We have relaunched international student teaching after staying home these past two years. So, yes, we were back in spring 2022, 4th quarter, with five students in Ireland and three students in Ecuador; be sure to check out “News from Dublin” and “News from Ecuador” This past fall, 2022, Hally McLaughlin, fall 2022, was in Zurich! Of special note, in “News from”, read Apryl’s (Quito, Ecuador), Tim’s (Dublin, Ireland) and Hally’s (Zurich, Switzerland) reflections of their international experiences.
This Spring 2023. we had students going to Dublin (Tim West and Danielle Vissering), Quito, Ecuador (Roslyn Dobyna, Felicia Prata and Apryl Danwah), and Hong Kong (Mikayla Chuong). We are finishing recruiting for fall 2023, this fall we have sites in Dublin, Kiryat Tiv’on, Israel, near Haifa, San Pedro, Belize, Quito, Ecuador, Zurich, Toronto (hopefully) and Hong Kong.
Hello, and welcome to the blog for BSU international student teaching. Here you will find information about students’ experiences through their student teaching placements locally, nationally, and especially, internationally.
Bridgewater State University prides itself on preparing students to excel in all areas of their lives. Through this blog, students and teachers will be able to communicate about all aspects of teaching. There are pages to read about students who have gone abroad, apps that others have found useful, and a place to ask questions and problem solve.
One (you) student teaches for 8 weeks (1st or 3rd quarter) in Massachusetts and then one has the opportunity to go abroad for 8 weeks (2nd or 4th quarter). Our sites are in 2023; Dublin, Ireland; Hong Kong, China; Shanghai, China (TBD); Quito, Ecuador; Zurich, Switzerland (only a fall placement), Kiryat Tiv’on, Israel, near Haifa, and San Pedro, Belize and Toronto. Each site is different – all are GREAT. If you need more information and an application, go to the Study Abroad website at https://bridgew-horizons.symplicity.com/index.php?s=StudentHome. Emma Lynch is our person in Study Abroad. Emma is great and will work closely with you.
Also, this experience has been written up in our student newspaper, the Comment, as well as BSU News …view “Teaching Abroad”
As of May 2023 we will have had over 300 BSU student teachers go abroad for this life-changing experience. Over 10% of BSU student teachers take advantage of this opportunity. Of special note is that we have had four of our student teachers choose to continue their work abroad. Emma Albert, who student taught at the San Pedro Roman Catholic School in Belize, is now teaching at The Island Academy in San Pedro. Sarah Freudenberg, who also taught in San Pedro, has been running Camp Starfish a summer camp for kids with special needs, in San Pedro. Torey Johnson who student taught at Colegio Menor in Quito, is now teaching (I don’t remember the school) in Quito. And Emily Wiegand, who also taught at Menor, is teaching at the Island Academy in Antigua.
Interesting USA Today article about the rewards of teaching abroad https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/education/2019/05/06/teacher-salary-teaching-jobs-pay-international-schools-benefits/3622262002/
When we, Andrea Cayson, Gia Renaud, Sarah Thomas, Jeanne Ingle and other members of the faculty, talk with you about the benefits of teaching abroad, they will say to you, it’ll help you in getting a job. One of our student teachers this past fall said, as she was applying for teaching positions: “International student teaching in Dublin has been such an amazing talking point in interviews. I’ve noticed that interviewers are really interested to hear about my experience teaching abroad and ask about the difference in our school system and their (Irish). I’ve found (I’m told) that student teaching abroad has definitely set me apart from other candidates!”
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) has recognized BSU’s, Global Learning Opportunities for Bridgewater Educators (GLOBE) and as a result, BSU received the 2017 AACTE “Best Practice Award in Support of Global and International Perspectives”.
Of note, is the story about two of our student teachers this spring, in Dublin, working with Ukrainian refugees …. https://www.bridgew.edu/stories/2022/teaching-ukrainian-refugees
Another excellent article https://www.bridgew.edu/stories/2022/road-again
speaks to Gretchen’s experience this spring 2022 in Ecuador.
Please feel free to leave any feedback on ideas or other components that you would like to see added to the blog. We would love to hear from you!
So I’ve been to see Felicia, Roslyn and Apryl in Quito and Mikayla in Hong Kong. This Saturday, I’m flying to Dublin to see Tim and Danielle. As you can read from their posts, “News from….” everyone is doing GREAT.
This fall we have Paul, Maddie, Alexa and Steph to go to Zurich, Lizzy and Catherine off to Dublin, and Raphaella to Toronto. In a couple of months, we will begin recruiting for spring 2024, 4th quarter. Yes, exciting!
My name is Mikayla Chuong and I am a senior majoring in Elementary Education and Sociology (Education Concentration). I leave this Sunday, March 19th and including my layovers, I will be
traveling for a total of 29 hours!!! For the past 8 weeks, I have been working at Henry B. Burkland Elementary School in Middleborough, MA. It’s unreal how fast it went! I wish I had more time with this group of students because they were truly an amazing group to work with. I taught in a 4th-grade inclusion classroom with 21 students, 9 of those students with IEPS. An inclusion classroom is a general education classroom where students with and without learning differences learn together. I worked alongside Emma Del Vecchio, the 4th-grade inclusion teacher, Ashley Patti, the special education teacher, and Tracey Hills, the ESP. If I had to choose one takeaway from this experience I would say it’s so important to take the
time and effort to personally get to know your students, from small things like good morning and asking how their weekend was, or big things when they are excited to tell you about the book they are reading or graphic novel they are writing about Ms. Chuong having an epic battle with a stapler (inspired by true events). I’ve built positive and meaningful relationships with students that not only make learning fun for my students but teaching fun for me. On my last day, it was so rewarding to hear things like “You are the best teacher ever!” and “Please don’t go, Ms.Chuong, you have to come back after!”. It is bittersweet to leave this group of amazing 4th graders, but I am excited to begin the second half of my student teaching in Hong Kong! I will be teaching kindergarten at The Education University of Hong Kong Early Childhood Learning Centre. It’s going to be an exciting journey and I’m eager to learn many new things, make new memories, and experience new things, but most of all to learn about the education system in Hong Kong.
Stay tuned for my next blog, as I will officially be in Hong Kong!
