Reads of the Week #36

This week it’s self critical teachers, gathering the first hand truth of the Holocaust, the life and work of a Dublin centenarian Socialist, the history of Marxism today and finally a grim story of pre-teen sport. 

This is Dawn Cox asking why teachers compare themselves unfavourably with other professions?

Next Alex Lockie on the man who volunteered to enter Auschwitz and exposed the horrors of the Holocaust

From the always readable Come Here to Me Dublin: Max Levitas : 100-year-old Jewish Dubliner and Working Class hero

This is John Harris on the forgotten visionaries whose ideas could save the left

Petula Dvorak’s 10-year-old decided to give ice hockey a try. What followed was dreadful.

Here are all the tweeted links, around 200 of them. 

This is the archive of previous posts


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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Top 12 headlines in Irish education this summer

Here’s the news in Irish education:

Schools are for drilling

Points are for counting

The Leaving Cert is a fix

Maths was too easy, but now it’s too hard

Everyone’s an entrepreneur 

Change is a bad thing

Education is a means to an end

Teachers are disposable

Teachers are on the gravy train

Embarrassing the Minister is the only way to get to college

Schools are churches 

Schools aren’t churches
Those are the headlines, have a happy return to school…

Reads of the Week #21

Here are seven things I read this week that made me think, inspired me or taught me something I didn’t know 

Ellen Metcalf: Government-Sponsored Agencies Dispense Harmful Advice on Leaving Certificate

Eric Nebbia: Ways Teachers Avoid Saying “No.” 

Gary Kaye: Education is a marathon, not a sprint 

HeatherBellaF: The Hydra

The Quirky Teacher: Are teachers their own worst enemy?

Interesting Literature Blog: A short history of word ‘serendipity’ and its literary origins

From the Archives of the Irish Times May 30th, 1959: The first VW ever built outside Germany was assembled in Ballsbridge

Find all my Reads of the week on Twitter here

And the archive of previous posts is here

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Reads of the Week #20

First some history: here’s Charlotte Hobson review of Stalin by Oleg Khlevniuk: He understood the power of terror so well because he constantly feared for his own life. 

Next is equality in Ireland. Irish legislation allows for discrimination in schools, so Section 37.1 of the Employment Equality Act (2004) must be deleted immediately, from Voice for Teachers blog. 

Andy Tharby writes about the value and tribulations of assessment for teachers: Assessment – it’s all in our heads

This is DJ Gallo in the Guardian: Numb3rs for l3tter5: how Nike started sport’s most annoying trend

Aidan Regan says we got the crash wrong and we’re getting the recovery wrong too: Ireland’s ‘recovery’ wasn’t austerity but public sector policy

This is gold: Roddy Doyle on Bill O’Herlihy.

And finally a photoessay from Foreign Policy on The Forgotten Kingdom of Sikkim

Find all my Reads of the week on Twitter here

And the archive of previous posts is here

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Our Mockingbirds


Last week I went to see a To Kill a Mockingbird at the Bord Gais theatre. I’ve taught the novel maybe ten times now to ten enthralled groups of fourteen and fifteen year olds and I always choke when Atticus teaches Scout to respect everyone, no matter who they were, to climb into their skin and walk around in it. Since I became a father tears flow when Scout links Arthur ‘Boo’ Radley’s arm so it looks like he’s leading her across the street, Boo Radley, the unknown outsider, who lived amidst the community all along. ‘Thank you Arthur’, Atticus says to him, ‘thank you for my children.’

The production was great, the narrators voice was presented by the whole cast, reading the novel aloud like so many teachers have done. The performances were great. Everyone cried.

I was sitting next to my wife, she got me the tickets. That’s what you do when you’re married, you see something your other half would like and you get it for them. You call in the grandparents, drive to Dublin, have lunch together in The Marker and go to the theatre. You go to a play about respect. A play about understanding and treating everyone equally. Do you see where this is going?

Over the last few days and weeks I’ve cried many times, at the stories of public figures, private individuals and friends who shared their experiences of being gay in Ireland today. For any straight Irish citizen who might have had their heads in the clouds, thinking it was no big deal to be out in Ireland today, it’s plain now that it’s a big deal. That in our thoughts and in our words we treat some of our citizens differently. We were forgetting to walk in their shoes, these mockingbirds.

There have been days too where I’ve wondered why anyone would want to be married! But meeting and marrying my wife was the best that ever happened to me. I’m not religious or into ceremony (though I like to give a speech, they tell me), but the day we got married did change everything. The day after I felt this was something different, something right. Who am I, who is anyone to deny that feeling to any other citizen of this Republic? What has made me most sad over the last month is thinking how some of us have to ask the majority of us to be treated equally, and some people, even some teachers, who should be all about tolerance, are opposed to ‘bestowing the gift’ of this human right.

And though we repeat over and again that it isn’t about children, when you’re a teacher and a parent it’s always about children. I’ve seen students crumble under the weight of coming out as a gay teenager, and I know teachers who can’t come out in their staffrooms. (By the way, the fact is that, if the referendum is passed, an LGBT teacher will be able to marry but may still be discriminated against under employment law. The next fight will have to be to delete Section 37.) To give those we share our communities with the comfort of what we take for granted will be an honour. 

I’ve been asked ‘why do you go on about gay teachers, you’re not gay’, my answer is one of the things I’m most proud of saying: ‘no, I’m not gay, but I am a human being’. 

Education has, needlessly, been dragged into the debate, scaremongering that if it’s a yes and you don’t teach marriage equality you’ll be open to sanction. The very thought that teachers would blanch at teaching equality is ludicrous: aren’t we after the truth after all everyday? That’s why we chose to read books like Mockingbird, isn’t it? 

In the end, this is a republic. With all its flaws, and no matter how loaded the term, on Friday 22nd May we should act like Republicans and extend to our brothers and sisters the liberty and equality they deserve.

Reads of the Week #17

First this week is Miss Smith’s lament for experienced teachers, a dying breed!

Next I’m returning to Mary Ann Reilly’s blog for Those Kids Could Dream, always arresting and inspiring. 
Here’s FX Feeney on Orson Wells at 100, A Citizen of the World
Samuel Dyson argues that we have to unlearn before we learn in this fascinating piece

And finally Noel Whelan eloquently explains why marriage equality is so important here

Find all my Reads of the week on Twitter here

And the archive of previous posts is here

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