OVER 300 accumulated years of excellence in education was celebrated by Limerick INTO at a retirement function.
The nine teachers, all female, will be sadly missed by colleagues and parents but most of all the boys and girls who they helped shape into adults.
They are Christina Mulvihill, St Mary’s NS; Catherine Furey, St Nessan’s, Mungret; Pauline O’Flynn, St Patrick’s BNS, Dublin Road; Mary Kennedy, Scoil Íosagáin CBS, Sexton Street; Mary Ryan Synnott and Helen Gleeson, Scoil Mháthair Dé; Ann Hurley and Maria Barry, Scoil Íde and Breda O’Regan, Catherine Mac Auley School.
Seán McMahon, INTO vice-president, travelled to the Greenhills Hotel for the event.
“Teachers go into teaching to make a difference in the lives and the futures of their pupils. The teachers retiring tonight have made a huge difference to the education system and as a result, the lives of their pupils and their communities.
“This generation of teachers campaigned for modern school accommodation, manageable class sizes, properly resourced and professionally supported schools, not for the sake of it but so that they could make a difference.
“Progressive, forward looking teachers who were embracing of change that was worthwhile, educationally sound and beneficial to primary education have left a proud legacy of achievement for their pupils and this generation of teachers,” said Mr McMahon.
They saw the introduction of a new curriculum in English, Irish, Maths, Visual Arts and SPHE and new practices and programmes in ICT, RSE, Stay Safe and Children First.
“You campaigned on decent school buildings, class size, special education, curriculum change teacher professional development opportunities and a range of other issues all of which are part of a modern education agenda.
“Schools have successfully included children with severe mobility impairments, sensory impairments, learning disabilities, health conditions, language difficulties, emotional and behavioural difficulties, epilepsy, asthma, autism, various syndromes,” Mr McMahon said.
“Inclusion has made a huge difference in the lives of those children and the lives of their families and your work in this regard is greatly appreciated by those families,” said Mr McMahon, who also complimented the ladies on their voluntary involvement in extra curricular activity in curriculum meetings and CPD, ICT, sport and other cultural events.
“It is recognised and appreciated in the school communities you served. As primary teachers you always gave above and beyond in terms of flexibility and dedication to duty and were never clock watchers. Despite recent setbacks the progress in primary education has been remarkable.
“At times it seemed like your reward from officialdom was to be swamped in a tide of paperwork and unfair, unreasonable demands. Had you allowed it you could have found yourself in a situation where you spent as much time writing notes, compiling pupil records and writing reports than you did actually teaching,” said Mr McMahon.
These nine ladies certainly didn’t allow that and after 300 years in the classroom between them and countless times hearing “Miss, Miss, Miss” being shouted they are wished a long and happy retirement.