On Friday I was able to work closely with the second class teacher at the Gaelscoil school. Throughout the day I was able to work with students on their comprehension and grammar skills. The students seemed to struggle most with their comprehension skills in English when reading a text. Along with working on the students' English skills I was able to give the class their spelling test in English. I find it fascinating that the teachers at the school give the students a English and Irish spelling tests on Friday of every week. They receive new spelling words every Monday and work on them throughout the week. My time at the school will be spent planning English lessons to assist the students with meeting the expectations for their phonics, comprehension and grammar skills.
I will also be helping the students work on art projects, science projects and provide tradition American Christmas songs. At the end of the day I worked with different groups of students to create handmade bumble bees with small round plastic cartons, black/yellow yarn, paper wings, piper cleaners and a paper face. The bumble bees were put on a skewer and set in a vase to make them look like they were flying.
Along with conducting these projects and lessons, I was able to learn new English words for different objects. For example, as American we call the top of a pencil an eraser and the students would call it a rubber. This is also occurs when describing the back of the car as the trunk and the Irish individuals call it the boot. It was interesting to learn new words for different objects and new words found in the Irish language.
The picture above shows the view from the window of my cooperating teacher's classroom. As you can see the scenery is very different to what you would see outside an American classroom. The school we are assigned to also lack a cafeteria and playground equipment. Everyone in the school brings their lunch from home and eats it in the classroom or break-room. The students also would play outside on the pavement as shown in the picture above. There are so many differences found within the schools, but so many similarities just as well.
After a great day at school, I was able to spend some time in downtown Westport. I stopped into a local restaurant and ordered some delicious fish and chips. The authentic atmosphere, people, and food are prevalent in the small Irish community of Ireland.
On Saturday I spent the day exploring the town and its beautiful scenery. Above is an iconic bridge located in the middle of town.
I wanted to show WKU pride by sporting our red towels that read International Student Teaching. Throughout the day we toured different scenic routes and visited local shops. The town is very different compared to American cities which have many fast food restaurants, shopping malls, and main roads. Wesport has small shops, local markets and narrow roads. They are not equipped with shopping malls, big department stores, nice roads and interstates. Traveling is very hard or a struggle in some areas; therefore, the main means of transportation is a bus, train or plane. Cars are also used, but sometimes people chose to use public transit. Overall the local cuisine, scenery, and shopping were a wonderful to experience. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Ireland, travel to Westport for a town full of Irish culture and beautiful scenery.