Thursday, December 31, 2015

Was it a dream?

We have now been home for at least three weeks.  It still feels weird to think about the time that I had in Ireland.  It feels like it was all a dream!  During the holiday season, many people asked about my time in Ireland, how we spent our time, and about the weather.  I felt myself answer everyone with the same answer of "It was amazing!” but Ireland was more than amazing. 

Ireland taught me so much about myself that I did not see until I got home.  Ireland changed the way I think about the world, America, and myself.  It changed the way I see the American education process, the way I view the classroom and students.  Ireland changed me and I believe it was all for the best. 

Now as I sit here typing I am putting together my teacher portfolio.  This will be the talking point during interviews that will show my future employer who I am in the classroom.  There is so much pressure riding on this 3 ring binder that it blows my mind.  This binder has to speak for who I am as a teacher and professional.  The want to put everything into this binder is crazy, but as I sit back and think about what the employer wants to see I find that I want to put quality information in this binder. 

Now I sit here waiting for the right position to open knowing that I have time get my ducks in a row before then. 

Love always,

Emma Duncan

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Week in Review

Thanksgiving Irish Style:

Not being home on Thanksgiving had to be one of the hardest things I have ever done.  I found myself really missing home on Thanksgiving.  However, my school worked really hard to make sure that we did not get too homesick that day.  At lunch, we walked into the break room and saw an Irish Thanksgiving meal laid upon the table.  The meal included lasagna, quiche, coleslaw, potato salad, and sour crème and onion pringles. The meal was delicious even though it was unique. Maybe sour crème and onion pringles should be at every Thanksgiving feast. :) It will definitely be a Thanksgiving that I will never forget.  

Penny’s sales skyrocket as American students discover a hidden gem:

Penny’s is a wonderful place where dreams come true.  Imagine a store with super cute, and hip clothing for dirt-cheap prices.  You have imagined Penny’s (not to be confused with J.C. Penny’s). Penny’s has become our obsession lately; we have been to two different ones on the trip here. While here, the teachers at the school told us that they have started opening ones in America!  I have never been so excited in my whole entire life! I can't wait for a Penny's to move closer to Bowling Green, but it will take all my money!

Irish Students love learning about America:

While in Ireland, I have been teaching the students in my class about American history and geography.  They always have many questions, and really seem to soak up the information like sponges.  For one of my lessons, I played “My Old Kentucky Home” which they loved because they said that it was so classy. During the song they tried to sing along which was quite funny, but they were great sports! After the song was over they sang their County Mayo song which was beautiful to hear. 

Lately, they have been really interested in talking about the upcoming presidential election, and have loved to share their viewpoints.  I find it amazing that these students are so interested in this election, whereas students at home would not really care about the election so much. They are also very interested in historical events that happened in America such as 9/11. They had many questions and stories about 9/11, even though they were born in 2003. 

Final Week:

We have now made it to the final week of our study abroad! I can't believe that we have been here for over 20 days. The time has flown by just as we knew it would. We have done so much and learned even more during our time here. I have found new classroom techniques that I plan on incorporating into my classroom. I have found faults in the American system as well as the Irish system. I have grown as a teacher during this experience. I can't imagine myself without this experience. It is one that I will cherish for a lifetime!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Irish Life

I have now spent two successful weeks at Gaelscoil Na Cruaiche.  I have enjoyed every minute that I have spent at this school and now feel as if I am family.  The school itself is small with only 200 students, and one teacher per grade.  The class sizes range from 25-30 students who have all been together since they were in junior infants (our kindergarten).  During our walk through the Principal told us that parents start to put their child on a waiting list for this school at 4 months of age. 

Every Monday and Friday, the students come into the hall (our gym) in order to have announcements and awards.  There are many awards given on Monday such as "Best Irish Speaker,” "Kindness Award,” and Birthday Awards.  A student from each rang (class) is given these awards each week.  It works itself out to where most of the students get awards during the school year.  After this time is over the students will return to class where they will study English, Irish, Math, Reading, Choir, Violin, and even French.  This school is very focused on the arts and incorporates them into the daily schedule. 

Another difference between this school and schools in America is that the students here have two breaks during the day.  One of them in the morning for 20 minutes where they eat a snack brought from home, and can go out to play if the weather is permitting.  Then later on during the day the students have another break that lasts for 45- 1 hour for lunch and outside play.  The students again eat a lunch from home because there is no cafeteria inside the school to provide them with a lunch.  Having the two breaks allows the students to rest their brains and refuel for the rest of the day.

I began teaching on Tuesday about the Regions in America.  From here I learned that most of the students base their knowledge off of what their parents have told them, what they have seen in movies, and what they know from traveling over there.  My students were interested in learning about tornados and hurricanes.  They also wanted to know a lot about major cities in the US which unfortunately I had never been to, such as New York, and San Francisco. Next week I will continue to teach about American School and Kentucky.  The students are excited to see the difference between their school and schools in the United States.  I believe that they will be shocked to find the difference.

