Katherine Donnelly: Less drama at teacher conferences - but behind the scenes a crisis looms
Teacher conferences were short on the usual histrionics this year. The absence of a minister removed an important actor from the stage and with it, the loss of a dynamic that gives rise to the displays of amateur dramatics that we have come to associate with these events.
Over the years, ministers attending the annual Easter conferences have been confronted with attention grabbing behaviours such as stony silences, boos and walkouts, designed to exert maximum discomfort on the incumbent and gain maximum exposure in the media.
Sometimes, the minister plays no small part in stirring things up, even if somewhat inadvertently. A few years ago, while addressing the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) congress, then minister, Ruairi Quinn suggested that poor maths performance in Ireland was linked to having a highly feminised primary teaching profession, who were not required to have honours maths in the Leaving Cert in order to get into their training course.