In this episode, I examine the complex topic of teaching children about war, specifically focusing on the Israel-Gaza conflict. Drawing from my personal background and experiences, I explore the intricacies of discussing such sensitive subjects in the classroom.

After that, something completely different as I preview my interview with Paudie Moore, The Teacher’s Coach, on maintaining teacher wellbeing.

I also touch upon the goal of achieving 400 multi-denominational schools in Ireland and the challenges involved.

Resources for Israel/Gaza can be found here:

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Hello? Hello. You're very welcome to if I were the minister for education, I regular podcast, where I look at the world of primary education in Ireland and let you know what I would do. If I were the minister for education, this is Simon Lewis on this week's show. I will be talking about Israel and Gaza and how we can teach about the subject of war in the classroom. I have an interview with Paudie more. The teachers coach. And I'll also be exploring how long it's going to take before we reach the government's target of 400 multi-denominational schools in Ireland. If you are interested in subscribing to the podcast, you can do so on your favorite podcasting platform, whether that's apple podcast or Spotify, or any of your other favorite podcasting platforms, you can also look and follow this podcast on my YouTube channel, where you can see some of the articles being read live, and you can also click and subscribe and be notified for those as well. If you are further interested in the podcast, I provide a lot of. Ah, a newsletter where I look at lots of other interesting stories that have happened in the world of primary education. And you can see those on my Feeley interesting Irish education stories, and you can see those there, and you can also subscribe to that on, where you can get an email into your inbox every two weeks with all my news and thoughts on the Irish education system, as well as some bonus material at including some ed educational technology advice. This week, I'm looking at the it's the end of the year. And you may, maybe the rain has come and sports day has been canceled and you don't have anything plans. I have an emergency geography lesson with the help of AI to help you through. So hopefully you'll enjoy that. So without further ado, let's get on with this week's program.

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So I need to talk about Israel. As many of I come from a Jewish background. And in some ways I've really been avoiding talking about. The terrible war that's been going on. In Gaza for the last number of months. And I haven't been avoiding it because for any other reason, That. I guess I've been a little bit afraid to talk about it because in some ways, I don't know enough. Like many of you. Who went to school? I also went to school. And I am. Unlike you, you probably went to a school which indoctrinated you into some way of thinking. Most of you probably went to a Catholic school and you would have been taught faith formation in Catholicism and you would have been raised. And in, in sometimes in very subtle ways sometimes. Very much deliberately in the fact that Catholicism was the true way of life and that worshiping Jesus with the Ray of life. And it probably has translated even if you don't believe in a lot of the messages or even a lot of the religious hostility of it. Or you hear a lot of people calling themselves cultural Catholics and which is a kind of a strange phrase because. In some ways, Catholicism, isn't an ETH ethnicity as such, but it's almost become cultural in Ireland in so far as you have many families who may not believe in God at all. In fact, we have lots of teachers, as from that the latest grace reports that don't believe in God and are expected to pass on the message of Catholicism and skills. And you have this very strange. Kind of situation and again as we leave, what is known as even the fact that we have a communion season in Ireland suggests that, the vast majority of people who reject Catholicism managed to and its teachings and its dogma. We'll still go through with allowing with. Making their children do sacraments and they see it as as not a religious event, despite the fact that it's a religious event. And, we'll talk about. I don't think there's an episode of this podcast where I don't explore the harm that can cause to families who don't go into this sort of, Strange. Cultural phenomenon that only really happens in Ireland where parents have essentially outsourced the religious reluct religiosity of the Catholic faith. So they can have a kind of a party. Once when the child turns eight where they thoughtlessly, don't think about the children that don't do that and have to sit at backs of classrooms. I was no different, in some way that I went to a religiously run school and myself, it was a Jewish school. And as part of going to a Jewish school, I was taught the Jewish faith as truth. And And as many of I don't believe in the religiosity of the Jewish faith. I don't believe in a God. I don't believe in much of the ad. The dogma and faith formation that I would have been taught as truth. I don't believe in prayer. I don't believe in. In the dieters, I don't believe it in any of the religious sort of things, which wouldn't be uncommon, as, as much as it's not uncommon for many of you who are listening. But you do get that sort of hangover, that many of you might have in terms of not seeing any harm in things that are actually harmful in many ways. Dash. I for example, these aren't harmful to anybody else, but myself, for example, I still can't bring myself to eating most pork products. I find that very difficult. And, There's no other reason other than the fact that for the first. 