Celebrating our Educators
National Teachers Day is 5/3
Influencers: If you ever listen to interviews with the various celebrities you will often hear how they were influenced by a teacher in school. I’d have to say that overall I’ve had very good memories of the Christian Brothers School (CBS) Boys Only in Clonmel for Primary and Secondary education. While I still flinch if I see a ruler in someone’s hand, there were teachers that instilled in me discipline, focus, and a lifelong love of learning.
We started our early years with the nuns in kindergarten. My memories are of a time before corporal punishment was frowned upon. The games outside were of mad hives of 5 year olds chasing the same ball on the tarmac which ended in fights, scrapes and bruises. And only a few of those were from the nuns! The Sisters of Mercy were known to us as the Sisters of NO Mercy - but then again - they had an unenviable role of dealing with a roomful of energetic boys. Yes there were no mixed classes until College and even then there were only 3 women in a class of 80+.
For some it was a vocation and you could tell by their love of the subject or of helping develop and guide children. For others, especially of the religious orders you could tell that they were gifted intellectually but were not cut out to be stewards of young wild boys - which a lot of them absolutely were. To this day I have nothing but the highest admiration for those who enter the teaching profession. I feel they need more than one day a year of recognition for all they do for society as a whole.
Like my brothers before me I attended the Christian Brothers schools in Clonmel. They were a religious order founded by Brother Rice. They had the long black smock and the satin belt that wrapped around their waist. For some, the “leather” was tucked inside and was cocked and ready for swatting at any sleeping or troublesome gent. I always had visions of the gunfighters of the Wild West - quick draw and a swoosh of a snap.
My favorite teachers:
Two of my favorite teachers were Brother Collins and Mr Granville. Collins was very advanced in years but still held classes if I remember correctly as Gailege as a substitute and sometimes math. He was referred to as Bhrathair O’Coileáin (Brah - her O’ Quil - Awn). He and Mr. (Brendan) Granville both managed to quell the riotous behaviour by engaging the students. With Mr Granville we had some great conversations during class and the patience they both showed as we indulged them with stories of our endeavors outside of school.
Overall I enjoyed my years at CBS and felt they did instill a thirst for learning and an ability to think for yourself. That above all is the true measure of a good teacher in my view.