It is easy to describe a typical day in the 5th class at Scoil Bhride. In the last nine weeks that I have been observing, I have noticed very little change in the schedule for Wednesdays. The days, even to me, seem really long. I think the days seem so long because the students never switch classes, and my teacher is able to manipulate the schedule so that she can teach each subject for as long as she wants. The day will normally begin with Irish, and then transition into Math, and then English. The only thing that splits up these lessons is the two brief breaks that the students get to go outside. The same kids are pulled in and out of the class throughout the day, and one child with special needs works with a specialist in the back of the room independently for the whole day.
Instead of going deeper into a description of a typical day, I want to tell you about another experience I have had. One thing I found interesting was my not so typical day! My first eight weeks seemed to be identical and routine, however, being in Ireland around St. Patrick’s Day has created some not-so-typical days in my class. In March, I have been fortunate enough to experience Irish culture at its finest. As you all know, St. Patrick’s Day is March 17th. In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is recognized as a national holiday, in which all schools have off. At Scoil Bhride, the students are encouraged to take part in the annual Galway St. Patrick’s Day parade. Throughout March, the students have been practicing for this. It is very important to all of the students, as they are all given different roles. Being the older kids, my class was given instrumental roles. The majority of the 5th and 6th classes play the tin whistle, while some also play the drums and accordions.
A significant amount of time is devoted every day for them to practice independently and together. This is something that the kids truly take pride in. I was fortunate to sit in on some of the practices and it was breathtaking to watch. I had only ever seen these students in a classroom context, at their desks working academically, but seeing them in a different medium was such a cool experience. I was amazed at how well they sounded. They were focused and excited. The music teacher has been working with them a lot, and they all take her very seriously. They carried their instruments around proudly and were very eager to tell me about the parade and their importance in the ceremony. Today, which is the day before the parade, all of the students participating in the parade gathered outside in the parking lot. They marched around the neighborhood of the school proudly rehearsing the songs for the parade. Cars and busses pulled over and waited as the kids crowded the streets with what was essentially the “dress rehearsal” for tomorrow. Many of the residents living around the school came outside on the sidewalk to listen to the music and support the kids. Some of the other student teachers and I were able to march with them as they practiced. I am happy that the school puts such an emphasis on community and taking part in the parade for their community and representing their community. I’m really excited to see them marching tomorrow in the parade!
This will be my last post as I finish my observing next week. It has been a very eye opening experience observing in another country. I am excited to continue to read this blog and learn about everyone else's experiences! I have learned a lot from both my CT and from the students, and I look forward to taking my experiences with me and using them to improve my teaching styles and improve me ability to adapt to the needs of all of the children I will encounter.
Thanks for reading!