Tuesday, September 06, 2016

My First Day at School #117

Do you remember your first day at school?

Photo of me taken in
Carnew National School, 1964/65.
This week many children are starting out on an educational journey in primary school that will last many years. Every year now it makes the news and there are heart-warming stories of boys and girls who have overcome tremendous difficulties to get to school in the first place. In my case I started in Carnew National School (Co Wicklow) in September 1964 and did not finish formal education until graduating with a PhD 24 years later from Trinity. I was a month shy of my fifth birthday, and had grown up three miles away in Ballingate. I did not know any of the boys and girls in my class - none of our neighbours who I had played with up to that point were in my class. A neighbour's older daughter came to check on me from time to time throughout that first day.

My Mum knitted me a new jumper (see photo) and no doubt I had new (short) trousers to go with it. I also remember the (very) sensible shoes probably purchased in Godkins or Funges in Gorey. The biggest excitement for me was that I got a flask to have a warm drink with lunch - I don't recall what it was, probably cocoa. I broke the inside of this flask so many times!

If I recall correctly my first teacher was Mrs Mary Keating. In May 2013, I actually named her as one of my Favourite Teachers ever. She was a tough woman who was not afraid to use a ruler for corporal punishment - I very quickly learned that if you behaved and learned your lessons, you would not be slapped. Speaking of slapping - one of the men (Patsy) who worked on my Dad's farm would greet us when we came home from school every day with the question "How many slaps did you get today?". I often played along and said 3 or 4 just to keep him interested.

Carnew National School. My first class was in the room with the windows behind the school sign.
Image source: Scoil Aod├ín Naofa website.
So - think back to your own first day in school. It was the first step on a long journey that none knew where it would lead to. 

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