Posted by: politog on 11/20/2017 - 6:53pm

Week three underway.


It blows my mind that I have already completed two full weeks in the primary school. So far in my placement here I have worked in a special education classroom, in a 4th class, in a 1st class, in a 2nd class, and in a junior infants’ class. It is strange to me that they do not call them grade levels, but class levels. For example, the junior infant class is equivalent to a kindergarten class in the States.


While working in a special education classroom I have been exposed to many different teaching methods and differences. In Ireland, it is a law to only have a max of 6 students in a special education classroom with one lead teacher and two assistant teachers. That was something that shocked me. After having worked with a special education classroom in the States, over here they seem to have more physical and monetary support. The special education teachers once a week receive training where their classrooms are covered for day in order to have professional development. One thing that did surprise me though was a sensory room that was specific to allow the students who needed that kind of break throughout the day to be granted that opportunity. It is very progressive in Ireland in terms of their treatment of the special education program. Also, their classrooms in the special education program are separated from the rest of the school. In the states, it is not allowed to segregate those classrooms from the rest of the school.


I was also able to substitute teach this past Monday and Tuesday for a 4th class. In the states, a 4th class would be the same as the 5th grade. They were super rowdy since Paige and I were the substitute teachers, but they were super engaged in everything that we taught them about the United States. The principal wanted us to teach them about the meaning of the United States flag, a bit about the 50 states, the pledge of allegiance, our national anthem and about the meaning of thanksgiving. The classroom involvement and the higher-level thinking questions about all of these topics blew my mind. They were so curious about everything and were even more excited to teach Paige and I about some of the things that were important to their country.


My favorite class to have worked with so far has been the junior infants. In the United States that would be considered a kindergarten classroom. These children have my heart. They are so bright and the most well behaved of students in the entire school. This is all thanks to the amazing teacher that I have gotten the chance to work with. Her classroom management is one for the books. Throughout the rest of the school there seems to really be no classroom management or anything along those lines. In this classroom, the children know to switch between activities with the simple reciting of a nursery rhyme. I am also learning a bit of the Irish language while being in the classroom since it is at such a beginning level. The children think it’s hilarious when I try and say anything in Irish though. In the younger grades, they partake in this program called Aster. The point of this program is to teach children through play. So, throughout the week each table group travels through the 5 different stations. There is a weekly theme that the stations are working with enhancing student understanding on. This past week the theme was super market. One station was where the children were role playing while playing grocery store, one station was cutting out images from a grocery store catalog and pasting them in their “trolley” (shopping cart), another station was using building blocks to create their own super market and role play as well, another station was working with a teacher on drawing different lines, and then there was a literacy station as well that allows more work with the teacher in a smaller setting.


Something that I have also noticed while being in this school is how there is a lot more room for creativity within learning. The students are always being asked to solve things that are outside the box, and creating things with art materials, or solving problems with anything other than paper and pencil. Students also have two breaks throughout the day: one 10min break in the morning after snack time, one 30min break in the yard after lunchtime. The children are allowed to actually be children while also learning in a more fun way. There also isn’t a cafeteria in the school, so the children all pack their lunches which contain the healthiest of all lunches that I’ve ever seen. Hardly any child brings anything processes. The lunches contain mainly fruits, veggies, and rice cakes. There are also no juice boxes, but every child carries around just a water bottle.


Teachers also don’t come any earlier than they have to, and leave right when school is over. That has been the most shocking thing to be I think. Since the school days in Ireland start at 9am and end at 2:50pm you would think they would come early and leave a bit later. Nope. Teachers here seem to actually have a life during the week which is kind of a foreign concept to me. In my last internship in the States I was there at 7:20am and leaving some nights at 6:30pm and that was with me just being an intern. I hope and pray that I am able to find that balance whenever I start my first teaching job and can also have a life outside of the school during the week.


I have also traveled with the group of 7 other girls I came with. We have been to Galway, Western Ireland. There we saw the Spanish Arch, the Cliffs of Moher, the Galway Museum, the Galway Cathedral, St. Nicholas’s Church, Dunguaire Castle, the Aillwee Caves, O’Brien’s Castle, and stayed at the cutest bed and breakfast.


