A Dream Come True… and So Much More!!

Home sweet home! While I’m happy to be back in the states and to see my family, I already miss the Emerald Isle! Our last day in Ireland was very relaxing and filled with tears and staying up all night to pack. During the day we spent a few hours in Adare. It was such a cute little town. I loved the cottages and old Irish pubs. It was a great, relaxing way to end our trip in Ireland. On Friday night, Dr. O, Dr. B, and Steve treated all of us and former Irish graduate assistants to a final farewell dinner. It was the perfect evening that pretty much summed up our trip. When we first all met at Dulles Airport, most of us stayed in our own comfort groups. When we landed in Dulles, all of us were grouped together and we became much closer after this trip. It could not have worked out any better, being that there were eleven girls. There was no fighting, no arguing, or any negativity. We all worked well with one another and made friendships that will last a lifetime. 

It’s hard to believe that two weeks are up. Now it’s time to head back to reality and finish up my final semester. I have learned so much in Ireland. I think everyone should have the opportunity to visit Ireland, especially if you’re a teacher. I am going to try my best to take everything I have learned in Ireland and incorporate it into my own classroom. Teachers there are stress free and their students are absolutely wonderful. It was a fabulous experience and I am so sad to see it come to an end. Hopefully I’ll be able to visit Ireland again and learn more things. Visiting Ireland has always been a dream of mine. If someone were to tell me a year ago that I’d be studying abroad in Ireland, I would tell them they were just joking and fooling me. I never would have thought years ago, back in high school when thoughts of visiting Ireland first popped in my head, would have actually happened. The USA has a lot they could learn from Ireland, especially teachers. All of us on this trip have learned so many things that we want to incorporate in our teaching and classrooms. However, the change has to begin with us. We have to be the ones to stand up and fight for how we know teaching works and how students learn. My life has been changed forever as a result of being in Ireland. My eyes have been opened, and my heart has been touched.  As for now, I’m missing all the green, the accents, and all the wonderful people we had the pleasure of meeting. Oh- I can’t forget about break time with Irish tea an scones…don’t worry; that’s something we’ve already planned on incorporating once we get back!!  Ireland will always have a special place in my heart along with all the people I got to share this experience with- Dr.  O, Dr. B, Steve, Courtney, Sarah, Susie, Hannah, Addie, Elle, Whitney, Katie, Julie, and Maryssa; thank you so much for making this experience such a memorable one. I feel that I have made such wonderful friendships that might not have happened without this trip. We all have something in common now, and I hope we all stay connected because of Ireland. 

Til next time! 

Sláinte!!

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Home away from Home!

Our day began bright and early at 7 am! But for us teachers, that’s nothing! Most of us fell asleep on the bus ride to Dunmore, myself included. We’ve become so used to riding on the bus, I’m not sure how we’re going to manage not riding a bus when we get back to Ireland. Our first stop today was another former Irish GA’s school. Maeve and her school gave us a warm welcome with singing and dancing. It took all I had not to start bawling however I did have tears. Those students were so proud and honored to have us in their school,and it certainly showed. Whitney and I were in first class today and the students were loaded with great questions, the majority of them being about bobcats and mountain lions since we read them “Hello Bobby, the bobcat.” All of the students were bursting with questions!

After spending our final day in the schools here, we made our way over to Patrick’s house, the current Irish GA’s house. His family treated us like family, and I think as our trip is nearing the end, we all needed that. We were served a warm, home-cooked meal and had the most delicious desserts ever. The hospitality that we got today from his family was amazing. If I’ve learned one thing fro being here in Ireland,it’s that I need to be more hospitable.

