Over to you


Are you interested in a work placement in The Irish Times? Transition Year students can learn first-hand about this newspaper if their submission is published in Media Scope's weekly Over to You column. Just send us a 200-word piece on a media-related topic.

Jennie McGinn, St Mary's College, Naas, Co Kildare

Despite the bad press my teachers, and teachers across the State, have been receiving lately, I fully support and understand their actions. Teachers have a physically and mentally demanding job that requires many extra hours to sustain an adequate teaching relationship with their students - and the majority of teachers strive for more than an adequate relationship.

Do the people who are so quick to criticise understand that, on average, a Leaving Cert honours-Irish teacher spends eight hours or more a week correcting essays alone? Or that a chemistry teacher might have to take a class at lunchtime or after school due to time pressure? And what about the teachers who donate their precious free time to organising trips, tours, plays and other academically unnecessary activities, to develop and nurture the minds of teenagers?

Although it is portrayed that these strike actions will affect exam students, I am doing immense work on these few days off. Any student who is serious about exams will seize this opportunity to supplement her or his studies.

It's ironic that I, a sixth-year student, fully accept and support the actions of the teachers, while many others jump on the bandwagon of criticism and condemnation, blissfully ignorant of the human factors of this situation.

James Fitzgerald, Scoil Mhuire, Dromcollogher, Co Dublin

Who wants to be a millionaire? Almost everybody, it seems. From the quiz show of that name to the National Lottery, Ireland seems to be obsessed with money.

Until the advent of WWTBAM? a few weeks ago, columnists in newspapers seemed to be more concerned with actual issues and not some new imported fad on our television screens. Curiously, the National Lottery hastily made up plans for a "new" type of lottery called Lotto Plus - the exact same concept, except a different way of selecting the numbered balls and 25p extra per panel. Don't ask me where they came up with the name.

Even politicians prefer money to their constituents' wellbeing and opinions. No television show needed to encourage them - this has been going on for years, long before "are you sure?" and "final answer?" came into our vocabulary.

Write to media scope by posting your comments to Newspaper in the Classroom, The Irish Times, 1116 D'Olier Street, Dublin 2, or faxing them to (01) 679 2789. Be sure to include your name, address and school, plus phone numbers for home and school. Or you can use the Internet and e-mail us at mediapage@irishtimes.ie

media scope is a weekly media studies page for use in schools.

Faxback: Worksheets and other materials are available to teachers who place group orders through their schools. The worksheets are sent to all subscribing schools via the automatic faxback system. This system will re-try an engaged line up to four times.

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media scope is edited by Harry Browne.