This past weekend we decided to head to Northern Ireland, Belfast. We took the DART into Dublin where we hopped on a 2.5-hour bus ride to Belfast. There we booked a hostel, where I ended up not staying because I’m a diva, so a couple of us stayed at a hotel down the street. There we saw a lot as well. We went to the Titanic museum, Queen’s University, Ulster Museum, the Belfast Botanic Gardens, Donegall Square, Carrickfergus Castle, the dark hedges, Carrick Bridge, and the Giant’s Causeway.


This upcoming weekend we are headed to Edinburgh, Scotland! I have no idea what we are going to get into and see while we are there, but I can’t wait to post about it this weekend whenever we get back.


The following two weekends after that consist of a trip to Dublin and then off to Barcelona, Spain for the last few extra days that I am over here!


I really cannot believe that we only have the rest of this weeks with two more weeks to follow and then it’s already time to head home. 





Posted by: utleycw on 11/20/2017 - 10:42am

      This past weekend Deanna and I traveled to Nice, France and SanRemo, Italy for the weekend. We left Friday evening after school and came back Sunday evening. Nice, France was quite an experince. We had crepes for breakfast on Saturday morning and fresh squeezed orange juice. We tried to use as many french words and phrases as we could but struggled a bit. The locals thought it was funny and were very helpful. We ate at a local cafe for lunch and found the prices to be quite different from England. For one they use Euros in France whereas in England they use pounds. It was neat to see the differences. That afternnon we visited local french markets and walked along the beach. The beach in France is quite rocky and the ocean was warm. On Saturday evening we took the train to SanRemo, Italy and met some family friends there. My family friends are locals of SanRemo, Italy and quickly started showing us around. 

     Saturday night we ate at a local restaurant which had seafood, pasta, pizza and more. Switching from speaking French to Italian in the same day was quite interesting. After dinner we rode with our friends to their home to spend the night. Their home is beautiful and overlooks SanRemo. We awoke Sunday morning and had fresh croissants and Italian nutella. To say it was beyond delicious would be an understatement. We then headed out to explore Italy, we walked along the cobble stone roads and through the buildings. We visited 2 Catholic churches which were breathtaking. Then we headed into town to rent bikes and bike along the coast. We walked on the beach and put our feet in the ocean. It was FREEZING! But the views were too beautiful to pass up. After we returned our bikes we headed to lunch at a local cafe. Deanna and I shared pizza and spaghetti carbonara. It was so good and i'll never look at pizza the same way in the United States. We had gelato after lunch and it was delicious. Then we headed to the train station to get to the airport for our flight. Our weekend was crazy busy but overall amazing. 


Posted by: noltede on 11/20/2017 - 10:36am

Hiya! Bonjour! Ciao!

Catherine and I really got to get hands on with the girls this week. From taking small groups of girls during school to work on maths or spelling, to leading Forrestry School and Chess Club, it's been a really great experience this week. Thursday evening, we went to the year 5 play, which was super! One class did a play based on Remembrance Day and the other class did Aladdin. The probs and acting were so wonderful and it was really nice to see everything come together for the girls.

Friday evening, we flew to Nice, France and stayed there for the night. The coast was really beautiful and the architecture was breathtaking. We walked around some of the outdoor markets on Saturday before meeting up with Catherine's mom and heading to San Remo, Italy by train. I could have stayed in Italy forever. Words cannot describe just how amazing the culture, views, people, food, buildings, etc. are.

Today was exhausting as we got back into Wheathampstead late last night, but as usual, the girls livened me up and we had an eventful day. I helped during a year 6 maths class, where girls were going over a test they took and reworking problems they had missed, practiced adding and subtracting with negative numbers in year 5, played with fractions in year 3, ate the most delicious lunch, and studied the periodic table in science with year 6!

I can't believe we're already on week 3!

Posted by: russellms on 11/19/2017 - 9:04am

Week 2 is complete and I am constantly amazed at how fast time is flying by. School this past week was a lot easier for me after the first week of adjusting to new routines and rules. I worked a lot with junior infants (4 and 5 years old) and I absolutely love that age! Kindergarten is an age I love at home, so I am fitting right in with the Infants here. On Thursday I was able to help out 6th Class with their Science Fair which was an amazing experience. The class was divided into 11 groups the previous week and were allowed to each design a science experiment to lead at the school science fair. The students spent a week and a half preparing their lessons and then presented them on Thursday to the 2nd Class. I loved seeing their excitement and enthusiasm about their lessons, and I loved seeing the younger students become so interested in science.