14 years of my life, when I did believe in the faith that I was being raised in, that pork was seen as dirty and bad food. And I remember, I actually even remember. And this is how rooted this sort of stuff is in me. I remember the first time I ate a pork sausage and I planned it. I was living in Galway at the time I was away from home and I was at, I don't even know why I was there because I believe it was some GAA event and I was in goalie on my own, and I saw a big plate. A pork sausage is he doesn't know what this cocktail sausages like. And I just really wants to try one. I really wanted to do this. It was almost like this kind of In fact, I didn't have a ceremony where I this is where I was finally going to, whip off the last shackles of the faith I was raised in. And I remember eating. sausage and going through it. I know that sounds very trite, but there's. But, you probably recognize a lot of this in yourself, maybe in Catholicism that for example, you're standing or you're sitting in a church in your finery or you've decorated your house and your child is going up to an alter in a sort of a mini in a communion dress. And maybe you see. What am I doing here? Why am I going through with this? You might have that thought. Of what am I doing this for? And, the sort of almost vulgarity at potentially of it, or maybe you don't. And so on. I'm not, I'm trying to be there's many Catholics who are very happy with their religion and absolutely that, I'm not saying what you're doing is wrong. It's just some of you who may have left the religiosity of your religion behind and are still going around thoughtlessly doing a Shanta. I'm not referencing anyone in particular there, but there was an article at this week, in the Irish times from Sean Moncrief who was going through his fourth child's communion. And seems to thought with the doers, without thinking of the potential harm that's causing to children, that might be in his daughter's class, who were sitting at the back of classrooms for half the year, while his child was going through. I suppose what he doesn't even take seriously as a religion. Both. The reason I'm telling you all this is background is one of the things I suppose that was, I suppose I know we'll call it harmful. Was the fact that in my school I would have learned I remember learning about Zionism as a concept from a very early age. And even growing up, I would have been, Sent to, youth groups in Ardennes that would essentially, be Zionist groups, the youth organization being one. I remember. I know that I would have had to. There would have been like the way you get trocars or boxes in your school, we would have had a JNF box where you would raise money to plant trees. In his order, we were told that was what it was for. I don't I'm sure. I'm sure there's no, there's Smart. It was four, but a lot of like subtle sort of stuff that you probably do yourself. The truck or a box, is to help the poor, but it is also to, as a missionary thing where you're also, get going out of town, there's missionaries out there, convincing people to believe in Jesus Christ and things like that. I would have had all that. And I would have learned the history of the state of Israel. And it, the struggle for that land. Because obviously from biblical times if you believe in those biblical times, that land has had many owners. Many people in control of it and to do many fights because obviously a lot of that land is seen by many symmetric religions as an older, a smidget religions, a holy land. Do you know, Jerusalem Nazareth and many other places that you probably know quite well. From if you've studied the Bible and I suppose. I would never have heard. The Palestinian side of the story. And that's what I suppose I want to get Ash here. And I haven't really, in some ways you, when you have when you grow up pungy, you try and learn a little bit about the the situation, the conflict, the wars, and that you. You have the freedom to look at it from a different perspective than from, and I've spent I've I suppose I've spent the last few years exploring the Palestinian story. And the Nakba, as I said, I'd never heard that word before. And I've listened to Palestinian voices. I've listened to Jewish voices who would have sympathies with the Palestinian because, and I've obviously listened and. I've listened to all my life. To the Zionists and. Sort of state of affairs and have come, to the conclusion that most Irish people, have come to that. You know that. The current war as it stands at the moment. Is absolutely a complete mess and all we are seeing. I'm what I am seeing is we have no good guys In charge here, we have a very right wing Israeli government that if it wasn't the state of Israel, we would be absolutely calling out for human rights, abuses and war crimes. And just because it is the state of Israel, I believe that isn't being called out. And on the other side, we have a group Hamas who are no better. A, again, a group of people who want to destroy peop. A nation And also we're religion and, they're part of, and I'll go into this a little bit more about at their aims. And then you have innocent people. Being killed. Absolutely. Just for no other reason because of where they are. In this world on this map. And it's not okay. And, I feel. I feel I have nothing much to offer if this was a beach, what I'm about to offer isn't even worth a grain of sand. And I want to make sure that I say that because all I am is just some. Some guy in front of a microphone who knows nothing really, who knows nothing. And I think a lot of us, are in that boat and we're in that brackish. And we have access to an international where we can state opinions. And this is just one other. And I suppose what I would say to you is the only thing you should take maybe a little bit seriously from what I'm about to say is maybe just as a, as another voice in this, in the many voices that are there. But more importantly, the resources. Done. I'm hoping that I might share with you because as teachers. I do feel we have a responsibility. Two. Look. At humanitarianism human rights. War. Even with children who are very young, And explore. Y war is never a good thing, or even acceptable in many ways. And how do we explore that concept? How do we explore the humanity or the lack of humanity when it comes to war and in particular, in this war? Where I think it's slightly different. Let's say to the Russia Ukraine conflict, where there's very much an agreement that there's good guys and bad guys in this. Whereas with Israel. And Gaza. There is by, obviously many people will say there's good guys and bad guys. In his book in some ways, this is slightly different because not everybody there isn't a collective or a universal agreements that Israel are bad guys and Gaza, the good guys. Some people will have the opposite view. And then some people have probably, maybe might have my view, which is sash. The leadership in both comps is. Is horrendous and and shocking and things need to stop because they won't, and I don't know how it's going to stop. If I knew that I don't think I'd have this job. But then in any way, So why now? Why am I speaking now? And in some ways is this. Is it. I think it really came from Michael D. Higgins. A