Afternoon! Robyn, Felicia and Apryl are on their way, this weekend to Quito, Ecuador. Mikayla is on her way to Hong Kong and Tim and Danielle are heading off to Dublin. Wow, exciting. And we have eight students signed up to go abroad this fall. Stay tuned to the blog to read about everyone’s adventures living with host families ‘in country” and their school experiences and of course, their travels these next eight weeks. Take care!
Hello from Haifa, Israel. I’m with Dr Wing-Kai To visiting Oranim College and schools in the area. We have lots to share that I will do so soon.
Also, we understand that Hally has settled in with her host family in Zurich and has begun her school placement. And yes, stay tuned for more news from Hally.
I have almost been in Zurich for a week and wow is it amazing! I started my trip with a traditional Swiss meal called Raclette, I loved it. The meal included two of my favorite foods potato and cheese. My host family has made me feel very welcomed and have show me all around the city of Zurich. They have two sweet little boys that greet me every morning and when I return home from school.
The school day in Switzerland looks a lot different from the ones in America. They are very relaxed and take advantage of how close the school is in proximity to their houses. Each day the students have a 2 hour lunch break where they go home and eat. I have noticed how independent these students are no matter what age. They hold many responsibilities and are held accountable for their own achievements.
Overall, my first week here in Zurich has been amazing and I can not wait to see what comes in the next few weeks. Tomorrow I will make my first trip to the University of Zurich to take a class on the culture of Switzerland. More to come!
Great post! Thanks for sharing
Hello! I am zooming with Hally and talking to her about her upcoming student teaching experience in Zurich! Hally is EXCITED!
I am so excited to be going to Europe at the end of the month. Wow time flys by! Can’t wait to start this new adventure.
We in the CEHS and Study Abroad that you are such a ‘warrior’ and have faith in the process…. applying, being selected, our work with our partner in Zurich, and their excellent work in getting you a family to live with (a teacher and his wife and their two boys) and an excellent placement. I’m excited to come to Zurich in a few weeks and see you in your Swiss classroom. Go Hally Go!
I am curious as to how the other student teachers feel in the classrooms in their international placement. Is it similar to the classroom that you were teaching in before, or are there many differences? For me, the classes and schools are quite similar. There are definitely similarities within the curriculum as well, but Ireland has more of a cyclical curriculum than the US. Irish schools and classrooms go over similar topics every year, adding more detail. I suppose we inherently do that in the US as well, but our standards are set up differently. Also, in the Irish curriculum standards are grouped together for fifth class and sixth class so there is not a differentiation between what should be taught in fifth and what should be taught in sixth. Has anyone else found planning different than what you were used to in Massachusetts?
What a great question! I have definitely noticed some differences between my student teaching experience in Massachusetts and my experience here in Ireland. In MA, I was teaching 4th graders in a title one school. In Ireland I am teaching in a DEIS school (similar to title one) and I’m teaching sixth class (similar to 6th grade in age). The different grades mean that requirements and expectations are a bit different, but that would be true whether in Ireland or the U.S.
One of the big differences I have noticed is actually in the communication and planning between teachers. The placement here in Ireland is much smaller than the one I was at in Massachusetts, but even so, I expected more communication and lesson planning between the sixth class teachers at Darndale. At my placement in MA, the teachers met weekly for common planning. They would use this time to go over what each class was covering as well as look at data to make more informed decisions about their teaching. At Darndale, there are currently just two sixth class teachers but they don’t seem to teach on the same schedule or confer regularly with each other on future lesson plans. While the school has a great community amongst the teachers in general, it seems like lesson preparation is more individual to the classroom versus school-wide. That being said, I don’t notice a major disconnect between the two sixth classes. They are essentially covering the same material just not always at the same time. This may be due to the size of the school, but I just thought it was an interesting difference. I have found the school planning in Darndale to be completed in a way that is more relaxed and individual than what I’ve experienced in the U.S. This different approach seems to give the educators at Darndale more flexibility to move around in the curriculum and adjust for the students although it is not as organized as what I’ve experience din the U.S. It’s interesting to compare the two different approaches and consider their effects on schools and students.
In our schools, I would certainly like more collaboration between teachers in a particular grade level. And yes, even where the 4th grade teachers talk to the 3rd grade teachers, the students coming up from the “previous” year and the 5th grade teachers, what does one need to be prioritizing to teach so that my 4th graders are best prepared for 5th grade? And collaboration is important on all levels of education, preschool, in the elementary or secondary grades and even, in higher education. As Bridgewater State the early childhood and elementary education professors are on the 1st floor of Hart, the special education professors on the 2nd floor of Hart, and the secondary education professors are over in Tinsley. Having the professors spread out like this does not foster collaboration.
I am finding many differences between my school placement here in Ireland and my school placement back home in Massachusetts. Of course the main difference would be that in Ireland I am currently teaching at an all boys school versus the co-ed classes I had in Massachusetts. At first, it was difficult adjusting to this as the boys are quite rowdy, especially in a Physical Education setting. However, after using some behavior management tactics and getting comfortable with the students, they have settled down a bit. Another difference for me is that I do have to plan out longer lessons because most of my classes are 80 minutes long compared to the 40 minute classes I had been used to in Massachusetts.
Indeed, 80 minute lessons are especially long… for ‘rowdy’ boys!
I’ve returned home after 3 very full days in Quito. I saw Katie Tuesday afternoon and Olivia and Gretchen on Tuesday morning. Tuesday afternoon we all walked up to “Belly Busters” for some food and drink. All three young ladies taught GREAT lessons. They made teacher education at BSU proud!
We are ending our third week in Dublin and it is amazing how it has already gone by so fast. I have been grateful to be afforded the opportunity to teach English to students from Ukraine in a small group setting. It has been an experience that has allowed me to pause and reflect on the way that the war has impacted families and children. Displaced from their home country, families and children have turned to school to provide a familiar experience for the student. It has been great to collaborate with Adlai Greene, the other student teacher at the school with me. We were able to contact Dr. Correia and have utilized resources that we went over in the reading course. It has been a great experience to brainstorm how we want to facilitate the small group time to provide a way for students to learn and feel comfortable learning.
Afternoon from Quito. Long day, up at 130am, Logan airport at 330am, in the air at 530am to Miami. Arrived in Quito at a bit before 3p.