We cannot go to a city and not shop, especially when there are twelve females. Our next stop was Galway city and I must say it has been my favorite. The streets are rich with culture and diversity and have is much history. I wish we could have spent at least another day in Galway. If I was offered a teaching job in Galway,or any part in Ireland for that matter, I would accept it in a heartbeat. It’s so stress free here and laid back. In America, we a constantly worried and stressed, and we never take the time to explore and relax. I’ve really enjoyed that aspect here in Ireland. None of us have been stressed or worried since we’ve been here and I think that has made a difference. Of course, we couldn’t visit Galway and not shop at the biggest Penneys I’ve ever seen. No not JC Penny’s. Pennys is the greatest store, and while I’d loved to have one back home, I’m glad we don’t because I would always be broke. The highlight of the day was buying a Cladddagh ring. You can buy a Claddagh ring anywhere, however the one I bought today is one of a kind. It comes from the original makers of the ring and there’s only one store in the whole world that you can get the and that’s Thomas Dillon in Galway. Six of us got a ring and that makes it even more special. Even after we graduate and start teaching, we will always have a part of one another with us. Today was filled with smiles, excitement, memories, laughs, and tears. We have more day in Ireland. Whenever I go on vacation, or visit someone, or travel, I always hate leaving. I’m going to hate saying goodbye to Ireland since it’s always been a dream of mine to travel here, but I have made so many memories with people that I couldn’t have chosen better myself to share them with.

Goodnight for now! Hard to believe I’ll be home in forty eight hours!

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Busy bees in Ireland!

On Monday, we visited Sinead and Aisling’s schools; two former Irish graduate assistants. The students were wonderful. I was first in second class. They just loved making their own cowboy boots. Whitney and I talked to them about Frostburg and our mascot, the bobcat. From then on, they were amused and amazed about bobcats. It was great! Before we left, we had an adorable send off from Sinead and two twins from her class that waved the Ireland and American flags as we drive off. It was the cutest thing. 

We then went to Aisling’s school, where Whitney and I were in first class. I must say first class is my favorite :) The students are so bright and silly, and I just love it! Aisling did a wonderful job with her choir students. They sang, ” Somewhere only we know” and “Ware me up.” Such wonderful songs and her students,a mixture of ages, did a wonderful job. I think all of us had tears and goosebumps. 

Our adventures continued when we toured the Jameson Experience and the Titanic Experience. Both wonderful, and amazing. The Titanic was interactive and it felt as if we were really on the ship.

 

Yesterday, we had the wonderful opportunity to visit another former Irish graduate assistant’s school. Whitney and I were in fifth class. The school is an all girls school. The class we were in was great! The students asked such wonderful questions, and it was great seeing them get all excited to learn more about where we came from. Every school we have visited, the students have been enthusiastic, thankful, appreciative and respectful, and this school was no different. It was such a pleasure working with older students that still had the energy and excitement as younger students that I’m used to working with. 

Mayiread, the form Irish GA, took us to a little cafe, “Central Perk.” It had pictures inside of Friends. I. Was very cute. Last night,we had the pleasure of going to Aisling’s house for dinner,where we were pampered and spoiled. None of us wanted to leave. Everyone here has been so hospitable. I think we are all going to have a rude awakening when we go back to the US. 

Today, we toured around the city of Cork. Our day began at the jail, which was eery. It was amazing to see how prisoners: women, men, and children would have lived in the jail cells over two hundred years ago. We also toured the Butter Museum and had lunch at the Buttercup Cafe. Cork is such a cute and colorful town. I enjoy looking at all the colorful and beautiful houses and buildings. Our journey in Cork ended with shopping of course. With eleven girls, plus Dr. O, it’s hard not to want to shop everyday. I think everyone is scared to look at their bank accounts now! 

Tomorrow, we go to another school in Galway and then we do more touring. Hard to believe that we leave in two days! Not ready to head back to reality. 

Til then, goodnight from Ireland :) 

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We Kissed the Blarney Stone!!!!

Today began our travels to Cork! The morning started off dreary, cold, and rainy as we explored the caves of Mitchelstown. The caves were just amazing and left us awestrucked. it was much cozier inside the caves, than it was outside the caves. Drenched in rain, we made our way to a warm and cozy home, the home of a previous Irish graduate assistant. Her and her mother cooked us a homecooked meal, which we all desperately needed. Once we had lasagna in our bellies, followed by Apple pie and toffee bars, it was amazing to see how our moods became cheerier. We were able to relax for a good while and then made our way to Blarney Castle. The views were absolutely stunning. Many of us made our way to the very top of the castle to kiss then famous Blarney Stone. I can now officially say I have done that!! Our night is now ending in a hostel in Cork. There are four of us in a room, so it will be fun to see if we survive three days. Tomorrow, we get to teach in two former graduate assistants’ schools, which we are all excited for! 

