Sunday 20 August 2017

Hey, Irish teachers, stop leaving those kids at home

Teachers will do anything for Irish children, except spend more time with them in the classroom, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

'Tell a teacher that most of them are a bit average at their jobs, and they generally react as if you've kicked a defenceless puppy.'
'Tell a teacher that most of them are a bit average at their jobs, and they generally react as if you've kicked a defenceless puppy.'

Eilis O'Hanlon

There are coal miners in China who complain less about their workplace conditions than Irish teachers. Trawlermen in the North Sea don't feel so hard done by. Listening to members of the teaching profession in Ireland, one could almost be forgiven for thinking the TV series World's Toughest Job was devoted entirely to their ordeal.

Meanwhile, they're currently halfway through the latest holiday. What is it this time? Two weeks? It's only six weeks since the mid-term break, and, for secondary school teachers, there are less than two months to go until the marathon summer holidays begin in earnest.

People from other countries are astonished when they discover the length of Irish school holidays. "The children are home for how long?" A few years ago, then UK education minister Michael Gove called on British schools to reduce the length of holidays amid fears that performance suffered as a result. That was particularly so in the case of socially disadvantaged pupils.

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