Teachers Inspire Ireland 2022
4 eileen curtin o neill edited

2021 Stories

The love of readingNurturing children’s passions

I can still remember being so excited and she would say ’only read one chapter tonight! Let’s try and stay together so we can discuss it and enjoy it together.’ As a teacher now (and) knowing the busy, busy schedule in a classroom, let alone with three levels to teach, I appreciate the thought and time and effort this took for the teacher.

Triona O’Callaghan is a teacher and her nomination for Teachers Inspire is Eileen Curtin O'Neill who taught her in first class in the 1990s.

“I was just a regular girl in a three-teacher mixed school. I had always loved reading. I enjoyed getting stuck into a good book.”

The school was Rockchapel National School, Co Cork and Triona said, “Our teacher noted there were a few children from the two classes who really enjoyed reading and she set up a reading group, it was my first experience of a book club. It was the highlight of my day at school.”

The teacher, Eileen, would go to Easons and “bring back novels that would suit our interests and reading level. It elevated reading to a new place for me. I read books at home. I enjoyed them. But this teacher would take the time to bring us together to discuss the novel. And would carefully choose novels she felt we would love.”

“I can still remember being so excited and she would say ’only read one chapter tonight! Let’s try and stay together so we can discuss it and enjoy it together.’ As a teacher now (and) knowing the busy, busy schedule in a classroom, let alone with three levels to teach, I appreciate the thought and time and effort this took for the teacher.”

One of her favourite memories from school was when the teacher would bring the children to sit at the teachers circular table for the discussion and they would sit in the chairs the teachers used.

Learning about nurturing children’s passions and investing time and effort to allow children to flourish has stayed with Triona.