ASTI will be achieved without great effort, but in doing this work I will tell you the truth, sometimes that will be easy to hear, sometimes it won’t. I do not promise a quick way out of our problems on Junior Cycle or Lansdowne Road, when the truth is that the only way out is an all-out effort. What I do promise you is that I will lead our fight, and I will represent the ASTI with fairness and honesty in whatever direction our struggle brings us. Above all, I will act. I will travel to as many schools as possible, to listen to teachers in their staffrooms. They will help us to develop a new agenda for the ASTI, I will listen to them and I will act. We will act together. I make these promises to you and I intend to keep them. 
Our greatest resources are ASTI teachers, ASTI values, and a restored ASTI confidence. 

I will do my best, but I will not do it alone. Let your voice be heard. Let us commit ourselves together to a renewed ASTI. Acting together, we cannot fail. 
For teachers.

For a change.

About me 

Facebook: Elect Fintan

Twitter: @levdavidovic

Reads of the Week #41

Reads this week from Dublin, Baltimore, boxing, the web and the workplace battleground…
From Alan Kinsella here’s an inside view of Croke Park.

In this interview Peter Fleming discusses neoliberalism’s war on workers.
Kate Crane wants to know: what happened to her father Eddy?

Roddy Doyle on Paris under attack.
Lydia Monin writes on Dan Donnelly, Irish boxer, scourge of English fighters.

And finally, Tech is raising our kids, so what? asks Alex Balk

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Reads of the Week #39

Some heavy hitters here in a good week of reading, mainly because it was midterm and there was time for reading. Time for reading is golden.

James Snell asks though the literary and the historical can co-exist, should they? Should the writers of history make conscious decisions about their work on the basis of little more than style? I would humbly suggest that the answer to both of those questions is yes – and that the writing of history would be greatly improved – both in quality and reach – if more people thought so too. 

Writing history with skill and verve is not a distasteful exercise.

Terry Eagleton writes: As professors are transformed into managers, so students are converted into consumers. Universities fall over one another in an undignified scramble to secure their fees. Once such customers are safely within the gates, there is pressure on their professors not to fail them, and thus risk losing their fees. The general idea is that if the student fails, it is the professor’s fault, rather like a hospital in which every death is laid at the door of the medical staff.

Universities are service stations for neocapitalism.

Reviewing When the Facts Change: Essays by Tony Judt, Nicholas Lezard writes There are one or two big things, however, that the historian Tony Judt changed his mind about, and in this superb collection of essays, which consists mainly of substantial reviews from the New York and London Reviews of Books, we can track at least one of them.

A penetrating eye for realpolitik.

Kate Harding says being kidnapped by a pedophile: it’s basically like summer camp that never ends, if you ask Bill O’Reilly.

Everything Fox News gets horribly wrong about rape culture.


Malcolm Gladwell writes The problem is not that there is an endless supply of deeply disturbed young men who are willing to contemplate horrific acts. It’s worse. It’s that young men no longer need to be deeply disturbed to contemplate horrific acts.

How School Shootings Spread.

To text or not to text… that was never the question. But what if Hamlet or Jane Eyre had got their hands on a mobile phone? Mallory Ortberg introduces her series of literary masterpieces reimagined for the 21st century, Mallory Ortberg in the Guardian.

Literary classics in text messages.

Read of the Week #38

This week: 

The archive of all previous posts is here

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Reads of the Week #33

First this week the story of the man who takes care of Kermit since Jim Henson died, interesting, informative and touching. 

Next, here’s Laura June on her small daughter and technology, they copy everything we do.

Here’s Jay Rayner’s review of restaurant Smith & Wollensky, he doesn’t like it much. 

On politics this is fascinating: Nordic Social Democratic politics and Olof Palme.

And finally the unsettling tale of the sex and lies one woman endured to survive the Holocaust.

Here are the tweets of every read so far, 160 and counting. 

This is the archive of all the reads so far. 

Reads of the Week #32

This week: 

why your book is not your baby;

why you should never trust a movie poster;

why times of austerity breed the growth of education fallacies;

what luck means in education;

why Taylor Swift was here before;

why teachers should be allowed to teach;

and what happens when you walk with human beings seeking refuge (video). 
Here are the tweets of the 160 articles so far.

Here’s the archive of all the blogposts

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Reads of the Week #30

In this belated post I’ve got things to read on enabling children to think by Greg Ashman, 10 things NQTs need their colleagues to know from George Couros, Sorcha Pollak on the knock on effect of being undocumented and in an irish school and a great piece on John Cheever’€™s “The Swimmer”

Here are all the tweets of over 150 articles

This is the archive of all the blogposts so far

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