So, today is Leaving Cert Results Day. Students will open envelopes after months of waiting and agonising, and the knowledge of those results will be here. It’s a day that has both students and parents on edge. At 9am, in schools around the country, the wait will be over. It’s something I remember vividly, that wait, the going into the school. I remember walking into the principals office, him handing me the envelope and telling me he hoped I was happy with them, and walking out into the hall to open them. A mixture of emotions filled the hall – some were ecstatic, others less so. One girl sobbed in disappointment, openly.
I don’t remember the exact results I got in my Leaving Cert. In fact, when I was asked a while ago by someone what subjects I did, it took more than a few minutes of thought to remember them all. It’s now 9 years ago. It has faded from mattering, pretty much within the first few weeks of going to college. For the amount of pressure I put on myself for it, the future me is looking back and wondering just what was it for.
This post is one I’ve been thinking about for a while. It’s not the first time I’ve spoken about my thoughts on the Irish education system. I’ve previously lamented the level of religious indoctrination in our primary and secondary schools. I’ve given my thoughts on consent education, and sex education as a whole in Irish schools. Today’s post is somewhat similar to those, but more with a retrospective look at the education I received in second level about mental health. Moreso, what mental health education I wish I had received, instead of the lacking amount that I did.
Consent. It’s the hot topic word of the moment, being flitted around the media, around the twitter sphere, with differing opinions from many people from many walks of life, stretching over different generations. The publication of Louise O Neill’s “Asking For It” has sparked a debate that isn’t going away any time soon. More recently, Hollyoaks has run a successful campaign peering into what exactly consent is, and what it isn’t. The concept should be simple; do both of these people want to have sexual intercourse, or any sexual contact with each other, and are they of a mental capacity to make such a decision? However, as we all know, nothing in life is simple, nothing is ever black and white and it is in the shades of grey where we find our current situation in Ireland.
We’re not in back-to-school mode at the Rainy Days house; thankfully E is quite settled in his creche having now properly made the move to the Waddling Ducks room – no longer the youngest – and being there throughout the summer. It does make such a difference that he is not only happy to go there each day, but that he genuinely seems to have a good relationship with the wonderful creche workers who keep him entertained, safe, fed, and nurtured throughout the day. He’s gotten to the stage where he is happy to run in the door, not looking back apart from to wave me off as if my presence would be ruining his fun in his Mammy free zone.
However, my entire Facebook feed is taken up by Back To School – it appears that everyone around me is a couple of steps ahead. Tearful goodbyes, last minute dashes for forgotten lunch boxes and grumps about itchy uniform socks lie ahead for much of the people whose lives I watch go by on my Facebook feed and in the blogs I’m a regular reader of. At the same time, a wealth of knowledge is emerging from some of my favourite parenting bloggers, many of them Irish, on a variety of topics around going back to school, or starting for the first time. I thought a roundup was in order, to have the best advice all in one place available to anyone who is looking at a tiny uniform or a little schoolbag and wondering “How exactly does all this work?”, so I’ve put together a little something today. Hopefully you will find them useful – and get to discover more amazing parenting bloggers in the meantime! Read More
We in Ireland are in a strange system of living at the moment. Our society, for the most part, is secular, and has been becoming more so this way in the last 20 years than ever before. Our media has been filled with tales of horrific abuses within church-led organisations, regressive attitudes towards things like reproductive rights and same sex marriage, and somewhat of a wall being put up against changing to fit in further with our new century views within the way it has always been. Ireland is known through the world as being a Catholic country, a religious state, despite the fact that our percentage of Roman Catholic citizens has been dropping (a drop of 3% to 84% of population in last census, 2011) and attendance at churches is hitting all time low levels. There is, for the most part, a great deal of separation between Church and State – the two major ties remaining being the health system (in particular reproductive rights issues) and our education system. Read More
It is that time of year again. Summer is winking at us around the corner and despite the apocalyptic weather at the weekend, I’m feeling confident in my choice to lay out the sun cream and the sunglasses for tomorrow. It’s Leaving (and Junior) Cert time. The Irish educational system has two set exams each year that each student in 3rd and 6th year must take.