Giving something back…

Thursday April 3rd 2014

Hi everyone,


The 6 weeks of “Mr. Barrett” is coming to an end. By the time you read this, I will have just finished my last day on teaching practice! I’ve become very attached to the school, its teachers and the P2 class that I ‘try’ to teach! I fell into the routine of school life, got to know the staff really well and looked forward to the daily craic and laughter that the children brought! There will be many St. Mary’s students who will be glad to finish teaching practice and return to University life after the holidays. I suppose we all will be, but you can’t help feel a sense of sadness as we say goodbye. Our schools welcomed us on the first day, helped us along the way, and provided us with every learning experience possible to ensure we got the best out of our placements. In my last blog I wrote about how I was hoping that my 6 weeks would be the most enjoyable and rewarding part of my course… this is very much the case! Moreover, it has helped to further increase my confidence and belief that teaching is what I love to do.


It wasn’t just placement that I had to say goodbye to this month! Myself, along with millions of others waved farewell to one of Ireland’s greatest sporting stars. It may seem strange of me to write about this in my blog, and I will probably get a lot of stick over it (especially form certain people in Dublin!), but I think we can all learn from the example Brain O’Driscoll has set both on the playing field and through his life in general. He has captained his country, achieved the most International caps and played on numerous Lions tours. He is professional, works hard and is always modest when it comes to his own ability. Throughout this last month the media has been engulfed by his retirement and the fairy tale ending that he rightly deserved. He wrote his own script and went out on a high in Paris. Words such as “genius”, “master class” and “legend” have all been used, but more importantly than anything else he is a gentleman and very much down to earth. Even in the face of career ending injuries, years of criticism from underachieving Ireland teams and being dropped for the final Lions test last year (still a sore spot!), he has always remained fully professional and kept his head held high. My Dad, twin brother and myself where very lucky to see him play his last ever game on Irish soil. It was a fantastic occasion and a fitting tribute to an amazing role model and childhood sporting hero!


Next month I will be travelling to Lourdes as a youth leader and carer with a group called “The Irish Pilgrimage Trust”. Every year they organize and fundraise nearly £14,000 to help bring 12 children with special needs, from the counties of Fermanagh and Tyrone, on a pilgrimage to Lourdes. We will work hard as a team to care and look after the children, build friendships with them and ensure they enjoy and remember all aspects of their week. When I was asked by a friend from St. Mary’s to travel with this group, I decided to grab it with both hands! I have travelled to Lourdes before with my own youth group, Clogher don Óige (CdÓ for short!). My journey to Lourdes with them provided me with endless craic, a new perspective on helping others and the chance to develop my faith as a whole. I feel it’s important now to try and give the children the same positive, enjoyable and memorable experience that the CdÓ leaders gave me. If I can do this then I will be extremely happy! Next Sunday we will get to meet all the children and their families before we set off on what will hopefully be the start of their fantastic journey to Lourdes.


Finally, I hope everyone enjoys their holidays over Easter. With Lourdes around the corner, relaxing back home in Fermanagh and a few days in Dublin planned too, I’ve no doubt the next 3 weeks will be first class!


Until next time,