Good News, Bad News


virtual-enterprise-network_good-and-bad-news_id5456741_size300Do you know the feeling when your teacher says: “I have both good and a bad news for you, which news would you like to hear first?” Hearing this sentence is never a good thing and to me it’s a similar feeling to cold ice water running down my back.

Can you believe my surprise when I heard exactly these words over the speaker system, just as I was sitting comfortably and listening to my teacher explaining about a particularly interesting moment in history?

Typically, people want to hear the good news first. I guess our principal must have a sixth sense, since he anticipated this and didn’t even wait for an answer. So what are the good news, you ask?


Here’s what the principal said: “Every teacher in this school will participate in a protest march on Tuesday, so all students will have a day off.” This sounded too good to be true, right? A day off? Just like that? There must be some really bad news coming…. So I braced myself and waited….

But first here’s a short explanation of why the teachers are protesting. Apparently, the government wants to make a change to the Irish education system with regards to the Junior Certificate.

teacher-toon1In future, assessments should have more weight and should influence the final result much more than they do today. The assessments should be reviewed and corrected by your subject matter teachers. Teachers are humans too (yes, really!) and the way they assess a paper or test is always influenced by personal views and values. Every teacher has a favourite and a least favourite student, even if they would never admit this openly. So I have to agree with the teachers that would be a change for the worse. I was looking forward to my free Tuesday and “Kudos” to the teachers for standing up for what’s right even if that means standing outside in the cold Irish weather for many hours….

pop040But I still haven’t told you the bad news, which was soon revealed over the speaker system: The upcoming parent teacher meetings! As soon as the principal announced this, it got very quiet in the classroom. Every student was thinking about each time they forgot to do their homework or when they were late for school…. There was only one person in the room, who was still smiling and that was our history teacher. Clearly he was looking forward to telling the parents about our mistakes and shortcomings!

Grades_CartoonThe parent-teacher meeting was supposed to start about 30 minutes after school hours (so at about 3:45 pm). As soon as the bell rang, all students went to the canteen to wait for their parents. In my case, because my parents can’t fly over to Dublin just for an afternoon, my host parents are coming to the parent-teacher meeting on their behalf. Many students took out their phones, probably to talk to their parents. Normally, this is not allowed but on this special occasion, the school has made an exception. Actually, there’s no worse place to take out your phone and the reason is the fact that it’s the one area in school that can be seen from almost all other rooms and offices. Since phones have bright and clearly visible displays, they can easily be spotted…. The principal has a clear and direct view of the canteen from his office window. His office is very close to the canteen and he often walks around the building looking for students that are disobeying the school rules. Because of this, I have dubbed the canteen as “the Lion’s Cave”.

We don’t normally have pictures of the inside of our school (Adamstown Community College) on the public website so I took it upon myself to educate my readers by taking many pictures. Here are some recent pictures that I took while I was waiting for Margaret.



In fact, while I was taking these pictures, I saw a lot of other parents arrive. So I started to get worried and called Margaret. I did not want to be late for the parent-teacher meetings! But she had not forgotten and told me that she would be there in a couple of minutes.

I needn’t have worried too much about the parent-teacher meetings. It’s quite different from the way these meetings are held in Switzerland. In Switzerland these meetings tend to occur more often and usually only between the head teacher and your parents. Here the meetings only happen once a year and instead of one teacher, you have to talk to all your teachers on the same day! So you get a lot more feedback and suggestions (both good and bad).

eCommerce-checklistEvery student receives a checklist. This is a list of every teacher you have to talk to during the event. The reason for the checklist is so that you don’t just talk to the ones were you know that they will provide a positive comment but also to the ones were you expect some criticism.

First you had to find your teachers. Some of them were sitting in the canteen area while others preferred to wait in the classroom. Because all of the students had to talk to all of the students, this meant that sometimes you had to wait a while because your teacher was already busy talking to someone else.

So what can I improve? All the teachers told me something I already know. I have to improve my handwriting! If I had lived during the time of World War II, my handwriting could have been used to code secret messages… But we live in peaceful times, so I should try to change my handwriting so that other people can read it too.


I hope that you will be back for more blog posts, which I promise will not be written by hand but on my trusty computer keyboard.

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Refresh your Life


In my last blog post I already announced today’s main topic: The speech.

speechBut, before I talk about the actual speech I have to say that this little event wasn’t free and I had to pay for it. It wasn’t expensive, but our year head (a year head has similar responsibilities to a vice principal but is below him in rank) told us something quite logic: Multiply a small amount of money with a huge amount of students and you get the required amount of money needed to pay the speaker’s salary. The speaker was a famous psychologist but don’t let that put you off. I know that some people have a negative opinion of psychology and they think it’s not a real “science” but I am of a different opinion. Also I think that some our students could benefit a lot from a session with a psychologist. Here are some points that annoy me and that should be discussed:

  • “Building chatty circles” in the middle of the corridors causing huge traffic jams or even traffic collapses…
  • Running and at the same time pushing your way through the crowd (particularly first year students do this a lot and it’s terribly annoying!)
  • Disrespectful behaviour against senior cycle students (Remember this: “Respect us or you won’t expect us…”)
  • Taking the main stairs to get downstairs, while everyone else wants to go upstairs.
  • Leaving all of your rubbish on the table after lunch… (We can’t afford a sports hall, but we do have bins!)