Hugs and Kisses from Ireland! ImageImage

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A Day in Dublin

Our day started bright and early at 7am, and even though we were all up before the crack of dawn, it was well worth it. Dublin is such an amazing city with so much diversity. I felt like I was back home in Washington DC! Our first stop was a tour of the Guinness Storehouse, a lesson on how to pour a perfect glass of Guinness, and a beautiful skyline view of Dublin. Our day also included visiting Trinity College, The Long Room of books, different ancinet buildings, and of course the magnificent views and people of Dublin. It was a long day, but a memorable one, thanks to our tour guides, Patrick, his sister Sarah, Aisling, and Leah. Without them, we would not have had such a fabulous day! 

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The Emerald Isle :)

 I now understand why Ireland is called the Emerald Isle!! You haven’t seen green until you’ve seen the green grass in Ireland. It’s certainly worth making the trip over here. Yesterday was the last day we were at St. Conaire’s School. I was so sad to leave. We had a special treat before we left. The fifth and sixth classes performed “Oliver” for us. It was absolutely wonderful. I was able to visit a senior infants class which is equivalent to our kindergarten class. I just love that age level! The teacher was so enthusiastic and she made the students want to learn. The students then asked us questions, and they asked great questions! They wanted to know what students wear, how big our library is, who our teachers were and how much snow we get. It was so wonderful to see how excited the students got when we walked in the room. It will definitely be an experience I’ll never forget. 

After school,we toured Bunratty Castle. It rained on and off, but that’s nothing new! The castle was spectacular. The views were amazing, and once again, we were surprised with a stunning rainbow. The castle is hundreds of years old. The structure and furniture that are in the castle are breathtaking, as well as the views from the top of the castle. 

Later that evening, the FSU Crew was invited to Durty Nelly’s, which is a famous pub. The staff from St. Conaire’s invited us. It was such a memorable evening. I just loved the Irish music! We felt like we had know the teachers for years! The pub had over 2500 police badges from all around the world. It was a very unique pub.

Today, I had the chance to explore an all girls, Irish secondary school. I got to observe classes and talk to the guidance counselor. It was also a wonderful experience. I learned that counseling is very similar here. Our main goal is always to be there for our students. 

in the afternoon, we went to the Cliffs of Mohr. What a magical place! I don’t think I have ever seen such beautiful water views, and the cliffs were amazing! The sun was on our side today; we had great weather the whole time we were there. Our bus driver also drove us through the countryside. I have never seen such beautiful houses, tidal waves, mountains, and country roads. They were views that I’ve only ever seen on TV, movies, or pictures. It’s hard to believe we only have one more week here. Everyday, I am so thankful that I am actually here. Each day has been one amazing and wonderful day after another. Tomorrow we explore Dublin. It’ll be a long day, but a fabulous one! 

Till then! 

Sending my love from the Emerald Isle!! ImageImageImageImage

Ok… Where can I submit my résumé?!?

Our second day at St. Conaire’s school was absolutely perfect…once again. I am ready to graduate, pack my stuff up and move to Ireland so I can teach. My experience today was just as amazing as yesterday! I was in First Class again, which is first grade. the teacher we were with, Mrs. Barry, was such an awesome teacher. She was and is the mentor teacher that every teacher candidate dreams of being able to work with. She welcomed Whitney and with open arms and made us feel like we had been in her classroom for years. she described her students as lively, but they were just so polite, thankful, appreciative and well mannered. Mrs. Barry had us interacting with the students the second we walked in the classroom. I enjoyed observing the math stations, where two other teachers come into the classroom and help Mrs. Barry with the different groups of children. The one teacher was teaching the hundreds chart. He cut up a laminated hundreds chart into puzzle pieces and had the children put it back together. It was so simple, yet such a great activity. 

We read a book to the students about cowboys and they absolutely loved it! They had a great sense of humor. I also liked how Mrs. Barry teaches social studies. Back home, teacher would be lucky to teach social studies once a month. Even though they spend the most time on literacy and math, they still make sure to teach science and social studies. 

Today was the first time we got to try real Irish food. Ye could smell the Irish stew in the hallway and it was absolutely amazing. Hopefully we have more opportunities to have Irish food. Overall, it was such a wonderful day. I am going to be so sad when we leave St. Conaire’s School. The students are quite amazing! ImageImageImageImage