I absolutely love how the entire staff at Bray School Projects gets the same "break" and the same lunch time. During this period of time, we all meet up in the staff room and share coffee/tea and some sweet treats. During these breaks, the children are in the yard playing with a certain yard volunteer. So children here in Bray are receiving two recesses which I think if of great benefit. I have noticed (especially with the younger students) that there are many more movement breaks than we have in the U.S. I think this is beneficial to the younger students because it allows them time to rest and take a mental break periodically during the day. 

Thursday was my last day of school for the week because my grandparents flew in from South Carolina on Wednesday. On Wednesday and Thursday after school, I was able to show them around Bray and take them to some shops and restaurants. They loved seeing Ireland and experiencing all the culture had to offer with me. On Friday morning we woke up (at 2:45am) and boarded a plane for Rome, Italy!! My grandparents are from Italy so it was an amazing experience to travel there with them. We spent Friday touring the Vatican and eating Italian foods!! Saturday we woke up and saw the Trevi Fountain followed by more yummy food and gelati! They left this morning (Sunday) to head back to South Carolina. Even though we have only been here two weeks, it was amazing to see some family!

I cannot wait to see what Week 3 will bring! I will have a full week of school and then leave Friday evening for Scotland! I am so thankful I have the opportunity to explore so many neat places on the weekends!


Posted by: harrisonka1 on 11/17/2017 - 2:19pm

This past weekend we took a Trip to Western Ireland to Galway, Galway Cathedral, Spanish Arch, Dunguaire Castle, Aillwee caves, and Cliffs of Moher. All of these sites were simply amazing!

On Monday I started back out in my Junior Infants (Kindergarten) class before getting pulled out and moved to first class (2nd grade). While in first class I did a lot of observing student work. The classroom management in this classroom was extremely different from any class I have been in. The students were allowed to talk and get up and move around whenever they pleased. No matter what they were doing the students seemed to have free range and do whatever they wanted to. During lunchtime the students were running around while eating their food. There was no expectations or structure what so ever. This was extremely hard for me to just sit back and watch. Next, I got to witness a class going to P.E. Here the teacher of each class takes their own class to the gym on their assigned P.E. day. It is up to the teacher to come up with what they will do with the students during this time. This teacher let the students play tag and then did some relay races. It is much different.

On Tuesday I found out 5 minutes after arriving to school that I would be going on a field trip with 5th class (6th grade). It was much different than our field trips here because we took all 57 students on a public transportation bus to another town and went on a walk in the woods. Since it rains everyday here the trail was a bit muddy so we came home with 57 muddy students including myself as well as my boots that I wouldn’t have worn if I had known I would have been playing in the mud all day. It was an interesting day to say the least.

On Wednesday I was back with my favorite Junior Infants. I led an Aistear group where we worked on sequencing and putting pictures in order of how they would take place. After sequencing I went over all of the sounds with the students and had them tell me words that started with that particular sound. The kids were so hyper and wild all day you would have thought it would have been a full moon.

On Thursday I was with the Junior Infants again. I led a different Aistear group where we worked on vowel consonant vowel words and then blending our sounds together to form words. The students really struggled with this. There was only one child in the whole class who could actually say the sounds and blend them correctly to say the correct word. This was extremely interesting to see where these kids are at compared to the children in NC at this age. After school my teacher and I planned new station activities for the Aistear hour for next week.

Today I was with the junior infants again. It was a great day although the kids were extremely excited because they got to bring in toys from home for show and tell. They get to bring these toys in every Friday and play with them the last 20 minutes of school. I also led another group during Aistear hour working on CVC words with the students. I can’t believe how fast this week flew by! Were off to Northern Ireland this weekend to site see and explore Belfast! 