Working with Katie tomorrow, April 5, and Gretchen and Olivia on Wednesday. It’ll be good to see them. It’ll be great to see my ‘old’ friend Andrew Sherman who is Head of School at Colegio Menor. We’ve been colleagues and friends since 2004 or so? Wow…
After two days in Manchester/Didsbury and three in Dublin I returned home. A busy, but an extremely productive trip. I met with our colleagues at MMU and at Didsbury CE Primary School. Matt, the Head of School at West Didsbury, feels that they can accommodate up 4-6 student teachers this fall. Talking with our colleagues at MMU, the teachers would be at their school sites 3 days and on campus at MMU 2 days (could be same days) for university coursework.
I’m in Dublin today and have met up with Lindsey, Heather, Cassi, (who will be Catholic University School) Adlai and Erin (at Darndale). This is the third day of their orientation to Marino and Dublin. Tomorrow they go to their schools. Yes, exciting!
This spring, 2022, five students (Cassi Nelson, Hannah Moniz, Erin Haley, Lindsay Vo and Adlai Greene) are going to Dublin, and three students (Katie Rivera, Gretchen Sandstrum and Olivia Dean) are going to Quito for their international student teaching experience. They fly the weekend of March 19 and will be abroad for 8 weeks returning May 12. Watch for their comments and posts!
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Welcome to our international student teaching blog. All are welcome to read the blog and to post (you need an account) in ‘comments’ where you are reading this and in ‘news’ at a specific site.
We are excited about relaunching IST this spring, 2022.
This week, as our fall 2019 students are traveling home from abroad, Nevena and I met with students who are going abroad this spring. Tyler Watters and Lydia Labonte are going to Manchester (West Didsbury Schools), Anna Rezendes, Adriana Sousa, Cate Harrington and Kristina Smith are going to Dublin (we don’t know their school placements as yet), Hayley Gaynor and Dan Chahine are going to Shanghai and will be at the Jinshan School, Dennis Begley and Meghan Domagala are going to Quito (Colegio Menor) and Mackenzie Reardon and Molly McNamara are going to Caye Caulker, Belize (LICA). Exciting!
Morning from Manchester. I’ve had an excellent visit with our two student teachers, Michaela Finn and Sarah Hastry. I saw them both, with Kayleigh Smith, on Monday at MMU (Manchester Metropolitan). I was in Michaela’s classroom at Didsbury Primary on Tuesday for her ‘what about me’ presentation to her class. “Brilliant” as the English say. On Wednesday I was at Sarah’s classroom at West Didsbury CofE Primary, again, a “Brilliant”. presentation to the class. Both schools are outstanding. Our young ladies will set the bar for future BSU student teachers coming to England. Photos coming!
Morning from, wet, rainy, Manchester. This past Friday, in Dublin, I visited Katie at Catholic University School… she has a class of 3 year old boys. And visited Emma at the Loreto Junior School…. a class of 20 some 4 year old girls. Excellent visits, truly excellent school placements (yes, all the schools we are in, in Dublin, are single sex schools).
Today, Monday, around 1115a, I’m meeting Dr Julie Scanlon, our dear friend and colleague at MMU. I’ll see our students, Michaela, Sarah and Kaeleigh, today. This afternoon I’m to speak, with Julie and one of her colleagues, to students about inclusion in American schools.
I’m here all week visiting the students at West Didsbury schools. Exciting!
Hello from Dublin, I arrived yesterday. Wednesday, morning and I feel like I haven’t stopped. I met Kathryn, Katie, Sarah and Emma at the cafe on Marino’s campus only to find an issue with the water which forced us to walk 4-5 blocks to the Goose (photos to follow).we had a great talk. The ladies left and I then asked to have a taxi called to take me to meet Julie (Dean of Education: Policy, Practice and Society)… but known to us as just Julie…. Funny, given the rain, yes it rains in Dublin I waited and waited. The bartender, who had called for the taxi, approached one of the patrons at the bar … and he, John, drove me to the restaurant (he did accept my €10).
This morning I went to St Brigid’s and talked to the principal, and went to Sarah’s (6th grade) and Kathryn’s (3rd) classroom. Great, enthusiast girls in their classrooms… young, vibrant cooperating teachers.
This afternoon I spoke about American education with excellent contributions from Emma and Katie. Tomorrow, Friday, I will be visiting Katie at the Catholic University School and Emma at Loreto Junior.
Emma Cardarelli writes, from Dublin:
It still is hard to believe that it has already been a week since we got on the plane at Logan Airport and flew to Dublin.
When we made it to our campus suite we were extremely happy with how our accommodations had worked out. We each have our own rooms and a shared living space which is the living room and kitchen. It took a bit to fully adjust to the time difference. We have found our grocery store we will mostly be shopping from down the street from us called CT Market and our bus stop we take when we are going into the city center.
Kathryn, Katie, and I decided to get a two day hop on, hop off bus ticket for Tuesday and Wednesday that took us around the city. We felt that it would be a great way to get accustomed to the area and learn more about the history of the city. I’m so glad we did we had amazing tour guides who gave us recommendations and tips. We also visited the Dublin National Art Gallery and the Little Museum of Dublin, both of which were awesome. I especially enjoyed the Little Museum of Dublin since it was a guided tour through the history of Dublin done in two rooms and the tour guide used the objects within the room to tell the story of Dublin. We also did some exploring of Dublin on our own and found our schools that we will be teaching at and planned out our routes that we will take when going to school.
I’m really looking forward to this experience in seeing both the similarities and differences between the United States Education System and Ireland’s education system.
We also went on our first trip this past weekend. Kathryn, Katie, Sarah, and I decided to go visit Galway for the weekend and we had the best of times. We met so many other people from all over the world. We also saw some of the most beautiful views I’ve ever witnessed, such as the Cliffs of Moher. Overall, I feel that I have been adjusting well to Dublin and am excited to see what is in store for the rest of our stay.
I know this may sound totally out of point but i think this needs to be heard.
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Hello Fellow Scholars! (Kaeleigh’s comment’s!)
Greetings coming to you from Manchester England! This is my first trip to England and my first trip out of the country without my family! This is my third day here in the UK. I think by now I am adjusting to the time difference, thankfully its only five hours so it’s not all that crazy! I am here with two other fabulous ladies who are also student teaching and staying in the same homestay. They arrived a week before me and see well-adjusted and familiar with the area. When they started to show me around one of the first things, they showed me was this app called “Move it”, which acts as a GPS for the bus system. This is super helpful as the busses have free WIFI but if the app isn’t working you can save the route offline! The first bus I memorized was the one that stopped at our house! This made me feel a little more comfortable because no matter where we went, I knew at least one way to get back!
