Tuesday, 16 March 2010 00:00

Spring 2010 RSTA Newsletter

Greetings to all and a very warm welcome to our new members.

Industrial Dispute

We wish to remind all our members of the current industrial dispute between serving teachers and the Department of Education. We would advise those who may be offered employment in schools to consider whether their acceptance of such work would weaken the action of our working colleagues. A word with the school steward in the relevant school, before taking up employment, should clarify the matter.

(Louis O’Flaherty, Dublin Branch)

Annual General Meeting 2010

The AGM will be held in ASTI House, Winetavern Street on Wednesday 5 May 2010.  Registration will commence at 10.30 am. Light refreshments will be available before the meeting.  Nominations for Officers and Members of the National Committee must be submitted not later than three weeks before the AGM to the National Secretary, Eileen Kelly, 17 Acorn Road, Ballinteer, Dublin 16.  Any motions from the branches should be submitted at the same time.  Branches are advised to encourage members to attend.

Message from the Treasurer re. 2010 Subscriptions

The 78% of members who pay by Mandate or Direct Debit will have their subscription deducted during the year.  Members, who have opted to pay by cheque and have done so, thank you.  Outstanding subscriptions should be submitted immediately so that it will not be necessary to send out reminders.

Please note that the mailing list for Diaries 2011 will be submitted in October and only paid-up members can be included.

Cheques for €24 payable to RSTA should be sent to Sarah Scott, 3 Portmarnock Grove, Portmarnock, Co Dublin

(Sarah Scott, National Treasurer)

Notice to Waterford Members

A branch of RSTA will be set up in Waterford in the near future if a sufficient number of members are interested. Thanks to John Cunningham, Ballygarron, Kilmeaden (051-399897) for acting as coordinator.

Please contact him  and spread the word among your retired colleagues.

A meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 14th at 12 noon in the Woodlands Hotel, Dunmore Rd.

All retired Secondary Teachers in the Waterford area are welcome.

 Unlikely Radicals.

A new book, tracing the history of the ASTI and its contribution to education was launched by Kieran Mulvey, former General Secretary of the ASTI and currently Head of the Labour Relations Commission in the ASTI Head Office on 14 January 2010. The book, written by NUI Galway lecturer Dr. John Cunningham entitled Unlikely Radicals- Irish Post- Primary Teachers and the ASTI, 1909-2009 is a very comprehensive overview of the history of the ASTI up to the present. It is a very welcome addition to the seminal History of the ASTI written by Professor John Coolahan on the occasion of the seventy fifth anniversary of the union in 1984. The latest book includes a detailed analysis of the eventful history of the ASTI over the last twenty five years together with an over-view and a sometimes new perspective on the earlier history.

The book has the rare quality of being academically accurate and at the same time easily readable and should be of considerable interest to all our members who had an active role in the ASTI during their teaching careers. It is published by Cork University Press and is available from all good bookshops priced at €39.

(Louis O’Flaherty, Dublin Branch)

North-South Link

The following are the proposed events

1. RSTA members will travel to Belfast to attend a performance of Beauty and the Beast in the Opera House, on the 25 March 2010 this may necessitate an overnight stay.  Members of the NASUWT (retired) are involved with the production.

2. The return visit is planned for the 13 April 2010 and will include a guided tour of the Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin and lunch there.

3. RSTA members will travel by morning train to Belfast and have a guided tour of the refurbished Ulster Hall and the Linen Hall Library.

4. It is hoped to visit Kilkenny for a mid week break, towards the end of September, with members of the NASUWT (retired) and stay in the Kilkenny Court Hotel.

For further details, contact Nuala O’Connor Tel 2980819 mobile 0868768950

The above events are open to all members of the RSTA.


Trip of May 19th 2010. organized by members of the North Eastern Branch

Lunch at 12 noon in the Slieve Russell Hotel, Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan (Leave the N3 at Belturbet and take the N87 for 5 miles).  Please make your own way to the hotel.

Coach tour through Glangevlin to visit Shannon Pot, Moneygashel Megalithic Tomb and the Marble Arch Caves. The scenery through Glangevlin is strikingly beautiful.

Return to the Slieve Russell Hotel via Swanlinbar and Derrynagrieve for tea and finger food.

The tour includes a large section of the new cross border Geo Park of Counties Cavan and Fermanagh.

Cost depends on numbers, estimated around €40. Booking is essential. : Michael Mc Mahon. Tel: 042-9661097. Mobile: 087-7535280.

