tús maith leath na hoibre

just do it

In primary school, every single story that we’d learn off by heart study, started off with the old irish saying “mar a deir an seafhocal, tús maith leath na hoibre”. A good start is half the work…

I rarely write in irish or even quote any irish, even though i know a bit. For me irish was destroyed by learning off comhrás in primary school. We’d get stories in irish printed on paper every week, we’d have to go away and learn them off by heart line by line, then recite them in class. The teacher would go round the room one by one getting each of us to regurgitate the next line of a story. Didn’t know your stuff and you were taken outside and whipped. Well ok, maybe that last line isn’t true 🙂 but the rest, unfortunately is fact.

The reason why i refer to corporal punishment is because just like whipping or caning, not being able to remember things was punished. Not physically but mentally. You’d get more homework or have to write the story out 10 times or something to that effect. I can vividly remember reading these stories line by line with the rest of the class out loud. Like an army exercise. Did i learn / remember them? Yes. But only in the short term, long term it did irreparable damage to attitude towards irish.

Bottom line was you had to comply and you weren’t getting away with not complying. In secondary school, Irish was trying to be sexed up (early 00’s) but that’s all it was, trying… for the leaving cert most people still had to learn essays and poems off by heart because they couldn’t speak the language properly. Which is disgraceful after 13/14 years of learning it. For many, they can speak better french, german or spanish having studied it for 6 years than they can irish having studied it for over double that length of time.

But we’ll save all that for a rainy day, getting back to the title… i may not have happy memories of that title but i can’t deny it’s truth… a good start IS half the work. In anything. For example coming up with that title for this blog post was hard, but once i’d done it, writing the content was relatively easy.

The week was my first week back in big school, college – 4th year. Education doesn’t come much more serious than that (well, it does but for me this should be the finish line) so it’s very important the start i make is a good one, especially if it’s ‘half the work’.

I’ve only really had about three serious classes this week which forced me in to note taking. The rest were either introductions or stuff not worthy of being written about. What i’m trying to do this year is to type out all notes i take in class. Daily. So far, so good.

Just like blogging daily, i feel this will help me to remember more. It will also force me in to paying more attention in class because i know i have to take notes otherwise i’ll go home and have to print off blank pages 🙂 So i suppose in a way, i’m actually whipping myself to work harder. Like a jockey battering a horse down the final strait, only i’m both the jockey and the horse…

7 thoughts on “tús maith leath na hoibre”

  1. its funny that you say you want to type up all your notes, thats what i am doing! The main reason is probably because it will help me for the exams because my handwriting is terrible and having the notes typed up will make the studying that bit easier.

  2. yeah i can’t read my own handwriting at times – it’s another reason why i prefer to type and print out my own notes 🙂

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  4. This is such a good blog, because i do irish in school. I’m in my 2nd year of secondary school, but i’m scottish. Moved here when i was tiny so i have to learn it. I had it, and where you said ‘many people know more german,french etc’ thats true, we were talking about this to our irish teacher today actually. We were saying that we could be saying some irish and have no clue what any of it means which is very strange. But thats life to we have to get on with it. Great blog. I found it by typing in “easier way to learn irish off by heart” Because, we have got about 30 words to learn for tomorrow and i’m so screwed 🙁 Our teacher also goes around one by one asking each a few of the words, Wish me luck! 🙂

  5. yeah i remember that in 2nd year – obviously they still teach it in the same way… we used to have to learn words and then construct sentences on the spot using them…

    ultimately, there’s no easy way to learn anything – it involves work of some sort but the problem with irish is that for the vast majority of people studying it, none will ever use it again or pursue a career in it, so it makes it very difficult to motivate yourself to study something which you’re gonna memory dump as soon as you leave school.

  6. yes, thats what my dad believes.. there isn’t much point of learning it if your never going to learn it. But its alot harder to learn a language when nobody else speaks it around you? I live in ireland now.. Its sort of terrible how nobody actually speak their own language anymore because if they all did. It would be alot easier to learn because you hear others around you and you soon pick it up, Irish is a very boring language to learn too. So it doesn’t make it easy.

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