Adjusting is hard. I am the kind of person who hates change, but after some time adjusts and finds a new normal, it just takes a little longer for me than most! I have found that staying busy really helps. I also try to find some normal I can do here, like your nighttime routine or doing things that help you to keep your mind distracted! Like watching Netflix or taking a shower! I am lucky to have two other girls with me to talk to, but FaceTime home is another great way to feel connected. Throughout the day I try to find things that are fun to do, so I can tell my friends and family about it at night, this has been helping to make me feel better about being so far away.
No matter how you are feeling good, bad or a mix of both, IT IS OKAY! YOU WILL BE OKAY! Lean on friends and family and try to stay connected and busy where you can!
We are home. Great visit to see Ava at her school in Dielsdorf and her introduction to the student teaching experience with her mentor and Christine at the university this past Tuesday in Zurich.
Getting ready now to go to Dublin and then to Manchester. I know that Dr. Marvelle is going to Shanghai to work with Dan Bagley and to see schools in Shanghai and in Jinshan.
Hello from Zurich…. Lisa and I arrived Friday morning and now, Saturday… ready to go! We are meeting Ava on Monday at her school in Dielsdorf, about 30 minutes from Zurich by train. Tuesday, we will go to the University and meet colleagues as well as meet Ava’s supervising teacher.
To comment, one needs to go to the bottom of this (home) page, a good bit of scrolling!!
This summer Lisa and I had the opportunity to go to Zurich for the University’s 2 week “Summer School on Education” (see attached) program.
BSU had four students participating, Haley Gaynor, Lily Powers, Meghan Stanton and Rachel Murphy; a wonderful opportunity.
We are getting excited about this fall’s international student teachers. I will visit Kaeleigh Smith, Sarah Hastry and Michaela Finn in Dublin, Kaitlyn Norton, Sarah Netto, Emma Cardarelli and Katherine Driscoll in Manchester. I will also visit and work with Liz Tobin, Emma Lochhead and Maddy McNamara in Quito. Finnaly, I will visit Ava Naylor and Bridget Immar in Zurich.
Dr. Marvelle will be visiting Jenna Gillis in Hong Kong and Michael Bagley and Elizabeth Michael in Shanghai. Dr. Marvelle will also go to Caye Caulker, Belize, to work with Ellie Roberts, Abbey Barber and Sara Hilton.
Hello, I’ve just returned from visiting and working with Danielle Oliver at LICA on Caye Caulker. Excellent visit (long day getting home with flight delays!). I will be posting more news of my trip and photos asap.
I’m getting ready to go to Belize, to Caye Caulker to see Danielle and her classroom and school, LICA. I’ll also check out her living situation. We are sending three students to Caye Caulker in the fall, Ellie, Abbey and Sara.
I’m also going to meet with Odelia, who is a BSU MEd graduate and works for the Ministry. And, I’m going to see Emma who did her undergraduate and graduate degrees (ELED and SPED) at BSU. Emma teaches at a private school, the Island Academy. Both Odelia and Emma live and work in San Pedro.
Yes, home now. Great visits to the two schools in Shanghai (I’ll be posting photos asap). I believe that Dr. Marvelle is in Dublin now ….
I am visiting Danielle on Caye Caulker and at the LICA (school) the end of April.
I am now in Shanghai …. tomorrow, Monday, I’m going to the Hongqiao Middle School that we have used the past number of years. This Tuesday I will be visiting the Shanghai Normal University (where our students live when in Shanghai) and later int the day, go to Jinshan High School (my first visit to JHS).
Great to see all the postings in “News From” from Hong Kong and Dublin. I know that Ecuador and Caye Caulker are going to have amazing posts; comments and/or news! Enjoy!
Morning from Hong Kong! I arrived this past Monday night …. Kiley and Annalise arrived earlier. I visited Annalise at the Early Learning center on Tuesday. I had an excellent visit and talk with Annalise and her mentor, Vincy.
On Wednesday, I met with Kiley and vice principal Elsa (who was Stephanie’s mentor years ago) at the Jockey Club Primary School. Excellent …..
Later in the morning I met with Dr Simon Xu, the Education University of Hong Kong’s (EUHK) Director of Global Affairs. We had an excellent conversation regarding Bridgewater State’s work, student and faculty exchange, with EUHK.
Welcome Home! Just a quick note to Baileigh, Caroline, Leann, Kayla (Dublin), Elizabeth Jen, James, Grace (Quito), Amelia, Sam (Switzerland), Paige, Jen, Maya (San Pedro) and Michael (Caye Caulker, Belize)…. welcome home! Enjoy the holidays with your family. Stay in touch!
Caye Caulker is a very small island. You can get by with just walking everywhere. L.I.C.A is only a 10 minute walk from the apartments where I stayed. You can do everything much quicker if you have a bike though. I would suggest buying a used bike when you arrive and just selling it when you leave. It will make your life much easier and save you a lot of time over your 2 month stay. I got my used bike for about $175 Belize at the “El Guapo” bike shop. This shop fixes up used bikes and is the best deal on the island. If you try to find a used bike at the main grocery/ convenience stores, they will charge you more like $300- $350 for the same quality bike.
Another tip for Ecuador is to make sure that you bring sun screen and bug spray with you. These items are extremely expensive here, and very necessary. So make sure to pack them so you can stay protected! Also I would recommend some anti-itch after bite kinds of things, because the bug bites get quite annoying simetimes!
Something I have noticed about Ecuador the longer I’ve been here is the amount of public transportation available! We take buses into Quito on the weekends frequently and each bus only costs 25 cents. You can also take buses to many places around the country from Quitumbe, a large bus terminal in Quito. The max price I paid for a ticket was $4.50 I believe, and this was to Banos which was about 4-5 hours away. The public transportation is easy to navigate (along with many people willing to help) and very cost-effective!
