Wednesday 18 October 2017

We got your message loud and clear, Sir

In an oestrogen-heavy environment, a muscle man with a megaphone was bound to cause a stir.

INSISTENT: Andrew Phelan spoke out about the ‘dismantling’ of the traditional education system. Photo: Patrick Browne
INSISTENT: Andrew Phelan spoke out about the ‘dismantling’ of the traditional education system. Photo: Patrick Browne
Donal Lynch

Donal Lynch

You hear your name called in a familiar, booming voice and for a fleeting moment you stop dead in your tracks. You've been caught mitching, again. You scamper down the stairs trying to blend in with the wall, hastily composing a dodgy excuse ("Sir! I'm an adult with a job now, Sir!"), but it doesn't matter, because you've been seen. This is going on your permanent record.

But then you glance down at the programme in your hand – Asti Conference 2014 – and are reassured that despite the fact that you're still in a suffocating shirt and jacket, this isn't that recurrent Leaving Cert dream after all. A group of men that had the power to banish you to detention are giving a cheery greeting now.

They look as relieved to be away from the Battle of the Boyne and rote learning as you are. And as much as you would dearly love to use their slanderous nicknames, passed down from generation to generation, you must now call them by their first names.

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