Monthly Archives: September 2014

Miss Brave; I’m going to have to get used to being called that


I hated my school growing up! Getting up in the morning and putting on my uniform was a chore, and the first thing I did when I came home from school at the end of the day was to change out of it. Despite all of that I loved learning and I did well at school, particularly in English. Maybe it was just the school I attended; a public Catholic school in rural Ireland, previously run by the nuns – two of whom were still there when I went to school, relics of a bygone era. After my rather creative primary school where we wore what we wanted, and there was art and crafts galore, I suddenly had to wear a uniform which consisted of a hideous grey skirt, a bright blue sweater – I still can’t see that colour without cringing, – a blue shirt and knee length grey socks, and there were so many rules.

By year 12 I couldn’t wait to get out of there, vowing I would never set foot in a school again. Little did I think then that well over a decade later I would be studying to become a teacher!

When I was younger I went through a phase of wanting to be a vet, until I read James Herriot, brilliant books, absolutely hilarious but they put me off that notion, later it was an air hostess, until I realised it wasn’t as glamorous as it looked and you didn’t actually get to see much of the places you travelled to.  I’ve tried a bit of this and a bit of that over the years and now I’ve finally decided I had better put my head down and do something worthwhile and fulfilling, so teaching it looks like it will be, time will tell how I go teaching.


After a few years off studying, it’s great to be back learning again and using my brain. It’s challenging, something that’s always driven me and I’m thoroughly enjoying it as we’ll as writing assignments again. As a self confessed nerd, I’ve always enjoyed writing, whether for school, work or pleasure and it’s nice to be doing it again.

Now the theory is all well and good, however, the daunting part will come, next month, when I have to stand up in front of a class of teenagers and teach them. The closer it’s getting the more nervous I am becoming.

When I visited my first school for an observation a few weeks ago, I had to sign in at the reception and wait for the lady I was meeting to arrive. As I sat there, I began to panic; what the hell was I doing in a school, memories came flooding back and I wondered why I had decided to go into teaching. But then the lady arrived and took me to meet the other teachers and I sat in on a few lessons, and gradually I began to feel much more at ease. It wasn’t the same school I had gone to growing up, the students seemed nice, the other teachers were very friendly and to be honest with you, I think I can do it; be  a teacher that is.

Will I make much of a difference? At this stage I’m still very idealistic about teaching, only time will tell if these ideals will come about. But for now, going in with a positive attitude and the aim to succeed and enjoy it is a good enough start for me.

I know it won’t be easy. Once I’ve done the first week of my placement I’ll report back and let you all know how it went. In the meantime I’ll be busy reading and writing assignments and getting increasingly nervous about the actual teaching part of teaching!



Filed under Teaching

The Giver, a great movie and hopefully an equally good read!


Memories, we all have them but most of the time we take them for granted. Imagine living in a world where you have no memories, where everything is good, there is no bad, no jealousy and no hatred. In theory it sounds pretty good and if you didn’t know any better I guess it would be a perfect situation. This is the world Jonas and his friends grow up in The Giver, a 1993 children’s novel written by Lois Lowry and recently made into a movie.

I watched the movie the other night and I have to say I was hooked from the start. Very briefly and without going into too much detail or spoiling the story, the movie follows Jonas and his friends who are about to graduate from high school and receive their role in the community. The role that Jonas is assigned is that of ‘receiver of memories’ for the community. He has to visits ‘the giver’ each day, where he receives memories from the outside world, something neither he or anyone in the community knew existed.

The movie starts in black and white but as Jonas receives memories and learns about the world, and begins to feel emotions he starts to see in colour. His life becomes more enriched, from the memories of both the bad and the good in the world, and he starts to realise that their ‘perfect’ community is not so perfect after all, and he yearns for more and for things to change.

Some very valid points are raised throughout the movie, including the fact that no matter what we do there is evil and bad things going on in the world. We cannot simply shut out the rest of the world and pretend it doesn’t exist. Yes, people can be brainwashed and made believe certain things, however, we are humans and as a race we are flawed no matter what we do in order to protect ourselves. It also makes you think about all the things in life that we take for granted and without which our lives would be very poor.

Now I’m sure you’ve realised by now that among many other types of books, I have a soft spot for teen fiction. But I do wonder about one thing, why is it that all recent teenage fiction or futuristic novels portray such a morbid and dark view of the world. The Hunger Games, The Giver and the Divergent trilogy to name but a few, they all portray a world that has basically gone made. In The Hunger Games the Capital has created a game where people have to kill each other in order to win and survive, The Giver sees a select few people create a ‘perfect’ community where nothing bad happens and people are happy to live their lives that with no memories, and the Divergent trilogy, a dystopian novel set in post-apocalyptic Chicago where people are divided into factions based on their human virtues.

Aside from the undesirable settings, what all these novels have in common are teenage protagonists who grow up in a world where they don’t fit in, each of them struggling to find their identity and in doing so they try to make their world better for their family and friends.

I’m usually one to read the book first and then watch the movie, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie and wanted to read the book afterwards, so this is a first for me. It’s a fascinating story and I highly recommend watching it. I’m very much hoping the books is as good, if not better than the movie!


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Filed under Books