Daily Archives: April 16, 2008

Are you a Young Parent

Do you have children about to start or attending Primary School?

What do you know about the school they attend? Are you interested or aware of any problems?

Does your responsibility end when you open the door of the SUV to drop the darlings off with their satchel up market school bag, lunch money or tuck box, leaving you several hours to get on with your own life before charging up once more to stop – bang in front of the gateway – never mind the lay-by that seems to be compulsory for Health & Safety regulations. Is that it?

Who decides on the text books your child uses or how the subject is taught? I am sure you think it is that distracted school Principal losing his ability to smile. Before you criticize, walk a mile in his shoes!

How does he spend his evenings?

For ‘homework’ I have: * 6 policies to proof read and correct * 3 others to continue and * 1 to start.

Does he have help?

…..It is just not physically possible to teach and administer at the same time. All my waking hours are consumed by school … school and more school.

Only last week did I stay in school until 6.00 p.m. cutting the grass and tidying up. It’s a case of DIY or it remains undone. I have been patching holes on the roof, brushing the yard, painting classrooms, etc. …. you name it I’ve probably done it!

Our school accounts are in the black ‘cos we’re careful (not mean) with the spend.

I’m overwhelmed at times …. free education is a laugh …. someone is usually paying for it …. and it’s usually me with my time!

…..I have asked the parents in my school to get involved in policy development and/or help out around the school …. (I ask regularly) …. how many volunteers did I get? …. NONE! … yet they have no problem complaining if a decision/procedure/policy has been implemented without their input. Even when they get the policies to read … they don’t!

Nobody survives in a vacuum. An exhausted Teacher cannot give of his or her best to the children in their charge – YOUR CHILDREN.

Education is the right of all children, but that does not give parents the right to abdicate responsibility for it at the school gate. If your child showed potential in Bunge-jumping and ‘Gold at the 2012 Olympics’ was mooted, I’m sure you would travel the length and breadth of the land so they had every chance to gain experience. Would that enormous effort on your part, be for the child, or for the reflected glory that you would gain?

Gold loses its shine in time and the Bunge-jumping may not put food on the table for long, but an energetic enthusiastic unencumbered teacher can set alight the fire of learning within a young mind setting them on the road to being the next Brahms, Brontë or Brunel. So give that hour or odd Saturday, you might even surprise yourself and enjoy it. There is the chance to get to know the teachers as ‘real’ people and also earn kudos big time with the offspring.

A Round Tower

The very first time daddy brought us to see a round tower it seemed to touch the sky and you needed a rope ladder to reach the door which was a long way off the ground. The window holes were like slits and had no glass in them, so it must have been very draughty and dark inside. A round tower was like a round room and it was not as wide as our house. In my head it seemed only as wide as our toilet, well that was the smallest room in our house (separate to the bathroom) and I needed to get things in proportion.

I seem to remember being told then that round towers were originally built to protect our ancestors from raiders such as Vikings.

My childish mind worked overtime when I thought about it. To begin with I was small for my age when I was young, my father and uncles were all over 6ft tall. If they were standing when they spoke to me I had to look a long way up to see their faces. When we were near the tower daddy didn’t reach the bottom of the door. I hoped there would be no more Vikings. I didn’t want to climb up there.

Anyway, if we did manage to get inside how could we all fit? Maybe I would be lifted up onto someone’s shoulders. The round room went way up to the sky remember, so there would be lots of people standing on other peoples shoulders! What would I do if a heavy person was standing on my shoulders? It would be terrible if their feet were dirty and smelly. Again I hoped there would be no more raiders.


What brought this on?

You may well ask!

At the weekend I went out for a walk in the sunshine and on my travels I saw this round tower:

In 1866 James Chaine, the son of a prosperous linen merchant from Co Antrim, bought the Larne harbour with a down payment of £9,000. He repaired the existing pier and quays and had them extended and developed a rail link to the Port. In 1871 the Larne and Stranraer Steamboat Company was formed and a new paddle steamer the Princess Louise commenced a regular service between the two ports on 1st July 1872.

Chaine Memorial Tower 3

A mail route was established in 1875 and a trans-Atlantic service between Glasgow, Larne and New York began in 1873. Using the renowned State Line vessels, this service continued until December 1889 and many hundreds of emigrants left Larne to start a new life in America.

Chaine Memorial Tower 4

James Chaine died from pneumonia in 1885 at the age of 44 and as a mark of respect the people of Larne and district raised funds by public subscription to build the Chaine Memorial Tower which dominates the entrance to the harbour.