I feel as though Caye Caulker, Belize is like a second home to me; I have grown so much as an educator and as a person from this raw experience. The people here are genuine and full of life which has been wonderful to live and see first hand. It helps to have an outgoing mindset when traveling to Belize. Sometimes people in Massachusetts can be somewhat standoffish and unfriendly when compared to places such as Belize. My outgoing personality has definitely been an asset while staying here. I have met so many new friends and made too many connections to count during my time. The faculty at my school have been more than accommodating and so have the people of the island. The time here has been not easily describable as I find it hard to muster words powerful enough to capture the influence it has had on me. Belize has been a visceral experience for me interacting with the students, teachers, and the people. It is a short period of my life that I will never forget and cherish until I am old and grey. My lasting advice is please come here with an open mind, an outgoing mindset, and love in your heart.
One thought about Belize for anyone traveling here for student teaching is to bring as many school supplies as possible. I thought that I brought a lot of supplies but for 2 months they get used up fairly quickly. I brought a good amount of folders, paper, pens, pencils, erasers, permanent markers, construction paper, books, pencil cases, staples, post- it notes, tape, scissors among other things and they were all used up and ended up conserving some of them towards the end. I even had my fiancé bring down more school supplies when she visited. They prove to be very useful in Belize and the faculty is appreciative of you having them as well.
A note to me from Shayla Fullam who was student teaching in Crewe last year, fall, 2017:
I can’t believe I’m just getting back to you for this but I don’t spend as much time on my Bridgewater email as I used to haha. I did not get that job unfortunately but I did end up as a paraprofessional at Melrose High School. It has been interesting for sure but I’m getting to work with some great teachers and students here. I have also gotten plenty of excuses to talk about my experience student teaching abroad. In my German class I’ve gotten to talk about what school was like in England and how it compares/contrasts to the US and Germany. In another class I got to give a presentation on Edinburgh, which is still tied with Liverpool for my favorite places we visited. Mary and I definitely suffered some “a year ago” we were in this place blues. I hope everyone who participated in the program this year is enjoying it and doing well. They’re at the homestretch and I know we were definitely ready to be home at the end. I hope you’re enjoying the end of the semester and can relax during your break ! Thanks again for the recommendation I know that it was a big help. I’m attaching a picture of Mary and I at graduation and another of us on one of our last bike rides home.
One last tip for Ecuador! Bring all small bills with you such as $5 and $10. Almost nowhere wants to break big bills. Use your big bills to pay your host family or the school.
Another tidbit when traveling to Ecuador, buy all your bathroom items prior to coming to Ecuador. All the bathroom items are so expensive here because they are imported.
When traveling to Ecuador bring as much change as possible like quarters, nickels, and dimes! These come in handy so often because everything is so cheap and almost nowhere wants to break big bills. The buses are also usually only 25 cents each. Bring a coin purse from home to carry all your coins in because when they do break change they almost always give you all coins.
Sunday, late afternoon, Lisa and I met up with Amelia and Samantha.
We talked, had a casual meal at the Sternen Grill (fast-food bratwurst sausages). Afterwards we walked around the Zurich Christmas Market.
This Monday I visited Samantha at the Colourwoods Montessori School in Kusnacht. Samantha introduced, using a story book, the Advent calendar and then, using a music video, taught the ‘Ant Man’. Two fun and engaging lessons for her young students.
On Tuesday morning, Lisa and I met with Friederike Hoch, the head of international office at the Zurich University of Teacher Education. After an important conversation, Lisa and I went to Ossingen (two trains and one bus) to see Amelia. Amelia taught two engaging English grammar lessons, the first to a class of 13 year olds and the second to a small group of 16 year olds.
We are getting ready to fly to Zurich tomorrow, December 1. We will be meeting Amelia and Samantha on Sunday; we are planning on visiting the Christmas Market (always fun!) and to have a bite to eat with them. Monday we (Lisa and I) are going to see Samantha’s Montessori classroom. On Tuesday, we are going to Ossingen where Amelia is teaching. It’ll be great to see Samantha and Amelia.
This week we understand that Dr. Marvelle is in Belize seeing Paige, Jen and Maya in San Pedro and Michael who is on Caye Caulker. We are excited to hear from John about his trip and visit.
Dr. Marvelle gave me some very valuable insight into my teaching strategies during his visit. All of the comments and suggestions that he has made I have taken into account and have made changes in the weeks since his visit. I have a great collaborative relationship with with my supervising practitioner and we have actually both made changes for the better in certain aspects of our instruction since he left.
Lisa and I flew back from Dublin this past Friday. Good to be home although we had a great trip to Manchester, again visiting the schools that we will use in the spring and an exceptional visit in Dublin. Now, I’m back to classes and preparing to visit Samantha and Amelia in Zurich the first week of December.
I was thinking about my experience in Ecuador so far, and I wanted to update about some of the little things that I either did not expect or have noticed! Something big for Colegio Menor that’s new is security. All teachers wear lanyard with their name and picture. They gave all of the student teachers lanyards with IDs stating that we’re teaching there. Although this is pretty common for the experience I’ve had in schools (having to wear nametags or visitor stickers or so,etching identifying me) it’s interesting that this is something new they’ve adopted, but nice to see the security! Something small I’ve noticed around the city is that all of the cars are manual. I don’t know why this was a surprise to me, but I thought it was interesting! One last small thought is that I would heavily recommend downloading Uber to use while down here. Taxis are very common, but for my own comfort I enjoy taking Ubers. And on the plus side you can pay with your card so you don’t need to worry about if you have enough cash and you have the information about the price, car and driver ahead of time! Whether you prefer Uber or taxi is up to you, I just know I am happy that I can take Ubers! I hope everyone is having a nice time at their placements!
This Sunday, Lisa and I flew to Dublin. Monday I saw our international student teachers in the morning (met Marino’s new president and others) and later that evening we met them at the Goose Tavern (local ‘proper’ pub) for a beverage or two.
Today, Wednesday, Kayla, Leann, Baileigh and Caroline are going to their schools. Good luck ladies!
2nd day in school done! My first lesson with my kids went very well! Thank you for coming back to observe it after lunch!! My students talked about it for so long after you and Lisa left!! My students all want to come see Boston and the Make Way for Ducklings statue now!
Leann, Using the storybook was a GREAT way to engage the kids! We will need to organize a field trip this summer to the Commons for your students at St Brigid’s!
