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A Different View

Forward planning with big clothes and tight haircuts

Dave O'Connell

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Children from Little Treasures Creche, Kiltulla, Athenry, with staff at their sports day for Arthritis Ireland. The little girl at the front in the orange tshirt is Grace Collins, who lives with arthritis everyday and is the campaign face of Arthritis Ireland.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Few things – apart obviously from the mere presence of their parents in the same room – can annoy kids as much as buying clothes that are too big for them.

“Sure, you’ll grow into it” must be the recurring nightmare of adolescent dreams (well, one of them anyway) as they are forced to exit the front door with trousers pulled up higher than their waist like Simon Cowell and jumpers hanging off them like a bag lady’s.

“You won’t get the wear out of them if they just fit you now – we’d better get them a size bigger” might smack of adult logic, but you don’t have to traipse around town while constantly rearranging your clothes so it doesn’t look like you robbed them off some bigger lad.

It might explain why so many teenagers now wear jeans that expose more than they cover; they’ve just taken the notion of loose fit to new heights – or lows – because that’s what they’re used to from birth.

The difference now of course is that they could never grow into these jeans because they’d have to double their midriff to hold them up and shorten their legs to get them to cover their calves.

But we have to accept some of the blame for the fact that they simply refuse to tuck anything into anything else – shirts will be worn outside at all time, even with a suit, and loose and free beats the tailored look every day of the week.

It’s understandable that parents of new-born babies would buy clothes than are too big because otherwise, during those first few months, they’d have to do a weekly shop for clothes.

You don’t bat an eyelid at the sight of a tiny tot in a baby grow that’s designed to fit them in six months time. And they’re not traumatised either because clothes at this stage in their lives are really just an extension of the blanket.

Given that they do shoot up in spurts during those first twelve or fourteen years, you do have to make some provision for expansion, so a little wiggle room is no bad thing – just not so much bug and baggy that they look like a very unhappy rapper.

Worse still is the second child syndrome who not alone has to wear clothes that are too big for them, but they’ve also been worn by their older sibling. So any sense of shape or structure has long gone in the wash.

School uniforms are always a size too big in September and at least a size too small in June, but there’s some justification here because students see uniforms in the way that prisoners see handcuffs – and they wouldn’t love them one bit more if they fitted them like a glove.

The uniforms – even the best of them – lose their shape over the course of the school year anyway, so that even when they do fit properly, they probably have a hole or two on the elbows or knees and an unravelling along the waistband.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Exam points are not the only measure of education success

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

By now, the next batch of around 60,000 students set for third-level education are over a week into the Leaving Cert – the exam that will determine what course they attain a place in for the new academic year.

Their success – added to the performances of their class-mates – will determine their alma mater’s position in what are commonly known as the school league tables.

This is a calculation of how successful a secondary school is, based entirely on the number of its Leaving Certs it gets into third-level education.

In turn – based on this – parents will choose where to send their little bundles of joy when the time comes for them to make the transition from primary to second-level.

And it’s such an arbitrary method of determining the relative success or failure of a centre of education, because it leaves so much out of the equation.

Firstly, it means performance is entirely based on the numbers who go on to third-level, ignoring those who gain apprenticeships or go straight into the workplace.

Admittedly, that’s not a large cohort these days because Careers Guidance seems to begin and end with helping you to choose the right course, not the right career.

But more fundamentally, getting a good student to pass his or her exams and gain a place in college isn’t the ultimate test of a teacher; getting a student who is struggling with reading or writing to a level where they comfortably do both is a far better achievement for any teacher.

Bringing a student who is in danger of failing mathematics, for example, to a position where they pass their exams – but more importantly understand how it works – should be recognised in any measure of performance.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

How will we acclimatise as we ease out of Covid?

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Back in the world before Covid, a mention of Corona either brought to mind a beer or a rock band – but, as we ease our way out of dire straits (another rock band, as luck would have it), we might require a different kind of acclimatisation.

Because what will the evening be like when no more deaths are flashed up as a statistic on the Six-One News?

Who will the world turn to if we have no more Fergal or George or Zara giving out the daily update in a funereal tone?

What will happen to all the people who used to go to the Department of Health press conference at tea-time in the same way the rest of us once headed for the pub?

Like Pavlov’s Dog, we’ve come to expect an evening illness update, taking consolation in it being two less than yesterday or taking fright if it’s two more.

Nobody told us who these poor people were, unless the local paper carried a tribute a week later – for the number crunchers and bean counters and prophets of doom, they were today’s statistics, to be flashed up for a few seconds every night.

And we took these figures as we got them, never questioning if a person died from Covid or with Covid; if they were described as having ‘underlying conditions’, we seemed to accept that as a very broad church.

We listened intently as Fergal or George or Zara told us what the mean age was, breathing a small sigh of relief if it remained a good distance into the future from our own age now.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Home ownership should be a prerogative – not a pipedream

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Half of our 18 to 34-year-olds fear they won’t be able to buy a home in next ten years, according to a new survey. That’s not the shock – it’s the fact that half of them think they actually will.

Because the truth is that owning your own home hasn’t been as much of a pipedream since the days of feudal landlords; indeed many of them will find it a job and a half to even come up with the rent.

And that’s a sign of just how critical our housing crisis has become in the space of a single generation.

We thought that things were bad in the eighties when unemployment levels were way ahead of our pre-Covid figures; when the boat and the plane were the best 0or maybe only – chance for many to secure a job far from home.

But for those who were working, owning a home wasn’t a farfetched concept at all, because there were plenty of starter homes being built and the cost of them still bore some relation to your income.

There was a time before that, when the bank had a simple equation to decide the size of the mortgage they’d give you. It was two and a half times the combined salary for those buying the house – in other words, yours alone if you were a sole purchaser, or double that if it was yourself and your partner.

On top of that, there was no point turning up in the first place unless you had a ten per cent deposit – so it was a straight-forward calculation to find out what you could afford. And house prices, for the most part, kept within that equation.

Of course there were always homes you coveted and couldn’t afford, but you could still buy a roof over your head for a price that only took 20 years to pay back.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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