couple of weeks ago, who basically came out to talk about the war in Gaza. And the fact that, a lot of people are saying, There's a. A lot of Jewish people saying they're feeling afraid. Of. Being in Ireland now, because they're saying there's a growing anti-Semitism in Ireland. And Michael D. Higgins said there is no antisemitism in Ireland. There is absolutely no antisemitism in Ireland. And I just want to just share a few tweets that I've been getting. In the last few weeks I grew up in Ireland now really rarely if ever having any antisemitism. At all, where people would use my ethnicity, which is Jewish. And to say, to. I suppose be racist towards me. Very rarely as I say, often joke when I in the summer, when I tan a little more easily than most Irish people that as a teenager at some summers, I'll be shouted across the road to go back to my own country. And I always was very happy to reply in a, in my albeit posh Irish Jackson's at, it was an Irish Jackson that I was already in. In my home country and every so often there might be a little bit of a thing that would happen. But in the last, A few months I'm on a weekly basis getting messages which are clearly antisemitic. There's just a few of them on the screen. If you if you're watching it on YouTube. And some of them are. Very interested, like jus detected being, two words that re were difficult to read. And just two to two words on. It's interesting, but then the other one that's there that's made me may make the decision to do this was as so condescending. This is from someone called a. Younger. So condescending because I dunno what I said. I just, I was speaking about multi-denominational schools, which I will be again in a few minutes. That I'm so dog condescending and don't you have Arab children to murder. It was the question that I was asked and. I just thought look. There is that there is this correlation. And yes, maybe. Maybe I should have spoken up earlier in this or said something earlier, but I just didn't see the point of it. And just with this, I said, look. The very small. Kind of number of people that might listen to this. Maybe they ask those questions themselves. I noticed, I would imagine that if I wasn't Jewish and I knew someone who was Jewish. The first question I'd like to ask them was what do you think is, what do you think about the Israeli Palestinian situation? And people have asked me that, when they see me and I tell them. Exactly what I've told you there. And I think I don't speak for the Jewish community by any stretch of the imagination. And in fact, I imagine I do exactly the opposite. But I'm one voice. As I said, and I suppose that's what I wanted to talk to you about. I've written about president Higgins and thinking about no antisemitism in Ardennes. And I just wanted to and essentially you can read a little bit more on, on those. On that, if you want to and I've put some links to other areas where there is anti-Semitism, if you're looking along, you'll probably see some imagery there. Dasha might give you, cause for concern, particularly the one I'm hovering on about there, which is images of Jewish people in. Fairly derogatory memes or whatever you might call them. Abbott, also some other examples of people who have got to talk to people who look Jewish in some ways, which is interesting without being Jewish. So I thought that was something worth talking about John. I know I've been talking quite a bit. I don't have a lot to cover, but I do want to talk about Israel. And I'm going to go through an article. I wrote on my medium [email protected]. About Israel, which has had some small amount of a reaction. And. At the cooks that this is bad things happen when good people do nothing. This is something one lesson I was taught in school. The one. Maybe. W in Ari, Google, a thing that you could teach to a Jewish kid in a Jewish school, because this was in the context of the Holocaust that. And I remember when I was very young. In fact, I remember it was senior infants when I first learned about the Holocaust. I dunno, people would say that's appropriate. But I remember, and I've actually written some over. I actually wrote a poem. Called six white candles. A number of years ago about my experience of being taught about the Holocaust and how weird that was for a six-year-old to learn about this death and 6 million people being killed because they were Jewish and in a way it was there. And this is taught to me, as I said, this was taught to me in a way to basically teach me to be afraid. And it's something I think. I could be wrong on this now, but a lot of Jewish people spend a lot of their lives afraid that this is going to happen again. And. And up being just for being Jewish. You should be afraid. And I remember through the course of my life. I I remember going to Israel. To represent Ireland in the Jewish Olympics. That is a thing. And I remember being, really interested in that. The main question I was asked when I was in Israel is there a lot of antisemitism in Ireland? The did this sort of obsession that people are antisemitic amongst, In Israel or anywhere you go and do you experience a lot of antisemitism and it is an interesting thing to me was the question. And and it's all down obviously to do with the Holocaust and so on. And. I guess I grew up in a very different time. When I was more conscious of Israel as a teenager, A much more peaceful time and I could be wrong on this. Again, remember I was only getting one side of the story. But I grew up in Israel with Yitzhak Rabin as the Theater of Israel at the labor party and more liberal form of Zionism. If such a thing exists where under was talk of a two-state solution, peaceful talks and gets our Caribbean was assassinated by a very right-wing Jewish person. And. At that time I've learned since that you had a very, a younger Benjamin Netanyahu. Stoking the flames of, this. It's idea dash Benjamin Netanyahu was actually going against this form of Zionism. That is now that we now know in the 21st century, that's very right wing, aggressive Zionism, where we were, where Israel is now a nation state. I think my last. Last kind of, I suppose. Bit of support or whatever that would be. I don't even think support's the right word for Israeli policy ended in 2018 when they introduced the nation state law. And I'll talk about that in a second, but I do want to say that when people speak to me about the Israeli Palestinian conflict and how I feel as someone who's raised in the Jewish faith, but also as an Irish person given the overwhelming