This semester has presented me with a great opportunity to view the education system through the eyes of another country, and has left a lasting impression on me. I loved the time that I was able to spend in my CT's classroom, and learned/reinforced teaching strategies that I have been learning at my time at Boston College.
My cooperating teacher provided me with good insight on how to maintain a controlled classroom. She likes to keep a quieter classroom, and achieves this by constantly having the kids doing an assignment or worksheet. When they first walk into the classroom, a Do Now is already up on the smartboard, so they put away their things quickly and begin working on it. When they're done, they either help those that aren't done around them or read quietly in their seats. Next, during lessons, my CT is either teaching the lesson, or they are quietly working in their workbooks. This is a technique I hope to use in my classroom, have the kids always focused on something so they don't think to act out. My CT is firm but kind, a quality that is vital to any successful teacher.
I also recognize the great opportunity that I was given to be able to work at St. Andrew's College. This private school provides their students with a top quality education and hires incredibly capable teachers. I am very lucky I was able to shadow Ms. Powderly for a semester and see how she incorporated technology into her classroom. I have yet to be in a classroom where a smartboard is available for daily use for every teacher. Technology is an important part of the future of teaching, and my CT showed me several programs that can be used to help teach a lesson.
Also, being in an Irish classroom itself was so incredible. Something unique to all Irish classrooms is that in elementary school across the country, every classroom teacher has to be able to teach Gaelic to its students as a way to preserve Irish traditions. At the end of Irish students' secondary school, there is a test to ensure that the student has retained enough knowledge of the Gaelic language to ensure that this Irish custom endures. The pride that Irish people have for their traditions of the past is touching.
I loved my time teaching abroad, and I feel lucky that I was provided with this unique opportunity.