DearParents/Guardians/Families and Colleagues, Dia dhaoibh! Вітаємо !
September reached its end, and what a busy month it turned out to be! We are now in mid-October already. Our educators and pupils are beavering away each day after a lovely, long summer break. Autumn transforms the countryside again into colours of orange, brown and red. Education also has the power to transform lives.
“I could never think of education without love” is a beautiful reflection from the great Brazilian educator and philosopher, Paulo Freire, in his celebrated publication, Pedagogy of Hope: Reliving Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Likewise, the great Ukrainian writer on educational matters, Vasily Sukhomlinsky, in his wonderful text, The School of Joy, when asked what was the most important thing in his life, would always reply: “ my love for children and always to foster in the child the desire to learn. The kind of people that boys and girls see us to be, is a factor of decisive importance. Nothing amazes or absorbs young people so much, nothing awakens the desire to learn so forcefully as a clever, intellectually enthusiastic, kind and generous person.” What an exhortation for truly inspiring teachers who understand the importance of the affective, relational dimension in education and the need to establish a deeply caring relationship of true genuineness and concern with pupils? The greatest examples of these ideals in education are evident here in our school, in particular with our programme of Extra-curricular Activities. The late poet, Brendan Kennelly, in his many ruminations on education, talked many times of the best teacher that he ever knew, a Jane Agnes McKenna, whom he describes thus:
“I thought she was a great teacher because she was compassionate, she was sympathetic and she was a listener. She worked very hard at her job. She imparted a great love of candour to me. She was enthusiastic and never dull. You cannot be a dull talker and be a good teacher. It has to do with a certain kind of excitement and enthusiasm is very important.
She would listen to the pupil and coax out the egos of the pupils, she would bring them out into the light of day. I think that’s truly the core of it. The most important thing is to allow the pupil to emerge.”
These salient features of this portrait are the dedication, integrity, compassion and love of learning of the teacher. The personal development of the pupil is of central concern and it is as important as the learning in building hope, resilience and confidence. The transmission of encouragement, self-autonomy, of positivity, self-belief, are so necessary for life’s journey, learning to cope with success as well as failure and defeat. Hope is the one central ingredient that is an absolute, that needs to be engendered in everything we do, whether in the classroom or on the sports’ field or in our interpersonal dialogues.
Ann Marie BourkeImportant Reminders: