Last night I took part in a twitter conversation with teacher’s from all around Ireland. The main topic of discussion was around the new Junior Cycle.
Many teacher’s have concerns about the new Junior Cycle undermining our educational standards here in Ireland. According to Sally Maguire of ASTI “young people who spend five or six years participating in second-level education will not experience State certificate examinations until they reach Leaving Certificate….the Junior Cert exam was invaluable Leaving Cert preparation and enabled students, parents and teachers to gauge aptitude prior to making choices about the Leaving Cert.”
One concerns even shared by myself is the legitimacy of in school based examinations. Has the importance of a neutral and un biased examiner been forgotten about? Students are “entitled to a fair, impartial and transparent State certificate to record their achievement at junior cycle. A school certificate based on grades awarded by students’ own teachers does not have the same status or validity as an independent State certificate.”
Other teachers are worried and apprehensive about the insufficient on day of CPD put in place for all teachers before the Junior Cycle commences. How can one day of training provide our students with the best education they deserve?
As a parent or teacher reading this blog you can see that our students are at the centre of all our concerns. When you see History teachers, religion teachers and all other teachers fighting for the preservation of their subject yes it is about maintaining and keeping our jobs but at the heart of all our anxiety is our students. They are entitled to the best possible education they can get and we their teachers are responsible for providing and upholding those standards.
Despite how idealistic and naive this may sound I became a teacher to make a difference to inspire, to teach and give students dreams a chance to be reality. If you are ever in doubt about the heart of a teacher watch the video to remind yourself who is at the centre of the concerns of teachers: