Back to the Bridge

Last week Jenny May crossed over the Irish Sea to return to Oriel House and spend a week at Bridge21. We were thrilled to welcome back a good friend and true champion of the programme! During her final two years of undergraduate study at Trinity College, Jenny volunteered as a mentor on a weekly basis. She reckons that not only did this keep her sane, providing a welcome contrast with the solitary translation of medieval poetry, but it inspired her to pursue a career in teaching. A more perfect candidate to work with young people you couldn’t find. Here’s a few of Jenny’s thoughts on her time back at the Bridge….

My previous experience at Bridge21 as an undergrad student suggested that working with young people, with all their energy and potential, was a very exciting possibility for my future. Having recently qualified as a secondary school English teacher, I now know that this feeling was correct. Returning to Bridge21 with my newly developed skills and confidence was a brilliant experience. I worked on the Primary School programme for the week, where students from 5th & 6th class worked in teams to produce movies. Transition Year students were also  involved, returning to act as mentors and pass on what they had learned during their time on the programme earlier in the year.

Students from Scoil Eoin in Kilbarrack

Collaboration in action!

I was given the opportunity to lead the final 2 days of the programme, having mentored on the first two. I felt instantly comfortable in this role and enjoyed the chance to engage with students across the age range. It was clearly a very positive learning experience for all students involved. The primary students love working in teams and having the freedom to be creative. The technology aspect, an important part of Bridge21’s work, was just as successful with these younger students as it had been for the older ones, with many individuals demonstrating an astonishing level of computer literacy.


The maturity and capability of the Transition Years was particularly impressive: hopefully some of these talented young people will go on to become teachers themselves! Bridge21, with its investigation into the role that group work and technology can play in learning, is an exciting project to be involved in, whether as a mentor, a student or a teacher. I have used some of the ideas to create a project for first year students at the school I am currently working in, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they respond. It is projects like this, ideas like this, that can help drive education forward, giving a new vitality to the education system and engaging pupils to become life long learners”.

– Jenny May, 19th May 2011

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.