support of Palestinian stage in this country, they often ask me if I feel safe anymore. And I just want to say. That I recognize the irony of that questioning because my safety. Is overwhelming me overwhelmingly at dwarfed when compared to families. Living. In fear for their lives every single minute of every single day. In. Gaza, it's, so I want to point that out before this becomes a kind of a, oh, I feel unsafe kind of thing. I know there's thousands and thousands of families, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of families that may never feel safe again. And I just want to say that Basically, I, as I said, I receive now at least one antisemitic remarks a week. Online Which I never did before the October 7th war that started and, as much as it makes me feel less safe. I don't feel unsafe. I think I've had to wonder what is it that makes me feel less safe. Let's say, because it's not pleasant getting onto symmetrical marks. By any stretch of imagination, it's never good for your ethnicity. To be to be pointed out. Or threatened or to feel that it's being threatened and to be looking over your shoulder. But my entire blame is actually lies with the Israeli government here. Because it's not Hamas that are making me feel safe or unsafe. And to be honest, here in Ireland and Israeli Jews might say. That's. They feel offended by me saying that, but as an Irish person living in Ireland and as a, as someone from a Jewish ethnicity, my lack of safety is lies. With the Israeli government who are relentlessly murdering thousands of people, supposedly. In my name. And then it's not my name. They have single-handedly turned a terrorist group, Hamas who are a terrorist group that nobody would have supported a few years ago into some legitimate revolutionaries. If you look at Hamas charter this from 1988 and it hasn't changed the day of children's will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews. When the Jew will hide behind stones and trees, the stones and trees will say, oh, Muslims. There is a Jew behind me come and kill him. Only the banter that goes on, but. You know it in that charter, this is the Hamas charter, which hasn't changed. They mentioned Israel quite a bit and how it should be destructed and they don't recognize it, but it also in 12 occasions, mentions Jews, people with the ethnicity of Jewishness. It's not. As David Baddiel has said in his book that even though he doesn't believe in God much like me, he would be still tomorrow. If the Castano came along, he would be murdered. Much like I would be. And this is, I suppose where the fear is that we know that's happening. But the only reason I suppose the fear is because Hamas are not a threat to me in Ireland is because of what Israel is doing to rise, Hamas up as a legitimate organization who. Quite bluntly. W R would make want to wipe out. Anyone who is Jewish. And to me in this war, As I said, there's no goodies bodies. There's simply victims. And unfortunately, what I want to press is a nation of people. One can only expect that nation to rise up, and we know that from our own history. I share Arden's recognition with the state of Palestine. We need at the moment, a two state solution, very much like what we have here. And I hope it will lead to convincing more powerful nations who actually have some sort of influence. It's interesting art and it's like me here in a way where nothing. Israelis don't care what Irish people think really. And do you know. And the same way as is I don't, no one cares what I say. But I guess if everybody is speaking agents some different way the hope is that you convince more powerful people, more powerful nations to support some sort of peaceful outcome to this artsy devastating crisis. Need to remember though the piece won't happen. Whether it's Netanyahu's government who are in charge or whether Hamas are in charge. We need to ensure that the right people are in charge of this is coming on. Now a lot of people, and I suppose the point of this really in a way, and this is going to be a bit of a longer episode than usual, but as it looks at things. Because I've a lot to say, a lot of people might ask me about my own opinion and they, and you'll hear this yourself. If you're someone who's out of Palestinian, solid Darcy March, or your, a lot of people who will be. Pro Israel in an inverted comments. Would've asked me this, ask me the same questions. That I have to ask myself. I always think it's important. To ask questions, no matter how uncomfortable they are. And one of the questions I'm asked is why Israel? Why is the world, why is everybody in art? And just focusing on Israel, there's genocides. The argument is basically there's genocides and wars and humanitarian crises happening all over the world. I just learned over the weekend of, loads and loads of other like genocides that are happening before our eyes that I'd never even knew were happening Brazil, for example a journalist, I obviously listened to over the weekend and to 60,000 black Brazilians murdered every year in the state of Brazil. I had no idea. It's absolutely nuts to hear that. But all these things are happening over the world. So why are the, why are you Irish? Why are you Irish? They'd say why? And the politicians, the media only focusing on Israel. And they follow. And the logic really from the point of question is it's downtown to Semitism, but yeah, Ireland is an anti-Semitic country. Now I know it isn't. But at the same time, I know. Antisemitism exists in the same way as racism exists in the same way as anti migrant center phobia exists, and we know it exists. I'm recording this. I said local elections are unfolding and we're seeing. And the rise. Are people who are anti migrant getting elected and they are getting elected. I know a lot of them aren't, but some are, I'm not quite as scary notion. But anyway, back to why only Israel, surely it's antisemitic, Baba, and, And they say they give examples. They say Yemen, China, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Iran, Afghanistan, and they list countries where there are absolutely massacres, humanitarian crises, genocides happening. And we hear very little of them and people. Even point out about the T shock, for example. It wasn't Miele Martin or Leah Recart at the time. I think it was the red car at the time he met when the Chinese premier came over to Argentina. And she shook his hand. And what is this saying when they're, when the Chinese are killing groups of people in China because of their ethnicity. We also have