When our school was invited to become a substation in the Weather Stations project towards the end of the last school year there was a vague understanding on our part that the project was something to do with climate change and writers from across the world. How we as a school community would engage with the project was not quite quantifiable, at least to us, at that point. Our school year opened with a presentation to staff on the notion of climate change. This provided a springboard for a storm of creative work that has seen our students from across the school working with two authors, Oisin McGann and Tony Birch. Our students have recorded podcasts of their weather memories in Rua Red. These podcasts have since become part of an art installation in Melbourne whilst the work of 1st Year, Jordan O’Toole, has been selected to be broadcast on Australian radio. Other students have visited the Civic Theatre to take part in a cli-fi debate. Still more got to visit the Science Gallery in Trinity College. Within the school, under the dynamic and creative guidance of a core team of teachers, students have been given opportunities to respond in a variety of ways to the issues and challenges raised by Weather Stations. Creative written pieces, tweets to Mother Earth, posters and a sculpture by 1st Years are just some of the ways in which our students have responded so far to the project.
A powerful aspect of the project is that both teachers and students can respond in a variety of ways. Some activities are whole-school based; specially designed lesson plans that are delivered to all students at a specified time or the suspension of class so that we can enjoy individual students reading their work over the school intercom. Other activities are driven by subject teachers with their own classes and this allows for individual, creative responses. The quality of the work is underpinned by the huge investment by the core teaching team here in school and the continuous support and encouragement of Tallaght Community Arts and Collective Action.
Our engagement with the project has been hugely stimulating and enjoyable. The response from both students and teachers is so positive and the success of activities creates energy for further engagement. We didn’t quite know where we were going when we set out on our Weather Stations journey but the trip so far has been great and we look forward to continuing to respond to the challenges of climate change over the coming months.
Ms Helen Taylor, Principal, Mount Seskin Community College, Tallaght, Dublin. Ireland