I am having a great time here and plan to travel to Galway this weekend to do some Christmas Shopping.  I am excited about Christmas Shopping because I am ready for the holiday season.  I believe that this will make me miss home a little less especially during the next week, because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Things You Need to Know Before Coming to Ireland!

When deciding to Study Abroad I thought Ireland would be the best fit for the environment that I wanted. I was not wrong because I love every minute that I have spent in Ireland. The people are so helpful, super friendly, and willing to help you out whenever you need. There were some things that I did not prepare myself for before coming to Ireland. Like rain, rain and oh yeah rain! Below is my list of items that you need to prepare yourself for before coming to Ireland.

1. Bring your best rain gear. When they tell you that is rains all the time, please believe them. Every day that I have been here it has rained at least once. Umbrellas can not withstand this wind that accompanies the rain. Many people around town carry umbrellas, but they never have them up. Also don't just believe that because your rain jacket keeps you dry in the good ole' USA it will keep you dry here. This is not true, and I can prove it because my rain jacket soaked through all my clothes while walking home.

2. If you let the rain control what you do, you will never get out of the house. This was one of the things that the Inspire Learning people told us before we came. This saying is so true. If we let the rain control our plans, we would never have gotten out of the house today, or even explored our new city! We would have never found a pizza delivery place, that we can get our tax back, or been able to find the post office to mail letters back home! So even if the weather is bad still get out because you are here to make memories.

3. You will soon become used to the sounds of rain. You would think that you would not grow used to the fact that is rains every day, but you do. There will come a time that you will not even care that it is raining. I can not say that it happens quickly, but it does happen.

4. Waterproof everything before you leave home. I mean everything from backpacks to shoes. When it rains every day, there is not enough time for you clothes to dry. So you will end up every day wearing wet clothing.

I believe that if you follow these simple rules then you will be able to stay dry in the wet country. I love Ireland so much, and I am learning to love their rain even more!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Oh Sheep!


We have FINALLY made the long awaited journey. It felt like it took forever to get here but now that we are here it doesn't feel any different from home. 

Our flights were great! They went by quick and were utterly painless. Everyone at the airport was willing to help us Kentucky folk find their way around. Chicago airport blew our minds. Once we got off the plane the first quote that came to mind was "We are not in Kansas anymore". This quote was said many times throughout the trip because it was unreal how different things where in different places. 

On the way to Westport we traveled by train. This was a wonderful experience. As we traveled across the country we noticed how much it looked like home. Rolling hills, green grass, a lots of farms. 

One item that we noticed the most were the amount of sheep this country has. Every few minutes we would pass by another sheep farm. As we watched the sheep we noticed that some had different fur colors, some had different head colors, and some where spray painted different colors. We had many questions about the sheep as we traveled on to Westport. 

Once we arrived in Westport we were greeted by our host family. A cute little family that met us at the door and welcomed us in. When we arrived they had sweets and some groceries waiting for is which was nice seeing as we had lived on snacks, airplane food, and coffee. From here we got to tour the town which is small and sweet. Everyone seems so friendly and willing to help out (it reminded me a lot of Bowling Green). From here we went and got some other groceries and then got settled in. 

We are settling in and finding our way around but I think we are really going to like it here! Tomorrow we start our first placement. I can't wait to meet the students and see the difference in school systems. 

Love always,


Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Light at the End of the Tunnel


hard work, taxing, time-consuming, rewarding, busy, active, tiring, sleep deprived, but I would not have it any other way.

I can honestly say that I love being a student teacher, or even a teacher for that matter. It takes a lot away from you but it gives so much more back. I know that it is worth it when I see a group of students understand the materials. I know that it is worth it when I get hugs at the end of the week before they load the buses. I know that it is worth it when students tell me that they wish I were their mom or that note taking was fun with me because learning was like a party. I know more and more every day that this is where I am supposed to be. When I student teach I feel so blessed and rewarded.  I know that I am touching lives by the high fives, fist pumps, hugs I get as I walk down the hallway. I see that I am teaching student beyond the classroom, and I am in love with that. I can honestly say that I fall more in love with teaching each day that I step into the classroom. 


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Bulletin Boards are windows into the classroom.

Today at work I had the chance to plan and create a bulletin board. I have to say that I found the idea on Pinterest but it fit the theme I was looking for. In making this bulletin board it launched a discussion about themed classrooms.

I have always had teachers that have had themed classrooms and as a student I loved. It got me involved in the classroom environment and feel as if it was a home away from home some times. This is why I believe that a good bulletin board can really tie a classroom together, improve the environment and become the window in the classroom for outsiders. 

Love always,

Below are some pictures from today's room decorating fun!!!!