the Russian invasion of Ukraine going on with very little, the focus on that seems to have waned quite a bit because of Israel. And in fact, there's a growing animosity from some of these xenophobia people to Ukrainian refugees in our tanks to that growing right wing rhetoric. That's infecting us in this islands. I though Joan January to believe that Arden stance against Israel. As opposed to the other countries has anything to do with Judaism. Israel supposed to be a Western democracy. Whereas the others aren't I listed some of those countries there. You don't ever look at those as Western democracies. So it's only natural. I feel when a Western democracy behaves, unlike a Western democracy, it's only natural that we hold them to a higher account than we would to a country that is an autocracy or an autocracy. And I still think in art. And then I will see this. And Angie, you hear this on the radio, particularly now, as we're doing the local elections and European actions, we still consider democracy to be one of the most important things that we have in our Western civilization. And when it's being abused in the way that it currently is by Israel, we stand against it more strongly than we would. And whether that's a Christian stage and Muslim state or a Jewish stage, if they state that they are democracies, they need to behave like democracies. In my view, And I, so I hear many Irish people discussing. Apartheid. As well. So this is another thing I hear Irish people. Edwin speaking about Israel and they talk about apartheid free zones and they talk about, we need BDS, we need all this sort of stuff and there, and they asked me, and people talk to me about this. A very, again, when they're at, when they're happy enough to talk to me about it. And they're absolutely correct. And I don't know when they say it's an apartheid. An apartheid stage where they know when it became an apartheid zone and an apartheid country. And effectively. It became officially an apartheid state in 2018 when they enacted the nation state laws, which effectively makes all people in Israel who are not Jewish second class citizens. This is a nation state laws that Netanyahu brought in 2018. It was the last straw I ever had for any sort of. Sympathy. Or affiliation I had for an Israeli state, for the Zionist calls, if you want to call it a cause. And in my view, no country, no matter who they are should favor any citizen. Anymore than any other citizen. On the basis of any of the human rights that they would have. So there's in RND we have nine grinds for discrimination. And if anyone. Is treated differently because of one of those rights that is wrong, no matter what and Israel. Is treats. Anyway, it's basically said that there is a Jewish stage on the Jewish people are treated more favorably than other people and that's wrong by any stretch of imagination. And it is a par thought because it treats people on equally on the basis of their religion. And it's why I continuously campaign against our own apartheid in our primary education system. And because we have one and I understand that people only really care about apartheid systems when people are being killed and murdered, but in part fight system where citizens are treated differently because of their ethnicity or race. Doesn't have to become intolerable just when people are killed. Our primary education system is an apartheid one where in the vast majority of cases, I know people don't like to hear the word apartheid when we're talking about a primary education, isn't the same way. They don't like me saying indoctrination. In fact, lots of people switch off. When they say, when I say we have an indoctrination system in our educations, they prefer faith formation, It, but words matter. And and this is why people don't like it in the same way. As when I say skills, aren't inclusive. People jar with dosh because it's a criticism. And so nobody likes to be criticized, but. Just looking at the definition of the word apartheid it's when you treat people equally because of their culture, their faith, their race, their body, and things like that. So in our primary education system, which is an apartheid one, the vast majority of cases of skills, one faith is promoted over all others in 96% of schools in the same way as an Israel, that Jews are promote Jewishness is promoted over all other fates in its state. And we dress it up with the same propaganda that Israel uses. Users announcing that we're inclusive because we allow children of all fades or none into our schools. Israel will say that they are in a democracy they're inclusive because they allow, they you hear them saying 20% of the Knesset, the did the governments are Arabs. They're allowed into the the Knesset into the door, their equivalent of the door. But doesn't mean they're treated equally. No. Is the answer. These to the children in our schools are expected either except the doctrine being taught in our schools or to sit at the backs of classrooms as second class citizens in their own local schools. We, we've the app. So I'm going to give it, move on to another example. Our primary teachers unit, the ITO has a Palestinian solidarity group in the rightly. So I absolutely support that, but they're asking, they were asking their members to have a solidarity day in their schools on 5th of June. Then they asked schools to designate themselves apartheid free zones. You can see how I feel. That's quite ironic. I can imagine. People. Out there most Irish primary school teachers would have made board of, whether they did it or didn't do it on the 5th of June. They probably didn't think that they may very well be teaching in a parfait and in an apartheid system themselves. Again, I know. People will probably be very cross with me for saying that because, obviously, no one's been killed in our schools. No, one's being a ho no. I wouldn't say I wouldn't go as far as saying no one's being harmed. People are being harmed, but no one's been harmed in the same way as obviously Palestinian kids and Palestinian people are being, but it doesn't mean it isn't apartheid. And I just, I think it's important to point things out. I can't not say that, but. As I'm saying it. I'm doing something that I'm advising against now, which is politicizing things, politicizing schools, it's very dangerous. And we try, I think we tend to avoid it in our, and we try to not politicize schools and. I think. At schools. We need to teach children about politics. We need to teach children about injustice. We need to teach children