Sunday 30 August 2009

First day tomorrow

After many months away I'm going to note a new milestone in my life. Having successfully completed my Primary Teaching postgraduate program last May I start my first day as a qualified teacher tomorrow. I'm looking forward to the challenge and the new routine.

As it is eight months since I have had consistent employment this is a new start for me. We started building our own new home this week just gone. So far this has been stress free thanks to our Project Manager. And to add to all the excitement my wife is expecting our third child. Thankfully the early part of her pregnancy has gone well.

Sunday 19 April 2009

Easter Holidays come to an end.

Well, this evening the Easter holidays come to an end. Not sure if there will be much availability of subsitute work in the initial days of the term so hopefully I'll be able to get some study done. The last assignments are now complete and the last onsite has been attended so its a countdown to the exams, three weeks from tomorrow morning to be precise.

It was a great two weeks, as a family we got a lot done, spent a lot of time together and are a little more relaxed. The weather over the past two or three days has been a bonus, with blue skies and high temperatures.

In my previous post I mentioned my walk with God. Since then God has definitely become more evident in my life, partly due to my own time commitment to Him, but also, I believe, a dry season has come to an end. With God's grace this season will be fruitful!

Tuesday 7 April 2009

Tidying up loose ends

As it's the school holidays I had a chance today to tidy up some loose ends..... The solicitor I went to for advice on how to get the final quarter of my investment in the furniture shop sent me a huge bill last week. I dropped in to complain that it was out of proportion, particularly when every time I asked for a price I had been told not to worry. He told me he didn't really expect me to pay the full amount anyway and would come back to me with a revised bill!! At this point the only hope of getting the money back anyway is out of the goodness of the managing director's heart!

I have one essay left now for the teaching course, plus one on-site lesson and then its plain sailing to the exams in mid-May. Trying to be a supportive and loving husband and father is suffering at this time. Hopefully once the exams are over I can reform.

With the enormous recession Ireland is now having it will be interesting to see how the supplementary budget, which is about to begin (15.45), will effect families, the vulnerable and the public service. Watch this space.

Last night my wife and I discussed how our journey with God was growing and/or suffering. God works in seasons and times and for me this is a season of dryness. I have to keep believing that God is there for me, is perhaps testing me, but always loves me.

Sunday 5 April 2009

Finish line in sight

In only five and a half weeks the time, effort and sacrifice of those around me and myself will reach its climax with my final exams. It has been a varied journey, sometimes rocky, other times smooth but overall a positive one, encouraged by the enjoyment I get from being in the classroom.

Once my final teaching practice finished in February I have been acting as a substitute (relief) teacher in a variety of schools in the area. It has been interesting to teach in straight class and multiclass situations, at both senior and junior ends of the school. I certainly think I prefer the senior classes but am certainly more open to the multiclass idea than I was in the past. Smaller schools, though, don't have the same social interaction among teachers and that is something I think I'd miss.

Two essays, one more day of training and three exams separate me from being qualified - roll on mid-May!

Tuesday 11 November 2008

Eighteen months of change

Around the time I last posted I was beginning to realise that my heart was not with the retail furniture business. The previous month (ie April 07) three people who would be close to me asked me, independently of each other, whether I had ever considered primary school teaching. As it happened I had, many years previously, but had done nothing about it. I began to research the possibility of a thirtysomething husband and father starting out again after a completely new career. Thanks to the internet it is possible and I am now six months away from my final exams as the course is available on line with a local centre for onsite classes too. I have been blessed with continuous income too through substitute (supply) teaching throughout my course.

To say I have made the right decision is an understatement. Firstly the furniture business recently went bust and the shop closed. I had received 70% of my investment back before this happened, thank God. There is more to this story which I may come back to in a future post. Secondly the course, while demanding, is very family friendly and of course what job could be more family friendly than teaching? That's not to say life is a bed of roses and spending more time with wife and children can bring out new tensions that need to be addressed and dealt with too.

Until the next time...

PS Following on from my previous post, the incumbent Fianna Fail, Progressive Democrat coalition was returned to power but needed the Green Party and some independent support to form a decent majority. The Progressive Democrat party disbanded last Saturday, after their dismal showing in that election.

Monday 21 May 2007

We have our General Election this Thursday coming in Ireland. Choosing my preferred representatives in national government is not an easy task. My constituency is a five seater (we have Proportional Representation - PR - in Ireland). None of the outgoing TDs (Members of Parliament) particularly appeal. One of the outgoing TDs is the leader of one of the two major parties (Fine Gael) and is potentially Ireland's next Taoiseach (Prime Minister) if all goes well for him. One of his policies is particularly family friendly, reducing the impact of "individualisation" as introduced by Fianna Fail's former Finance Minister (Charlie McCreevy - now an EU Commissioner). Fianna Fail (FF) are currently the main government party who are in coalition with the Progressive Democrats. Individualisation had the effect of removing the right from a "stay-at-home" spouse to pass his/her tax credits to his/her working spouse, thus discouraging "stay-at-home" spouses, mostly mothers, from spending the early years of their children's lives at home. I like the idea and it is the one policy that Fine Gael have which would entice me to vote for them. However most the leader's colleagues in the constituency do not particularly appeal, one sends cards to every family in the constituency on the occasion of every birth, death and marriage. I don't see how that is in the national interest! Another is a "parachute" celebrity candidate, manager of the county Gaelic Football team (who lost in the first round of the Championship on Sunday, talk about bad timing!) - I don't see the benefit of parachute candidates. The last I don't know much about and therefore don't feel I could vote for her.
The other alternative is for me to vote for FF. I personally know one of the candidates, he's young, business minded and professional. Their outgoing TD doesn't offer much, not sure how he got elected in the first place. I trust FF to manage the economy and provide some bulwark to liberal policies getting adopted - something that Fine Gael claim they will also prevent, but as their likely coalition partners are the left wing Labour Party I don't give them much chance to hold out against them for five years of government. I don't trust FF to build a better society for Ireland though, primarily due to their "lower taxes and the resulting rising tide will lift all ships" probable coalition partners, the Progressive Democrats (PDs). Of the other FF candidate, he's not what being political means to me so he may get a low preference vote. The PDs support embryo research which to me is a bad thing, so they won't get my vote either. As you can probably now tell I won't be voting for Labour and nor will I vote for Sinn Fein, who's extreme left views, couched in nice inclusive rights based terminology, would be disasterous for the nation. We also have an independent TD, a doctor, who focuses on the health side of things. He has done some great work for returning immigrants. However, he too, has liberal tendancies, having moved from supporting Connaught's Christian Independent MEP to its Liberal Independent one in the last European Parliament elections.
I am a firm believer that a TD should represent local views, but not necessarily interests, at a national level. Too much representation of local interests leads to clientelism and that is not a good thing in national politics. Perhaps at 166 there are too many seats in Dail Eireann (the house of parliament) and if there were fewer seats then there would be less time for the TDs to concern themselves with local issues (which should be dealt with by County and Town Councillors). I also believe that good government is Christian government, where God comes first, followed by love for others and ourselves. These beliefs will form the basis of my vote this week