Here We Go Again

“ Here We Go Again”
It is now heading quickly towards the end of August and virtually every teacher in the country will have that knot in their stomach and that strong sense of deja vous. The Leaving results have come and gone, the CAO first round offers are out and the end of the week will see the opening staff meeting marking the start of another school year. Where has the Summer gone? Why did we not get around to doing all the things we promised ourselves at the end of May? How quickly will I be able to get myself up to speed to face the challenges and opportunities that face us all in the hectic year ahead of us all? I can hear the old ABBA hit ringing in my ear as the clock ticks down to school year 2018/19.
With this as ever comes new changes and demands. For the first time students coming into 1st year may never have the opportunity to study history. I for one have misgivings about this while acknowledging the need for carefully managed change and innovation. Only English, Irish and Maths will now be compulsory for Junior Certificate. Are all of these changes going to follow through to Senior Cycle and what are the longer term effects of this going to be? The new GDPR protocols are now legally in place and I feel very few of us as teachers realise how big an impact this may have on us in the classroom and the staffroom. Meanwhile there are ongoing calls for revised school policies on smart phone use in schools and ongoing concerns in relation to wellbeing and mental health in schools. On top of all of this are major teacher shortages in certain subjects and the possibility of industrial dispute in relation to differential pay scales and then there are still those who think that teachers have a handy number!
We here at accessschoolsdirect.ie are trying to do a little to help shed a light on some of these issues. At the moment we are organising a seminar for mid October to deal with some of the issues already mentioned such as cyber bullying, smart phone use in schools, sexual consent education and the implications of GDPR legislation on schools. This will be aimed mainly at secondary school teachers and parents and will feature presentations from people with expertise in these areas such as Grainne Carr, Pat McKenna, Monica Rowe and Nicola Hayes. We will have more news very shortly about this and the key aim will be on providing useful and practical advice and guidelines for teachers, schools and parents.
In the meantime all the best in the year ahead and never lose sight of just how important your job is and how big an influence you can have on those young people sitting in front of you as we all start on another school year.

Finian O'Connor

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