The first words of confirmation that I had got the job in Carnaun National School were: “You start tomorrow – bring your chalk”.
These memorable words were spoken to me by Finbarr O’Regan, the Principal.  This was my first permanent post since graduating and I was both excited and a little anxious as I drove out to the school that first morning.

The school building was old and in need of repair.  There were only three classrooms – one was partitioned after I arrived.  The major problem was lack of  space but all our problems would be resolved when we would get our new school!

Finbarr, Anita and Frances had a great welcome for me.  The children were good mannered and well-behaved and there were no problems with discipline in the school.  Parents were agreeable to meet with us and discuss their children’s progress.  We all discussed openly any problems we might be having and because of this were a very united staff.

Different times of the year bring back special memories to me.  September always reminds me of starting back to school – a new year and a new class.  November reminds me of fund-raising – a cake sale and a dance.  Christmas reminds me of concerts, I  particularly remember the year we staged “The Wizard of Oz”.  Easter reminds me of First Confession and all the times I acted the role of the priest.  May reminds me of First Communion – what wonderful days we enjoyed.  Finally, June always reminds me of holidays and thoughts of a well-earned rest.

I am now in the middle of my second year of my career break. I have spent some time as a temporary teacher in England and it is interesting to compare our two systems. I have found that the standard in Carnaun compares very favourably with any school I have taught in in England.  Our general educational standard is much higher in Ireland but it is most noticeable in mathematics, writing and music.

I visited the school in October and saw quite a few changes.  The garden had been landscaped, the wall around the site had been completed, a new shed had been erected.  A new table and fridge had pride of place in the hall but unfortunately the old building is still the same.  Work has not yet started on the new extension –I hope we won’t have to wait another hundred years for it to be completed.