Archive for the ‘transition year’ Category

RM Column May 30th – In praise of Transitions

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

RM Column May 30th – In praise of Transitions

I have to admit I was not the slightest bit enthusiastic about the Young Wan doing Transition Year. I just couldn’t get my head around it, ‘WHAT, a year with no studying, real classes or exams! Is that wise?

For me it made little sense for students to stop in their tracks after the Junior Cert, surely they would get lazy, get out of the studying and working habit at a crucial age. However I was wrong and I am delighted to say that, for a load of reasons.

Firstly having a year without the stress of exams has been fantastic, seriously fantastic for both of us.

Given that the participants in Transition range are on average about 16 years old the year gives them the chance to grow up and mature, something that I have really noticed in herself.
Then, if the school has a good Transition Year programme, they get the chance to do all sorts of weird and wonderful things. I’m not saying there were not complaints from the Young Wan about the year but it wasn’t along the lines of what I would have imagined it to be.

She threw herself into everything, volunteered for everything and one of her complaints was down to this. She took part in an engineering open day in DCU and hated it. But the point is she did it.

One thing she loved was an open day in one of the hospitals, particularly the radiologist. Personally I think it has a lot to do with the fact they were x-rays of the more bizarre cases such as the man who swallowed a lighter.

She went on field trips, overnight hikes, media courses, she did all sorts.

This putting her hand up for everything paid off too. As a result she was asked by her year head along with two others to do a talk for the students coming into Transition Year to tell them what to expect. One piece of advice she said that I think was really important was that the students in her year who have complained about being bored are those who sat on their hands and did nothing.

She has flourished over the year; she has gained confidence in herself and in school. She knows more what she likes and what she doesn’t. On top of it she is a year older and a year wiser.
I’m not the only person who has noticed. A few months back when she was organising to take a media course, of which only three students took part, I was in contact with one of her teachers.
Up to now this meant she had been misbehaving or something negative. But not this time.
After her teacher and I sorted out the details of the course she then said that the Young Wan was really doing well and they were seriously impressed with her.

About time too, I thought, after all she is an amazing kid. Then the report came in and it was brilliant.

It was about this time I started to change my views on Transition Year, I could see all these amazing changes in the Young Wan, I may soon have to refer to her as the Young Woman!
At the end of the year they had a graduation for the year where they were presented with all the certificates of the things they took part in during the year and the Young Wan has an impressive folder following all her activities.

As usual I found out about it the night before and she was like ‘ach few parents are coming so don’t bother’ and I didn’t go.

Then I got an excited text from her saying that she was nominated by her teachers for student of the year, one of five students given the honour.

Of course I could have told them she was more than capable of this but I suppose this was something the school had to see for themselves and this year, finally, she has allowed herself to shine.

So I am very proud of her and delighted with how much she has enjoyed the year. If you are about to go into Transition Year be sure and take part in everything, you’ll enjoy the year more and you’ll learn more about yourself.

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The Young Wan gave a talk…

Friday, April 25th, 2008

THE Young Wan did a talk in her school this week about how good Transition Year is and how much she has enjoyed it. The evening was for held for the third year students and their parents to tell them all about the forthcoming Transition Year and they had three students talk about their experiences, one of whom was herself.

Just listening to her tell me about it, it sounds like she did brilliantly. I am VERY proud of her. If she keeps going on this vein I won’t have anything to write about her or in my column ;) I asked her to tell yourself about the evening and over to herself.

Howya? Well tonight i was talking in front of the whole of third year =S <----That described my stomach before i went on,and of course i had to go first just my luck, but it was fun when i got into it :D.

See i wrote a really good speech before hand sitting in my friend’s kitchen with her adorable kittens sweep and simba (Who spent half the time clawing his way up my skirt onto my knee).