Posted by: wilsonhl1 on 11/17/2017 - 1:45pm

I learned something new this week, Ireland has one of the best educational systems in the world…I had no idea! It’s almost a little hard to believe seeming that the classrooms sometimes feel so disorganized. I honestly have a difficult time still trying to cope with the lack of discipline and overcrowded classrooms. Often time’s, students will misbehave because they know they can, as there are no consequences to their actions, only rewards for good behavior (as a whole or in groups, no individual rewards). With that being said, the students are starting to get to know me and vice versa. Building relationships with the students has really helped me in the ability to control/work with some students.

On a different note, I had my first cultural/language barrier when I was playing a game with the students. I told the kids to run to specific places based on the colors they were wearing. To make the game harder, I chose specific clothing items and colors. However, when I said, “students with mud on their pants need to run” I was surprised when none of the boys moved (as earlier they had played outside and slid in the dirt). Each student stared at me like a deer in the headlights. I soon came to realize that I was using American terminology and should have said trousers. To make matters worse, pants is what they often refer to as their underpants. So, when I told students to run if they had mud on their pants, the students thought I was talking about their underwear! Oops…

Posted by: reepkm on 11/17/2017 - 11:56am

What a week it has been!  It all started with a trip to Galway (western Ireland) last saturday.  We caught the train into Dublin and then took a 2.5 hour bus ride into Galway.  Eventhough it was rainy, it was beautiful and there was so much to.  Galway is like a irish Charleston with tons of shops, resturaunts, historicalsites, and pubs.  We started out by checking into our bed and breakfast and then we went touring and shopping.  We went into Pennys which is a widely popular clothing storein Ireland, then we went to see the Glaway Cathedral, and then the Spanish Archs. Everything was beautiful and so lively.  That night, we went to experience the Irish culture in the pubs and watched a rugby game.  On sunday, we hped on a tour bus and went to tour thr cliffs of moher, the caves of Alleway, a castle, and Ireland's west coast.  The Cliffs of Moher was definitely my favorite.  I had seen them in movies and in pictures but that doesn't do justice to what you see in person, they were magical.  

On Monday, we headed back to the school. I was moved from senior infants to 2nd class.  At first I wasn't so sure about the move, however by the end of the week I became apart of the class and truly love going to 2nd class everyday.  Tuesday, I got to experince a field trip with 6th graders.  They were learning about different types of leaves and trees so we went on a nature walk. The field trip was much like what we would do in America except we took public transportation to get to the nature walk.  They were all so shocked that we have certain buses (activity buses) to haul children to and from one place to another.  During the week with 2nd class, I got to lead an art lesson.  I had the students paint a winters night and draw a trees with charcoal and then add glitter for a frost effect.  They turned out beautifully!  I also taught 4 PE lessons that introduced them to kickball and baseball. They really enjoyed kickball.  

I am learning that the school is very different comparedto schools that I have been in.  This school has a socialists approach on dicipline and it has been a challenge because they simply do not believe in diciplining a child unless they absolutely have to.  This means they only reward good behavior for an incentive to behave.  After observing this behavior management strategy I see how it works for this school but it may not work for other schools.  For this to work, the whole school including every single teacher has to be on board and they have to learn to be extremely patient.  So for me, this has been a learning experience on how to manage chikdren's behavior in a way that doesn't neccsarily involve dicipline. 

This we are heading up north to Belfast, and I can't wait! I'm also really excited to see what the next week at the school has in store!

Posted by: gilbertsa on 11/17/2017 - 10:57am

Week two is through!

This week was filled with last minute schedule changes, teacher workdays, and field trips. St. Patrick’s didn’t have school on Monday due to them having an “In-service Day” aka a teacher workday. The teachers at the school traveled to another school and participated in the activities that were held there.

Tuesday was the start of the week for me in school and I found myself getting pulled out of the Senior Infants class at the last minute to be a chaperone for the 5th class field trip that was happening that day. There was an issue happening in the school that led to another teacher not being able to go to Bray and experience Sea Life at Bray. Sea life was an aquarium that sits upon the beachfront in Bray. It was a fantastic chance to learn more about the ocean life that surrounds Ireland.