Email: michaelimc@hotmail.com

Trips Abroad

Oberammergau 2010 includes Vienna, Salzburg& Munich

14th. - 21st September from Cork Airport.  Cost €1,650.  Single room supplement €200.  For further details contact Pat Browne: Ph 021-4294783 or pat.browne@email.com

Killarney Padre Pio Group Pilgrimage to Cassino, San Giovanni Rotondo, Assisi & Rome

23 July 2010 – 8 nights from Dublin Airport  Cost €1,069 pp including tax & charges.

For further details contact Michael and Sheila Clifford Ph 045-861410 /064-6633712 or michaelecclifford@gmail.com

The Last Lesson

As she dashed into Room 7 she wondered what mood would greet her this Friday afternoon.  Pupils of Teaglach Josef were never very enthusiastic about any poem from the old familiar Soundings poetry book which had served many generations of senior scholars.  On numerous occasions se had pondered why- oh why had the Department chosen to include Hopkins sonnets of Desolation on its prescribed list of poems.  Surely not too many students would identify with the poet’s dilemma or Dark Night of the Soul.

Against the low level of chatter she checked the attendance.  Predictably the girls began to open their texts, while the lads were reluctantly extracting their dog-eared texts from untidy satchels, out of which an assortment of pebbles rolled along the aisles.  A withering look from their addled teacher brought an end to this childish behaviour.

And so down to the business of interpretation of this lofty sonnet.  The introductory quotation from Jeremiah seemed to elicit a tiny spark of interest.  ‘Why does the way of the wicked prosper’?  Yet their interest was at best indifferent until they reached the half line.  ’Oh the sots and thralls of lust’.  This gave rise to some questioning regarding the drunkards and slaves of passion.

Imagine Hopkins wrote about such low lives in the 1880s ventured a lone voice from the back of the row.  A more daring image followed, ‘times eunuch’ which the teacher explained as a castrated male.  ‘It must have been sore miss’, suggested another voice.  An explosion of laughter broke the dullness of this somber sonnet.  Even Hopkins would have chuckled thought the beleaguered teacher as the bell mercifully delivered one and all from this morbid contemplation.

(Sarah Conway, Mayo Branch)

They Were Mean to Me, Sir.

No matter how experienced a teacher is one can always be surprised by students.  It is dangerous to jump to conclusions as what might appear to be serious is often innocent and the reverse can also be true.  It is always best to diffuse a situation at an early stage but this calls for alertness and a timely intervention.  A sense of humour helps.

I remember when our excellent Speech and Drama teacher asked me to drop in to her rehearsal for the school musical with a view to assisting her in the blocking of the show.  I sat at the back of the hall as she worked with the cast on stage.  I noticed much agitation from a group of first year boys who had minor parts in the production.  Something was going on and I kept an eye on them.

When their director announced that they could return to class, a plump youth who still had not lost his puppy fat dashed through the stage door pursued by two of his classmates who looked as if they were auditioning for roles as assassins.

I raced out the main door and caught up with the trio on the sports field just as punishment was about to be administered.  To my ‘what’s this all about’, the avenging angels chorused, ‘he was pinching us all through the rehearsal’; to which the stately plump one said ‘they were mean to me, sir’

‘In what way’? I asked.  Before answering, the rescued victim dropped his head and his voice as the tears came to his eyes.  ‘They say I am pregnant and I wouldn’t mind but I’m not.’

(Lionel Gallagher, Sligo Branch)’

Catching Bees

No boring days for us, we were always on the go,

Those balmy summer days when eyes did squint,

Against the setting sun,

Where new adventures lay in store,

We went by Biddy’s River – jars in hand,

And cardboard covered caps.

The ‘bulterns’, or by ragwort better known,

Moved gently by the cooling offshore breeze.

With youthful stealth, and childhood innocence,

With ecstatic whoops and shouts of boundless joy,

We captured the ‘red-backed’ bumblebee,

Or the ‘Kilkenny striped’ larger one.

These now ensconced with perfumed woodbine flowers,

White scented clover and ‘rationed’ sugar.

‘Twas our version of the ‘friendly’ beehive.

We watched and waited for the ‘making’ process to begin.

We listened to the drone and hum of captured bees.

We looked and stared – no honey came.

Next day ‘mysteriously’ our honey-bees had gone.

New day – ‘pinkeens’ were now on the agenda.

(Noel Moore, North Eastern Branch)