• I wasn't surprised to see Brendan Howlin playing to the gallery again by calling for 'under-performing' teachers to be sacked. We never get a definition of what he or other populists mean by the phrase 'under-performing'.
Teachers face many difficulties in their classes on a daily basis – situations that Mr Howlin's Government is aware of but ignores. School discipline, for instance, has received scant attention from his ministerial colleague, except for issuing bland disciplinary guidelines.
Guidelines cost little money and add to the pretence that complex social problems can be dealt with in school without proper financial supports or parental involvement.
The policy seems to be to keep students in school at all costs, even if they rarely turn up or do anything. I suppose all these situations are the teacher's fault and I should adopt Boxer's call (from 'Animal Farm') that I must work harder! Oh, I forgot – he went to the glue factory in the end, didn't he?! I suppose he was 'under-performing'.
Bray, Co Wicklow