This oral history interview is an intimate conversation between two people, both of whom have generously agreed to share this recording with Oral History Summer School, and with you. Please listen in the spirit with which this was shared.
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This interview with Orla Riedy was conducted remotely on April 30, 2021, while Annelise was in Berkeley, California in the U.S.A and Orla was in County Kildare in Ireland. Orla is a teacher of English and Irish language and literature. This was Orla’s second interview for the Education Narratives Project. It was evening for Orla when they spoke and morning for Annelise. Orla was at the beginning of a three day weekend--Monday, May 3rd is a bank holiday in Ireland. In the interview, Orla discusses her experiences teaching both remotely and in person over the last several months. Her school closed following the winter holidays to respond to a surge in COVID-19 cases in Ireland, then opened back up in February. Orla shares that being “open” doesn’t mean things at are back to what they were like pre-pandemic times. Orla describes the precautions her school has designed to keep students and teachers distanced and reflects on how they have impacted her ability to connect with her students and for them to connect with one another. In the second half of the interview, Orla talks about a communal feeling of sacrifice and responsibility she’s noticed in Ireland. She describes her faith in the Irish government and her approval of how they have managed the country during the pandemic. She describes the slow pace of vaccinations in Ireland and briefly mentions Europe’s struggle to secure sufficient doses of the vaccine. The interview closes with Orla’s reflections on her renewed belief that personal connections are the backbone of education.
Annelise Finney is a European American cis-woman, born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She currently works as a radio journalist covering reparations in California and breaking news in the Bay Area. Previously she worked as defense investigator for public defenders offices in New York City and San Francisco. She is an alum of the 2016 Oral History Summer School. She is also an avid sewist, hiker and cook.
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This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.