Friday, October 19, 2012

The American Teacher

One of the first things one of the junior infants (4- & 5-year-olds) said to me on Monday was, "Ms. Walsh, what is it like in America?" How in the world should I answer that question, especially for a five-year-old?

Also, how in the world am I supposed to choose what to write about in a blog about my life in Ireland? There are so many details I could share, but I can't spend all of my time blogging... For this first post of my trip, I will just give you a brief overview of several aspects of my life. I have been here for one week, but it feels like forever and no time at all. I had safe and easy traveling, and quickly made it through any jet lag by staying awake for an unreasonable number of hours and going to sleep with the rest of my Irish household on Friday night. My host family is just wonderful! I have three host "sisters" - Laura, 20; Emma, 17; and Anna, 14, who are all amazing singers, and who are involved in so many extracurricular activities. There is hardly ever a time that the whole family is home at once. (But, right now as I prepare to post this, the extended family of 10 is taking a family photo, and it is great entertainment!)

I am staying in Killiney (pronounced "kill-EYE-nee"), which is sort of a suburb of Dublin. Since I got here on Friday, I had the weekend to relax and explore a bit before starting school on Monday. On Friday I took a long walk up Killiney Hill, a big hill that has beautiful views close to my house. Friday and Saturday were incredibly sunny days - unusual around here, of course. Saturday, Laura drove me around, showing me important landmarks and places of school, bus and tram transportation options, some shops down the street, and shopping options a little farther away. Then she dropped me off in Dun Laoghaire (pronounced "Dun Leery"), and I wandered around the shops and the pier there for a few hours. And I managed to find my way back to the house on the bus on my own!

On the pier in Dun Laoghaire

Beautiful view from Killiney Hill
Monday was my first day of school, and the week has flown by! I am working mostly with the junior infants, but I also have small chunks of time every day in other classrooms (including the senior infants and 3rd, 4th, & 6th classes). I have mostly observed and assisted this week, but I did teach a couple of lessons, including one on poultry with the senior infants, and a P.E. class - yes, I, taught gym - for the 4th class. It has been great getting to know my students, and their comments and questions about my "Americanness" have been very amusing, beginning with whispers of, "That's the American teacher," as I walked by on Monday. Today a little boy in 3rd class told me that he likes my accent, and yesterday a girl in 4th class asked if there are scorpions where I live because her family has been to Texas. It is fascinating to see this outside perspective of the United States...

So, thanks a bunch for checking into my blog! I'll post again soon.
In Irish, slán go fóill - goodbye for now

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