about human rights, but we also need to be very careful when we're doing it. So for example, When we had the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We advise strongly. And I remember this very clearly. I'm sure some of you do is to always remember. That in schools, in our schools, we had Russian children. And they need to be as protected as our Ukrainian children who were also amongst us and also the new Ukrainian children who were fleeing this war. And in fact. Over the last 20 years, Irish schools or more have been welcoming refugees from all countries and asylum seekers from all over the world. And it's important to ensure that all children are protected from alienation. And it's an Israeli children have no part in this war no more than the Russian children. How did the Ukraine and it's incumbent that we don't forget that we have to make sure that we don't. Alienate A nation of people because of the acts of their governments. We don't, if you have any Burmese students in your school, you don't treat them, you don't treat them any differently. Did I say to Rohingya and children, if you have any of the Tamil kids in true. Untrue and Sri Lankan kids, you don't treat, you, we need to treat our children. It's not their fault that there's a war going on. We need to remember that we need to, we don't avoid discussing the horrors of war, but we need to remember that war is much more complicated than goodies and bodies. And I think that's the message I want to bring to this. There were many good Germans during the second world war that tried against hope to help Jewish people, escape Europe to safety. There are many Israelis and Jews who are demanding that the war. War in Palestine stops. As when it comes to any ongoing war in schools, we need to look at solutions not to take sides. And with that in mind and I'm sorry, this episode has gone much longer than it usually would. Get some solutions and if you're on YouTube there right now, you'll see some of these solutions and I'll just go through them very quickly. But I'm going to put links into my show notes so that you can also. Be able to use them if you like. There's. Really good. Really good resources out there for teaching about war. With a focus on Palestine and Israel and Gaza and how that works. And I'm including our Irish resources as well as some international resources. And the first one I'm going to show is one that's already six months old and it's a three-point guide to the conflict in Gaza. And it's the first place you should look as a guide and it's really relevant. And I also suggested you look at TRO CRA. CRA TRO CRA spent a lot of time. And one of their things, one of their main things I wouldn't normally recommend chakra because of, I suppose I have an issue with their denominational aspect, but their scooters sources are January very are excellent. And the tree of justice is a fantastic resource, which I'd really recommend. And trucker had to be very careful with how they presented their resources. Because again, they have the same dilemma that we have of they're not allowed to take sides. And I think it's very useful at that. That resource is very useful. I know their Irish resource is from the national youth council of Ireland, which discusses war generally with young people, which you can have a look at and then moving on at the British red cross, have a really good resource about your humanitarian work. And how you learn about the work that they're doing in Israel and Palestine, it's very well done. And then another one another Catholic agency. And I, this is it's interesting to me that I'm recommending catholic agencies are as good resources. As I said, there's nothing is ever 100%. Black and whites, a religion can be used. It can be a force for good. And I often say this and this is a good UK resource from a Catholic agency. Again, resources, that'd be very good for fifth and sixth class, which is a good age maybe to cover. This finally I think we have another UK resource from D E C S Y S from Yorkshire. And they've come up with some really good lesson plans and teaching resources might be good for senior classes as well. However. I would suggest. That the best thing you can probably do is outside of your classroom. Attends the protests. And the solidarity marches I campaign for peace in the region. I know it's a small thing to do, but get out and stand with like-minded people. Stop this atrocity. And be there and stand there and make sure you're there. But not only that put your hands in your pockets, if of all the things you could possibly do, put your hand in your pocket and donate to those humanitarian causes where real health can be offered to real people who need your. You need that money to survive in awful conditions, give them your money and make sure you do that. There's no point in throwing up stuff on Instagram or throwing stuff on social media about, and all the rest of it without doing any of that, by all means, put stuff on Instagram. But put your hands in your pocket as well, because we need to learn, you also need to learn. About the history of how he got to this terrible place. Don't simplify this. This is not a simple war. This isn't going to end. Just if Israel stop killing people, this is a deep rooted learn about the history of how Zionism has now been weaponized by very bad people to try and legitimate. Legitimize the massacre of thousands and thousands of people, and try to help people understand that Zionism and Judaism are not the same thing. Help people understand that Hamas and Palestine are not the same thing. There are enough victims in this war without making correlations that will cause even more harm. And I guess. That's where I might stop when I'm talking about Israel, I hadn't expected to go on for so long and I'm sorry. If some of it was difficult to listen to. And do you know what. As I said it is not even a grain of sand on the beach of. Opinion. It is an opinion. From someone. Who's in the system in some way. I might have. I know slightly different. Views, but not particularly different either. I hope the resources, if nothing else are useful to you, I do want to move on. A to. I guess later stories under, in some ways, and I am going to move computers, something completely different as Monte Python would say. Perhaps it deserves an episode in itself, which does. And I am moving on to a completely light but very important subject for teachers because all this is very heavy and teaching has become very difficult over the last number of years in particular