16401-Be-Thankful-And-Stop-ComplainingAm I complaining again? Sometimes I just make mountains out of molehills, but the first bullet point actually annoys me a lot! And as I know that some students of my school sometimes read my blog: Please stop the chatty circles!

Now before this post becomes to negative, let’s return to the main topic: “The speech” and the “pursuit of happiness” (this was the main topic of the speech).

I already knew that the speech was going to be great before I even entered the room as I saw how excited the class before us left. They didn’t even notice that we were there as they were too deep in thought about the meaning of life.

i-m-on-the-pursuit-of-happinessThe whole event took place in the so called “demo-room”. The seats were comfortable and the atmosphere was very curious and after a few minutes it became quiet. Shane Martin (the psychologist I was talking about) started to speak. His presentation was brilliant and it’s difficult to describe the whole speech, but he basically exposed lies of society. Our society lies to us in many different ways. From the first day on everyone tells you: “Work hard and study all the time! Then you can get a good job and earn a lot of money! That’s the only way for you to be truly happy!” He told us that he has many patients who have worked their whole lives and now they are deeply depressed. They ask themselves where all the time went. This was just an example and there are plenty other lies he showed us. He also gave us tips on how to be truly happy: It’s better to have a little success and accomplishment each day then to try and find happiness by following unobtainable goals which are beyond your own control.

The speech was really inspiring and brilliant and I don’t regret the fact that I had to pay for it. I mean that’s his job and he has to pay his bills too. It was worth it and I would gladly listen to the whole speech again.  I even heard a teacher say: “School isn’t everything”, which is something I’ve never heard a teacher say before.

If you want to know more about Shane Martin, here’s a link to his website:



The first page mentions the “Refresh your life” seminar, and that’s exactly what the whole speech was about.

I know, I haven’t written a lot of blog post lately, but it’s been extremely busy!

I promise to follow up with more stories of life in Ireland on the weekend. Stay tuned!

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Sabotage im Computerraum

Der Wecker und ich. Werden wir je Freunde sein? Ich denke nicht. Wie jeden Morgen reisst er mich aus dem Schlaf. Doch halt, was ist das? Ein Schmerz im Hals! Nein, doch nicht heute. Ich wollte heute fit sein, denn wir haben einen wichtigen Test in Biologie. Die Schmerzen im Hals sind nicht so schlimm, aber leider fängt nun auch noch meine Nase an zu laufen. Eine klassische Erkältung also! Meine erste Erkältung in Irland übrigens. Müsste aber nicht sein.

Beladen mit Papier-Taschentüchern mache ich mich auf den Weg in die Schule. Ich hoffe, dass es bei einer Erkältung bleibt und nicht noch zu einer veritablen Grippe ausartet. Das englische Wort für Grippe ist „flu“.

Eine Erkältung ist kein Grund nicht in die Schule zu gehen. Gestern ging es mir noch super. Eduardo und ich haben zusammen mit der PlayStation gespielt. Er spielt schlechter als mein Kater Leo, und der spielt sehr schlecht. Vor allem hat er Mühe, den Controller in den Pfoten zu halten und weil er etwas schielt, verfehlt er oft das Ziel. Auch gibt er Zischlaute von sich, wenn er nicht gewinnt und läuft dann einfach weg. Ich meine übrigens Leo und nicht Eduardo. Eduardo macht keine Zischlaute, obwohl er immer verliert. Gerade deshalb hat es grossen Spass gemacht. Sean hat mir die Playstation eingerichtet, thank you Sean!

So gut ist Leo nicht!

So gut ist Leo nicht!

Aber zurück zum Schulalltag.  Der Informatik-Unterricht konnte heute nicht wie geplant durchgeführt werden, weil irgendein Spassvogel auf verschiedenen Computern BIOS Passwörter eingerichtet hat. So lässt sich der Computer nicht mehr starten, ohne dass man das Passwort kennt! Das ist etwas riskant, denn die Lehrer haben die Möglichkeit herauszufinden wer zuletzt den Computer benutzt hat.

Heute höre ich wieder die Stimme des Rektors über den Lautsprecher. Sie hat ihren sonst freundlichen Ton etwas verloren und ist ziemlich ungehalten wegen der Computersache: „HELLO! YOUR PRINCIPAL HERE! YOU WILL BE FOUND AND PUNISHED!“ – das heisst soviel wie: Die Schuldigen werden gefunden und bestraft!


Unsere Schule ist übrigens stark überwacht. Es gibt ein elektronisches System mit Stempelkarten für den Zugang zur Schule. Zudem wird vor jeder Lektion eine Anwesenheitskontrolle gemacht. Auch hat es überall auf dem Schulgelände Kameras. In der Schweiz wäre das wohl so nicht möglich, aus „Datenschutz“-Gründen. Schade, denn man fühlt sich so viel sicherer.

Zu Hause muss ich mich jetzt schonen und mich warm anziehen. Vielleicht macht mir ja Margaret einen heissen Tee oder ich könnte mir einen Vitamindrink-Smoothie machen, damit ich wieder auf die Beine komme.