I was really quite happy with it, and relaxed on the bus back to school. All the parents were going into the hall when i went to look for it…Yep you guessed it i lost it and had to rewrite it again, I wasn’t a happy hippo i’ll tell you that much. So anyway i finished it in good time with the principal’s fancy pen :)

So we listened to them blab on for a good bit and then the fourth year coordinator called me up first, I was a bit shakey at first but i got into it quick enough and i was comfortable after a while, I was telling them about all the courses we did and the courses i enjoyed and what being in 4th year was like. But i didnt know how to end it so it kinda went like *ehhhh……Tadaaaaa?*

That got everyone laughing :)

So yup i’m quite pleased with myself at the minute

Isn’t she great ;) Well done Honey. (Ooh and this is post number 700)

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RM column February 22 – Work Experience

Friday, March 14th, 2008

RM column February 22 – Work Experience

THIS week the Young Wan has been doing work experience as part of Transition Year and is doing it with the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA).

Part of me cringes at the thought and part of me thinks it is brilliant. It is not as if there are things that she will learn that I wouldn’t want her to I have always tried to be honest and open with her.

My cringeness is more to do with the fact that she is 16 and I do not want to admit that she is a young woman, she is still my baby but growing up fast.

Her work experience is also testament to how far we have come that her Catholic convent school allowed her to do her work experience there. And she is not the only one a pal of hers a fella is also doing it.

The things they are learning could well put them off sex and bodies for life.

The Young Wan saw the equipment needed for a smear test the other day and came home horrified saying when she grew up she would never have a smear test. I told her that all women must have smear tests but remember don’t cough or you’ll break yourself! After laughing at her even more horrified face I told her the truth that smears are not nice but necessary and they don’t hurt but are uncomfortable more because of the nature of it than how it feels.

Then they had to update the IFPA’s Bebo page and a pamphlet about periods, the fella cringed and repulsed from start to finish but fair play to him and the Young Wan who both seem to be taking this all very maturely while doing their best.

Our conversations in the house this week have been colourful to say the least, lots of talks about STIs (sexually transmitted infections), pregnancy, health check-ups and contraception.

I can imagine some readers may be aghast that I would allow her to go to do work experience in the IFPA but I have always felt that openness and honesty is whenever possible the best way to teach your children.

She was about seven or eight years old when she asked me ‘I know the sperm fertilises the egg but how does the sperm get there in the first place’. So while on one hand I may up to that stage not felt her old enough for the birds and bees talk when your child asks such a direct question it requires a direct answer.

One of the best things about telling her at that age was that she wasn’t embarrassed to talk about it with me, she was horrified at what I told her but she was full of questions.

A few years on would be a completely different story altogether, the last thing kids in their early teens want to hear is their parents talking about genitals and nookie. By then anyway it is too late, they have heard all sorts of things from their pals. I wanted the Young Wan to have the real facts and not nonsense spread by her peers.

The Young Wan has one more week to do with the IFPA and she has really enjoyed it so thanks to them for allowing her to come on board for the two weeks and to her school for being forward thinking and to my baby for being such a grown-up.

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What joy WHAT JOY

Monday, February 4th, 2008

OH what joy, WHAT JOY! I just got an excited phonecall from the Young Wan who has received her school report AND it is great! No herd of elephants flew by the window either so it must be true.

Some of you long-term readers (if there are any :) ) will know of my utter disgust when my smart girl started secondary school and I stopped receiving the reports I was used to in primary school. Before I would get reports or go to parent teachers meetings where I heard amazing things about my wonderful intelligent child. I was soo gobsmacked the first time I went to a parent teacher meeting in her new school, I was just not used to hearing about her not doing her best in school.

We had the Junior Cert and survived, with honours and all and just enough under achievement to boost herself into pulling up her socks without giving her a bad Junior Cert. After all if you don’t study and get good results you could be forgiven for thinking you are able to wing these things. At least with a low honours grade, the Young Wan was disappointed with her own performance knowing she was capable of better, I felt the same but still was delighted that we were not looking at repeating the year or some awful stuff like that. I don’t think I would have had it in me, it was stressful enough first time around.

And now she is really flourishing in Transition Year, of course that has a lot to do with no hectic studying, not that it was being done before anyway but she is really enjoying all the different classes. She is loving the opportunity of trying new things, work experience, you name it, she is loving it. So it is all good despite my misgivings about Transition Year.

And now the cherry on the cake is the deliverance of an *ahem drum rolls please* excellent school report. Methinks the Young Wan will be receiving some love in the shape of phone credit this evening. Well done Honey, I am delighted.

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