with. Additional needs are causing a huge number of extra work for teachers at behavior in schools has become very difficult since COVID in lots of ways. Dealing with conflict in January and it's causing a lot of teachers to leave the profession where we are. I CA I do go on. A lot of by people who are leaving the professional. W who wouldn't have necessarily done. So the job of a teacher has become very difficult and you what makes it worse for me sometimes is people say, you need to look after your wellbeing without telling him how to look after your wellbeing. So I've interviewed a number of people over the last number of years around wellbeing for teachers. But I have. Often focused, on I. This is the main thing with the focusing on wellbeing of children, which is obviously very important. What about teachers? And I was very lucky to come across party Moore, who is a teacher, coach, teacher. And he runs the teachers coach on Instagram. Where he is actually interested in helping teachers to look after their own wellbeing. And I did a great, really good interview, which I've posted online. It's on the on show. You can find it on onshore. Nash on my interviews page is my 21st interview. And I talked to potty more about teacher wellbeing, but teacher fitness, and about being the best you can be being in this in a state of health, where you can be the best teacher you can be. And I'll just play a short clip of that interview. And now we're about a minute and a half where I ask. Potty, what can teachers actually do? To help with their own wellbeing. I'm going to play that. It's about a minute of it, but if you want to hear the full episode and I really recommend you do go on to onshore Nash. And have a listen it's it's worth, it's definitely worth your while.


I think that they're going to need to know number one, how to be able to put strong boundaries in place, how to be able to have a better work life balance so that they're not like we said earlier, burning the candle on both ends, bringing work home with them, and then showing up on maybe 30 to 40 percent battery at all times. They need to be, they need to be taught how to be able to create energy, how to be able to manage their energy so that they're going to be able to show at their best as a leader for their class. For their students, even for their colleague. I think that would be one, one thing that I would start with. Secondly, I think what teachers need is to be taught how to be able to have more helpful co op mechanisms in place. I think the job itself, as we said earlier, it's quite demanding, both physically, mentally and emotionally. And I feel that if you're not If you're not sure how to be able to re energize yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally, it's going to be very hard for you to give back at your very best in as well. And I think that without that knowledge, it's too easy to then turn to the unhelpful coping mechanisms. And that's why so many people that we deal with there, they struggle a lot with snacking, with comfort eating. Some people might even turn to alcohol to help themselves suit because they don't know any better way of helping to deal with that stress. Yeah. So I think that. Equipping teachers with strategies, with skills of how to be able to overcome these would enable them to be able to show up in

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a much better, in a much better way.

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So from I hope you enjoyed that interview. And I I recommend us to say listen to the full thing. And I just wanted to very briefly, because I can see where nearly an hour into this episode, but I re I, as I said, I really wanted to tackle the question and the questions that have been asked of me about Gaza and so on. And I said, it's something I've wanted to do for a while and never really found a way into it. But I said, I have now, but. Slightly linked. Is in terms of I, as I said, I argued that we have an apartheid. Ah, primary education system here in Ireland. And I was very interested in two things that came out. I know I mentioned very briefly at the first reading is. The report that comes out nearly every year. And it's wonderful. Wonderful to reapportion. I go on about this. I actually usually just summarize the whole thing as a full episode, but I'm actually going to give it less than five minutes today. Unfortunately. But I'd really recommended you look at it. It is at the children's lives, our children's schools that I've study and their report number seven has come out. And this time it is about number seven is about the sense of belonging. Sorry, it's not about a sense of what I talk about a lot of things, but one of the things it's about is about belonging. It's actually about wellbeing. So it nearly ties in quite a lot of what we're talking about today. I like when that happens. In, in, in my episodes of the stories, all intertwined among each other and they do talk about children's wellbeing. And it's actually quite good. If you read the report, it's not as bad as we all think. Now there are obviously problems, but children in schools to feel safe and that's really nice, but the chapter I was really particularly interested in. Was there sense of belonging school belonging in to page 27. And I mentioned this because. One of the re. One of the times in school where I feel. Belonging really happens in the school as when we all do something to gather. Where the school community comes together to celebrate. At this time of the year, many of you would be preparing to say goodbye to your sixth costs and you may have a graduation ceremony and all the school comes to gather, to say goodbye and wish the six cos good luck when they come into school. And another time in the year where we will come together might be a concert. Around Christmas timer in wintertime. At where the school comes together and the community comes together to celebrate. Being in school, in, in Catholic schools, that's usually through a, or in Christian schools, that's usually through a nativity play or through a Christmas concert in schools like mine and an educate together. We would have a winter concert where we maybe pick a theme and everyone comes together for that theme. We belong and the thing is, it's the idea of belonging to a school community. And I suppose I bought, I was very interested in, and it's the question, are you, I'm going to leave hanging in a way, because I've touched on it in the previous. It, when I was talking about Israel, Gaza and