Over the last few days we’ve been out to West Didsbury Schools to meet with Matt Whitehead (principal) and Paul Good. Excellent conversations. Funny, that while we were there talking with Matt and Paul, one of the teachers at WDCEPS walked into the workroom where we were meeting; she had gone to MMU (a few years ago) and had attended BSU over a semester and student taught at the Mitchell School. Our friends at West Didsbury are excited to see Caitlin and Kelly arrive this late March.
This morning, Lisa and I arrived safely in Dublin, now waiting at the gate for our flight to Manchester, Too early! We are in Manchester for four nights, visiting our schools in West Didsbury and meeting with our colleagues at MMU. This Sunday we fly to Dublin. We will be spending the week with our colleagues at Marino and Baileigh, Leann, Kayla and Caroline, our international student teachers.
Caroline; Baileigh; Leann; Kayla; Elizabeth; Jennifer; James; Grace; Amelia; Samantha, Maya; Paige; Jennifer; and Michael ….
Best wishes as you begin this adventure, student teaching abroad. Use these comments to post notes while using ‘News from….” to post more in depth stories, pictures and such. Enjoy!
Amanda, Stefani, Katie, Brittney, Brennah, Kelly, Ginger, Jen, Jessica, India, Helana, Arianna, Allison, Molly, Makaila, Kayleigh, Kaylyn, Simone, HIllary, Julee and Christina! Welcome home! Congratulations on completing your international student teaching adventure.
I agree with Dr Mac. Congrats to all of you!!!
Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel to Beijing while my students took exams.
I visited the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, and a few other touristy places. It was a nice trip and a great way to learn more about Chinese history.
I would suggest that those traveling to Shanghai should definitly plan a trip to Beijing. I went alone, so I wanted to chose a decent hotel that was close to Tiananmen Square and other attractions. I stayed at the Citytel Inn, which was small, but very safe, clean, modern and had a welcoming staff that spoke English very well. I would recommend this hotel to anyone traveling alone or with friends!
I am getting ready to fly to Quito this Friday afternoon. I’m looking forward to seeing Arianna, Helana and Allison. I have been to Quito and Colegio Menor many times over the years …. I truly enjoy going to CM and seeing Christina, the assistant to Scott Hibbard, the General Director (Head) of the school – a wonderful resource for us over the year. Christina arranges all of the home stays for our students.
Please say hi for me.
Hongqiao Middle School is located in the south west of Changning district, Chengqiao Community, in Shanghai China. Hongqiao Middle School is one of twenty one schools in the Changning district. It is a high end area with fewer community members and it is also a multi-culture area for most of the residents here are from other countries. Hongqiao Middle School has got 16 classes with a total number of 323 students. There are not too many students, but the students are of various origins. About 40% of them are Shanghainese while nearly 60% are from other provinces and there are also students from Korea. Students here are mainly from the low income families of nearby communities or the migrant workers’ family. The staff at Hongqiao Middle School is made up of 57 members and 47 of them are teachers. All the teachers have a bachelors degree. 78% of the teachers have professional ranks and titles. There are 19 youth teachers (who are under the age of 35). About half of the teachers are native to Shanghai and the other half are from other provinces. Mrs. ZHANG, a teacher you will probably work closely with because she is the supervising practitioner, is originally from Northern China. She currently lives very close to the middle school. Majority of the teachers at Hongqiao Middle School live within walking distance to the school, which is highly convenient and beautiful walk, by the way.
When designing instruction and assessment of student learning gender must be considered. At Hongqiao Middle School there are many more boys than girls. In each class more than half are boys. The classes I have taught had at most 3 girls while the other 12 students were boys. Class sizes vary. Sixth grade classes can have up to 30 students while 8th grade classes may only have 15 students. The students attending this school range from twelve years old to fifteen years old.
The students at this school have all subjects in Chinese except for English, which is taught by Chinese native speaking teachers. This has a few minor drawbacks because majority of these teachers aren’t the best at English and don’t speak English outside of the classroom. They have only mastered how to teach the curriculum and struggle with daily conversation. Again Mrs. Zhang speaks English well and the assistant principal Mary is not so bad at English. The principal, however which I only met one time does not speak nor understand English at all. The students are broken up into classes by ability to speak English. There are students who speak English well and others who have difficulties. When student teaching you will be placed in a classroom with students who speak and understand English well. Also the dress at Hong Qiao Middle School is very casual. Teachers here wear jeans, sneakers and hoodies very often. It is not like back home where you have to wear dress pants and a blouse, khakis and a button up, or shoes. Teachers are not allowed to wear sleeveless shirts however or short shorts or skirts. Everything must be at least knee length. So if you decide to come to student teach at Hong Qiao Middle School, don’t bring dressy clothes it’s not needed.
Things in China are very inexpensive. If you can do a lot of shopping and try to bring things back home. You will save a lot of money.
In Shanghai you are placed to live at Shanghai Normal University in the International Exchange Hotel. The room is disgusting, the walls are peeling, mold by the window and around the showers, and the furniture looks like they don’t clean in between stays. Not to mention the beds are extremely hard. There are washing machines to wash clothes, however you will have to hang dry them outside on a line, which isn’t too bad. To use the washing machines you need a student ID from Shanghai Normal University. The international department provides these. You will also be allowed to eat at the school canteen (cafeteria) with this student ID as well. To eat in the canteen is very inexpensive, however if you get tired of the food there are local Chinese restaurants, shops and bakeries where you can eat outside of campus. For those of you who like McDonalds, KFC, Dominos, Pizza Hut, and Starbucks, these places are not too far from campus as well. There is also a Walmart within walking distance.
The people that I have met know a lot about sports in America. They are most interested in basketball. Here in China they have a program similar to our NBA, known as CBA (Chinese Basketball Association). It is a complete replica of the NBA. I was surprised to know that many are also familiar with the Super Bowl and the New England Patriots. They have Super Bowl parties similar to what we have. They also are into watching American movies. Many people here learn English by watching these films. Girls at the middle school are into Justin Bieber. People are also very familiar with Bruno Mars, Beyoncé, Eminem, and of course Michael Jackson. While listening to American music students have told me that they learn English through the songs of these artists. People here are also familiar with the colleges in Boston, such as Harvard and MIT.
Out off all the teachers and students in Hong Qiao Middle School, only the school nurse has been to America.
