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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Final Reflection on Teaching in Ireland

Thinking back on the last few weeks of my teaching, I am able to recognize just how incredible my experience teaching abroad has been.  I loved my time in Cork, especially in the halls of Presentation Brothers College.  Through teaching abroad, I was able to critically examine conventional American educational systems against a worthy and similarly effective, but very different system.  While the United States has grown towards a liberal arts approach, allowing more expression and diversity in coursework, the Irish education system provides a more structured approach, encouraging students to focus on a particular direction of study directly related to their career paths.  It was also very interesting to be in an environment where all national schools are religiously affiliated, because they exist in a country that holds a national religion - Catholicism.  Being exposed in such a unique environment allowed me to compare and contrast it to my own, illustrating strengths of the school system in the United States, as well as areas in which it could improve.
Leaving Cork was a very difficult thing to do, and I am very grateful to have had my time at Pres as part of my abroad experience.  The boys were very open to learning about American culture, and made my ability to understand life in Ireland much more fully.  I know that in the future I will be able to use teaching abroad to more fully enrich my own classrooms.

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