I am pracing in Cork, Ireland at an all girls Catholic school in a 2nd and 3rd grade classroom. A drastic difference I have noticed when comparing the education system in the states with the Irish system is the view of teachers. In Ireland, the general public has a much higher view of teachers. Currently, Ireland’s economy is struggling and one place that cuts were made was in teachers’ salaries. This decision was partially decided because when comparing an Irish teacher’s salary to other countries it was drastically larger. In Ireland, it is also more difficult to become a teacher. When my CT was applying for the degree, she had to be able to sing, play an instrument, speak good English, and speak good Gaelic. Becoming a teacher in Ireland is considered prestigious and the teaching profession is more respected in Ireland. The general Irish public’s view on the teaching profession is much more positive than in the US.
The funding for schools in Ireland is also very different than in the states. In Ireland, schools in lower socioeconomic areas receive more funding than schools in wealthier areas. The school I work at is one in a lower socioeconomic area and with their funding they are able to afford for every student to have music, dance, and swimming lessons as well as other enrichment activities. The reasoning behind the current funding system is that students from wealthy backgrounds will be able to afford these enriching activities from their own means whereas students from less fortunate backgrounds would have a much more difficult time finding the means to participate.
The general feeling in the classroom, the way my CT interacts with her students, how the students respect my CT, and the community environment that my CT has created in the classroom are all ways that teaching in Ireland is the same as in the states. While my students here talk with a funny accent and use some different words, they all remind me of home. All my students in Ireland act and say things similar to kids in the states. All the Irish students love Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez and watch Disney channel just like Americans. Even across the world, a child is a child no matter where you are.