Students who come this fall to student teach at Hong Qiao Middle School should know that you should be prepared to jump right in and teach. There are tons of extra curricular activities, events, and field trips that you will take part in. The commute from the campus to the middle school is about 1 hour and you will take two trains, which is a total of 4 yuan one way and 8 yuan round trip each day that school is in session. Breakfast and lunch are served everyday. If eating breakfast you should arrive no later than 7:45am, otherwise be here by 8am. If school is closed because of a holiday, it will be made up on the weekend. On weekends students and teachers will take you out to different places and help you to become better acquainted with the city. Teachers and students have many connections throughout the city, so you will always have something to do if that’s what you want. They are your best resources while here. Like I mentioned before dress for school is casual. If possible bring a gift from home that the students here could keep.
On Tuesday morning, April 17th, I visited San Pedro High where Kayleigh and Hillary are teaching Form 1 (9th grade) social studies. Kayleigh and Hillary are ably mentored by Mr. Francisco Quiroz. The young ladies each taught a lesson on the structure of Belizean government. Well done.
We hope to place a secondary education biology major at San Pedro High this fall.
continued from earlier comment: In the afternoon (Monday, April 16) I took the water taxi again over to Caye Caulker and visited the La Isla Carinosa Academy (LICA) and met the principal, Dr. Alberto August, his faculty (including his wife, Valerie, and his daughter) and students. International Student Teaching is planning on placing two students at the LICA next year, in the fall (2nd quarter). The La Isla Carinosa Academy was a welcoming school and presented a vibrant instructional environment. We at BSU are excited about working with Dr. Alberto and his educational community in the future.
This past Monday (April 16 – Marathon Monday!) I went to San Pedro Roman Catholic School (RC) to visit and observe lessons taught by Kay, Julee, Christina and Simone. All the young ladies taught interesting – and different from each other – lessons. Well done. (I do have a number of photos that I will post asap!).
This past Sunday, I took the Belize San Pedro Water Taxi over to Caye Caulker to explore the island. In all my years going to Belize, and most often to San Pedro and Ambergris Caye, I had never been to Caye Caulker. I truly enjoyed my afternoon exploring Caye Caulker.
Yesterday, after a delightful breakfast with our six young ladies, I met up with Odelia. Odelia and I had a beverage at Maxi’s and then Odelia, her mom, and I drove around (in Odelia’s golf cart). We drove up north on the island, by the high school (which I’m visiting on Tuesday) and then went back through town south.
We drove past ACES, the school where Sarah taught the last few years. We also drove by the Island Academy, where Emma (who student taught in San Predo two years ago) currently teaches.
A good day spending time with Odelia and her lovely mother.
This Friday I awoke at 3am to begin my journey to San Pedro, Belize…. 14 hours later I arrived at my hotel. After a quick nap I went for a walk. Later on, I ran into Kay, Julee, Christina and Simone. Fun to see the ladies.
This morning, we, including Hillary and Kayleigh, met at their hotel (the Spindrift) and then we walked over to Estel’s https://www.google.com/search?q=estelles+san+pedro&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari&dlnr=1&sei=Q0nSWqD8AqGA5wLep5uIDA#dlnr=1&mlpv=2 for breakfast. Excellent!
Congrats (ha!) to Jessica Scott (in Shanghai) who is our #1 person commenting (on this home page) and #1 person posting (News from Shanghai) on her site as well as reading and ‘talking’ to others on their posts.
Haha, thanks! I just booked my trip to Beijing, so maybe I’ll take break from posting until I get back to Shanghai..
This past week we’ve reached out to students who are planning to student teach in the spring 2019. We’ve had a number of students who have met with me to learn more about international student teaching. For those of you who are abroad, you are extremely valuable in sharing your exceptional experiences student teaching (and traveling) abroad.
Yesterday afternoon, Nevena, Mike Sandy and I met with the fall ’18 student teachers (not all were present). We met with Paige Philbin, Caroline Hindle, Maya Gonzales and Jennifer Harkness (Manchester, England), Bailgeigh Morse, Leann McColgan, Kelly Madden, and Kayla Foscarota (Dublin), Leah O’Bryan and Daniel Chahine (Shanghai), Elizabeth Robin and Jennifer Jordan (Quito), Amelia Walcot, Samantha Solari, James Wheeler and Grace Whalen (Zurich) and Michael Rose, Kathleen Norton and Meghan Brandley (San Pedro, Belize).
Those of you student teaching now, reach out to those who will be at your school site this fall.
Yesterday, India and I were able to travel to another district in Shanghai for an English teacher professional development day.
The school that we traveled to was about an hour away, so the school rented a van for the English department to go together. Here, we watched an actual English lesson be taught on stage. After the lesson, English teachers and professors gave positive and constructive feedback.
Although the workshop, aside from the English lesson, was in Chinese, the English teachers from our school did a great job translating for us. It was cool to see that no matter how different the school system, good teaching practices are universal.
Today I taught my first lesson at Honqiao Middle School in Shanghai! It was a reading lesson and the kids seemed to enjoy it. In the story, the little girl gets to choose something on her own. I had the class practice reading, writing and speaking by telling me what they do on their own.
I also got to participate in a dance class. There are more boys than girls in the class, so the teacher wanted me to participate as a dance partner!
How is their (the student’s) English? Great to hear that you are teaching.
Jessica… I can’t wait to visit.
You will love the students! They are always so happy, kind and welcoming.
Overall, their English is very good. Of course, some students are better at speaking English than others.
Most of the students are able to hold a detailed conversation on a variety of topics and/or situations, and all of them at least have a basic understanding.
That is so great that you got to participate in a dance class at your school! What a great way to immerse yourself in another culture. I’m sure the way they dance in Shanghai is much different than what we are all used to back home. Keep on having fun!
Glad to hear that your class went well yesterday. Would love to see pictures.
The classroom teacher did take some pictures with her phone. I will try to get them and send them to you!
Oh wow dancing sounds fun! Any certain type of dancing or music? Do the kids learn English only in school or do some families try to teach at home? Sounds like you’re enjoying it!
Good to hear that you all had a great first week’s away (with a few bumps and bruises along the way). Hard to believe that a week ago you were safe and sound in Massachusetts. Note: remember to use ‘comments’ to leave general comments to be seen quickly by all – scroll to the bottom of this page.