On Thursday, I also had the opportunity to go on another trip with the school. This time there was a group of students that ranged from 3-5th class who were participating in a Hurling Blitz. Hurling is one of the Gaelic sports that is played in Ireland. The game is similar to floor hockey and is normally played outside with 15 players on each team. The Blitz that the students were participating in took place indoors and they only have 7 people on each team. During the Blitz itself, teams would partake in 5 minute matches where the players were focused on their skill development rather than the scores. This was one of my favorite experiences thus far because I was able to witness one of the National sports of Ireland. Many of the students playing in the game I teach throughout the day so they were excited that I was able to watch and they were very willing to tell me exactly how the game worked.   

Wednesday and Friday were the only two “normal” days of the week in which I was in school throughout the entire day. Every day I am learning more and more about how things work around the school as well as how they use different strategies to teach. In every class that I go to I teach comprehension in small groups. Since I am apart of so many different leveled classes it is interesting to see how much the students grow from senior infants to 4th class. We are doing two different novel studies in the 4th classes so I have ended up with the homework of reading both Kensuke’s Kingdom and Marley: A dog like no other. I enjoy both 4th classes a lot due to their interest in the books we are reading as well as the interest they have towards what life is like in America. Every day they are full of questions about what I call things and what life is like. I always take about 5 minutes each day to talk to them about America and teach them a few things.

I am still in shock that we are already at the end of the second week! Time is flying by and there is still so much to learn and see in Ireland.   

Posted by: garykerstettersl on 11/17/2017 - 7:33am

Through out the second week I find myself continuing to settle into the routine at my new school, the schedule is so different than anything I am used to so it is taking me a little longer than normal. This second week of school was quite enjoyable, I was able to part take in some more physical education classes which I enjoyed, in the last two classes that of physical education I had the opportunity to lead a basketball lesson. I had a great time teaching basketball to the students, many of the students have never played before and only watched it on TV, so it was interesting seeing their sckill level even though the students were 16 years old. I had to start at the pure basics when I was teaching these students basketball even though they were high school aged students, it was a totally different thing than you would see back in the States. Having been here for two weeks in Karlsruhe I have had the opportunity to explore the city more and become more comfortable with the public transportation, I have found it is so easy to get from one place to another without having to drive or even bike. Getting into town takes no time at all and is so cost efficient that it amazes me that there are not more public transportation systems like this back at home. Over the last weekend I had the opportunity to take a trip to Strasbourg France, it was such a quiant little city. Strasbourg is one of those cities you expect to see when you go to Europe, it has the houses that you see on brouchures and the streets in which you are able to walk everywhere on as well. My friends and I believed we walked down every street and alley over the course of the weekend, we were joking that we knew the cty more than the locals with the amount of ground we had covered, but had anyone asked us where a specific place was we would have looked at them as if they had four heads. It is amazing to me that I am able to hop in a car and be in a totally different country in less than an hour, or hop on a plane and fly for an hour and be in London. There are so many places to see and adventures to be had over here in Europe, I hope I am able to accomplish a fraction of all the possibilities.   

Posted by: milesle on 11/16/2017 - 11:07am

School is going great! We're starting to teach more activties and soon we'll be able to teach full lessons! We were invited into the fifth grade classrooms and boy do those kids have a lot of energy! They were so excited to meet us and asked us so many questions! Our schedule has gotten easier for us and we're no longer jet lagged like last week! I'm finding out a lot about myself as an educator and I'm really getting to know more about Europe through the students. Gutenburgschule school is made up of a variety of students from different cultures. We're not only learning about the German culture but many other cultures too.

In 10th grade, we hold discussions for students to practice their English and ask us any questions. I'm always surprised about how interested the students take in the United States. We've had some great discussions like the differenes between our school systems, what Universities are like in the US, weapon laws, Thanksgiving, and of course, President Trump. These are topics our students came up! They are very curious and it's interesting for me to hear what other countries know and think about the United States.   

Last weekend, Deanna and I traveled to Fussen, Germany to see the Neushwanstein castle and it was beautiful! The little town was adorable and very authenic! Our hostel was in Olde Town and it felt like we took a step back in time! The buildings were amazing and the streets were all coblestone. We had such a fun time even though the weather wasn't the best! This weekend we're off to Paris! 

Here's some pictures from last weekends trip!


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