a, and an apartheid is how to do all children belong. When it comes to sacramental time in Catholic schools. And obviously the answer is no, and I know a lot of schools will do everything they can to make children feel that they belong. And I get this argument from a lot of conflicts. Principals who said, but we do, we, we include families in the ceremony where they could, they can go up to the priest and get a blessing. Or they can, they sing in the choir or they're invited to the ceremony. And the thing is, that's all lovely and it's all. And I can see the aspiration to try and include and help children belong. But they don't, they are. They are not actually in the community. They are visitors at this point. And this is something that's really important to me as a, as I, when it comes to school and this is a bit, and this is why I go on so much about this all the time. No matter how much you try to make a child feel that they belong in your school. If the structures that are in place, and these are not schools fault, but if the structures are in place where only some. Or even if most of the children are. Are part of that community and you were excluding even one child from that community because of their religion or because of their race or because of their ethnicity. Then we need to change the system because you cannot have this system where children don't belong. And I was interested in the CSL study. As to whether that came out, when it came to school belonging. As I have to say. I was disappointed. That it didn't, it's not in the report. And I was so disappointed that I contacted the CSL people on a presume when my, if an email comes from me To, to some organizations go, oh, no. Oh, no, not him. It's what's he going to do now? And I just asked them and I said, look, I love, I actually, I love the reports. I'm always going on about how brilliant they are. I know. I genuinely mean that, but I just asked him, look, I was interested. Did they get any feedback in terms of second year, second class and six costs and not idea belonging. And they have said, look, yes, they did get some feedback on us. And they're hoping to be able to share it, but obviously these reports can only. Give so much. And I think I would love, I suppose I haven't read what those things were, but they did assure me that it did come up and I hope maybe that will be shared at some point. And when it is. I'm looking forward to going through it and reading it because I do think that schools do a really good job. Of trying to convince people that they do. Make people feel that they belong in their school communities, even when they don't. And I feel, you have to be hyper critical of a system. Where you have. And I bring this back to my Sean Moncrief article, where you have someone like Sean Moncrief, who in some ways he ticks the no religion box in E. He, this is what he says. I take no religion in the census, but all four of my children have gone through the sacraments. And he's very unapologetic for it. In fact, he, sometimes he celebrates that hypocrisy. And he claims that the reason he does it is because he feels he's not anti-Catholic as if that's the reason he does it. It's not that he's, I my, my question mark, isn't about being an auntie. I, for example, my child didn't make the communion. Not because I'm anti Catholic and freight and parents on. I'm far from anti-Catholic. I, and, but the reason he didn't make his sacraments was because he's not Catholic. Simple as that. As not because he's against Catholicism or I'm against Catholicism. It's because he's not Catholic and no more than showing Moncrief kids. Are probably not Catholic. And he, in his article this year, he said, That the priests made them think about children all over the world who are not belonging into their communities. And so you referenced, without. Saying exactly where it was, but he referenced Gaza. He referenced. Ah, places outside of Ireland. And I suppose the question I asked him, or I am asking is what about the children in his children's classrooms that also. Are not belonging. And it's the question I asked to CSL as well. And some will say to me, put, look over time. It will be fine. It will be grand. And look, we're having more and more multi-denominational schools. And that kind of leads me to my final thought. My final thing, which is a press release from education equality. Wonderful organization. And as many people know the government are saying we will have 400 schools by 2030. And at this rate, they calculator, which I thought was quite funny or not funny. It's sad. What year. Got the rate that we've been going since this says, since the plurism patronage forum, what year would it be? When we do have 400 skills and foreign just goes, by the way, is 12% of schools by no means. Is this a quality. But it will be, we will all be dead long, dead. In fact, our grandchildren may be dead by the time happens. What. At this rate. We will get to 400 multidimensional schools in 2171. That's the year. At that rate and it's not good enough. And I guess the message I have for this episode is. There's a lot of stuff in this world. That isn't good enough. It's not good enough. That. We have a war going on. Where we have. Terrible people. Doing terrible things. To innocent people. And it filters down to this whole idea of bad things happen when good people do nothing. And we need to look at Israel, Palestine, we need to look at ourselves as teachers. In Ireland, we need to look at ourselves. We need to look at what we do here. We need to look at what we do. Everywhere. And we need to make sure that we do something more than tokenism, more than ignoring the bad things that are going on. And we do something about them. I'm not saying what I'm doing is doing anything particularly. This is all I have. Maybe this is what I can do. I don't know if it's. Again, I don't think it's, I don't think it's very much, as I said, it's not even a grain of sand on the beach, but it's not nothing either. So look with that in mind. I wish you all the very best. I hope this has been of use to you. And maybe this is maybe one of my more useful episodes. It's not just giving out. It's not winging about, I haven't even mentioned the minister for education. This episode boss. If I were the minister for education. I think. We could take a loss. From what's going on. In Arland in the world. And that we stand up for what's right. Whatever that might be. Thanks so much for listening all the very best. Bye-bye.

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