Learning

Thursday 21 August 2014

Detention for teachers? Great, bring me Bourbons, coloured markers and lego...

E Grade

Published 28/11/2012 | 05:00

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Croke Park means getting free training in excellent company usually all the way up to 5.30 or 6 in the evening, all the while saving me money on heating and lighting at home.

We don't get paid anything for staying back, but the new experiences on offer make it all worthwhile.

Some of the stuff that we do is so innovative. Best of all, most schools seem to have a couple of designated teachers who have recently been on an inservice or a series of related training days sometime over the last year.

It's everybody's dream junket as these training days usually take place at a deserted NAMA golf resort or an abandoned car show room off the Naas Road – basically somewhere near a motorway so Ireland's peripatetic Croke Park teachers can convene over a complimentary pump-jug of coffee and a packet of Lemon's bourbons each.

After they've attended three or four of these inservices, usually featuring an educational expert sent by the Department or a publisher, they report back to their principal back in their school.

Here, the principal tasks our new little team of in-house experts with the gig of photocopying the handouts and reading them out to the rest of the staff in a big classroom for a couple of hours after the kids have gone home.

First, the deputy principal has to do a sweep of the grounds to make sure we're not distracted by faces pressed up against the window and shouted nicknames and laughter.

Anyone doing supervised study on that day is not going to get out before 6pm and is informed that loo breaks will not be countenanced.

In my school, these extra hours have consisted of the treat of not only revising a large amount of the substance of our basic teaching from college, but new teaching techniques involving Lego, coloured markers, used Apache Pizza boxes and playing blind man's buff.

Stuff we would otherwise never have considered ever using in a rowdy classroom of pupils who resist any kind of learning. Basically lots of alternatives to teaching them.

Sadly our principal has never seen the need to provide us with bourbons or coffee and I have tended to drift off to sleep after 10 minutes.

Only the other day, someone nudged me and woke me up just in time to catch the end of a presentation on how to switch on a computer and 'go on the internet.'

Irish Independent

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