Sunday, February 2, 2014
I have been in Galway, Ireland for the past four weeks and I have been fortunate enough to have spent 2 of those days in a 1st grade classroom at Scoil Bride. The school is nothing like I expected and I think this has made the experience even more rewarding because everything is so new to me. This is now my third time student teaching in a classroom so I have a little bit of experience to compare. I have been in a second grade classroom in Brookline and a fourth grade classroom in Brighton, but neither of these experiences are very similar to my new classroom in Galway. The first grade classroom that I have been placed in is comprised of 12 students and the majority of them are boys. My CT informed me that this class is diverse in the sense that there are multiple students with different learning disabilities or just need more attention when completing tasks. Fortunately, the school has the resources for them to be taken out for individualized work and the small class size is very beneficial for this student body. The youngest grade I have been in was 2nd grade, but in this 1st grade class they move around for the two main subjects of Math and Reading. I have not seen this used in younger classrooms in the US, which I think is interesting because it seems to work out nicely in this classroom. It allows students with similar abilities to work together and it allows the teacher to get more accomplished due to the same level across the group of students. Another interesting aspect about student teaching is that they are in a bilingual classroom where the teachers speak English and Gaelic. These 6 and 7 year olds are speaking another language in their classroom and they find it very amusing that I can't understand what they are saying to me! Another interesting aspect about this classroom is that the students refer to my CT as "Teacher" instead of saying her surname. Also, I was introduced to her as Sharon, so that is what I am expected to call her. The school itself is very welcoming and I have enjoyed observing the classroom these last two weeks. The children are very friendly and have enjoyed having me in the classroom, which has helped me feel comfortable when helping out. They have been very open and have told me all about themselves, which is something I love about younger children! I now know when their birthdays are and how one student wants to travel to North America and go see Los Angeles! I have been helping my CT with explaining math and reading concepts to the children, but I am hoping to possibly teach a lesson in the near future. I think teaching a lesson would be a great learning experience and would continue to help the students see that I am also a teacher in the classroom. I can't wait to see what the rest of my student teaching experience holds for me, but I have really enjoyed my experience thus far!