Exciting that Amanda and Stefani are in Crewe, England, Katie, Brittney, Brennah and Kelly are in Dublin, Ginger and Jen are in Hong Kong, Jessica and India are in Shanghai, Jacquelyn, Helana, Arianna and Allison are in Quito (Cumbaya), Molly and Makaila are in Zurich and Kayleigh, Kaylyn, Simone, Hillary, Julee and Christina are in San Pedro, Belize. Excellent!
Dean Lisa and I had an enjoyable and productive visit on Monday meeting the president (their dean) of the Zurich University of Teacher Education, PH Zurich (about the same size of our CEAS). Later in the afternoon we met up with Molly and Makaila and had pizza and beverages.
On Tuesday, Dean Lisa, Lisa and I went to SIS Wollishofen, the exciting school where Molly and Makaila are teaching. We met their cooperating teachers, one from New Jersey and the other from Chicago (ha!). We visited their classrooms….. Go Molly! Go Makaila! Later in the morning we returned to the university and had lunch with Friederike Hoch, the head of their international office. And then, we met with Nadine, a student at PH Zurich who will be spending the fall term with us at BSU. Funny that Nadine spent 8 days in Boston over Christmas and went to a Pats game! Ha!
We, Dean Battaglino and her husband Dennis, and Lisa and I, have arrived in Zurich. An overnight flight, non-stop from Boston Logan. Funny, we saw Molly and Makaila at the airport, they are on their way to student teach in Zurich. We will be seeing the two young ladies Monday afternoon and visiting their school Tuesday morning.
This weekend, all of our spring 2018 international student teachers are traveling. Bob Voyage!
Before we left Zurich I had heard from Jen and Ginger who are already in Hong Kong. I know they’ll be, as will our other ISTers, blogging soon.
I look forward to hearing more about our developing and exciting partnership with our colleagues in Zurich!
Jealous that Dean Battaglino is going to Zurich. Visit us in Ecuador too! 🙂
Ha Allison, I think (although it would be great if Dean Lisa would come) you are only getting me and my Lisa! Sorry!!
Shayla, Mary, Emily, Angela, Noah, Brianna, Kate, Abbey, Josh, Kristyna and Miranda, WELCOME HOME!
These past few weeks have been quite busy for Shayla and I. We are really enjoying our time at Leighton Academy and we have just started teaching lessons by ourselves. Last week we both taught a lesson to our classes about Thanksgiving! For my lesson I introduced what Thanksgiving is and the history behind it using a PowerPoint. Then I discussed how my family and I celebrate this tradition. The students made hand-print turkeys and listed things they were thankful for in their hand-print. They LOVED learning about Thanksgiving and it was really nice that I was able to teach them about it especially since I wasn’t able to be home to celebrate with my family.
Because we do not have classes on Fridays, Shayla and I have been able to travel to many places. So far we have been to Scotland, Dublin, Amsterdam, and Paris. Each place is amazing, but Paris was absolutely beautiful! On our first day we went to the Louvre Museum where we were able to see the Mona Lisa painting. Next, we toured the opera house which was really beautiful. After, we made our way to the Eiffel Tower. I can’t believe how big it is in person. At night, the tower lights up and will sparkle for five minutes every hour on the hour. It was a really great experience and one I won’t forget. The next day we went to Disneyland Paris. This park is a lot smaller than the one at home, but we still had so much fun here. We stayed the entire day and they have a really cool illuminations show on the castle at the end of the day.
I also really enjoyed Amsterdam! My boyfriend and friend came to visit me here so it was really nice to spend time with them. We went to the Anne Frank house which was definitely something I recommend for anyone who travels here. My only advice is watch out for the bikers!! Everyone rides their bikes here and they are not afraid to yell or hit you if you are in the way…
This weekend we are staying a bit more local and heading to Manchester to check out the Christmas markets. We have been traveling so much, so it will be nice to relax more this weekend. I can’t believe we only have a few more weeks left. Time is flying by!
Hi from Crewe! We have been having such a great time here in class, working in the school and traveling! It is really eye opening to see all the different perspectives of teaching and life abroad. Being enrolled in two university classes on Mondays has been a great experience. We get to work with students who are also training to become teachers and we get more insight on UK schools, not just the one we are working in. Our peers are just as interested in the way we do things back home as we are with how they do things here.
Working in the primary school Tuesday through Thursday has been very rewarding and different. Our teachers have such a heavy workload with 30 students in their class and they are so appreciative for our help around the class. It’s been nice to be able to work with different groups of students and get to make a connection with them. They are a very lively and fun bunch and have so many questions about America. They think that I drive home to the U.S. after work. I really enjoy being in the class with them and we are gaining more and more responsibility each day. We also get school lunch there from their cafeteria and it’s actually really good. Probably because its home made!
Because we have Friday off, we have been able to travel the weekends! Sometimes we leave Thursday nights if we can find a cheaper airfare. Luckily Crewe is placed in a railroad town which makes it an easy half hour from two different airports on the train. We are airport pros now and probably won’t want to be in one for a while after we are finally home! We have been to Edinburgh, Scotland, Dublin, Amsterdam and Paris so far. My top two are tied between Edinburgh and Paris. Edinburgh was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Paris was fantastic as well but we could have used more time sight seeing, as we only had one day. The other day we went to Disneyland Paris which was definitely a lot smaller than Disneyworld but it was something to check off my bucket list! We can’t believe we have less than 20 days left. Everything has gone by so fast, yet so slow at the same time. We feel like we have been here for years already but we are so appreciative for our time we have spent here. We have seen so much and learned a lot from the people we have met!
I will be student teaching in Crewe in March and was wondering what kind of classes are you taking and how did you sign up for those classes?
I hope that you are enjoying Crewe and I look forward to hearing more about your travels from this blog. I cant wait til March to have this experience myself!
Great to see you on the blog ‘talking’ to Mary and Shayla!
San Pedro, Belize is sunny and in the 80s once again, and I am told back home in MA is quite chilly. Needless to say, going home for Christmas will be a shock for the girls and myself, because we will go from summer weather to sweater weather in a few hours on two plane rides.
Recently, the girls and I began to poke around the island to try and find some souvenirs to bring home for our family and friends because the slow season is ending and deals will be less frequently found. There are a bunch of shops in the center of town near the school, but we are finding that some of the smaller shops a little further away have a larger selection and are more reasonably priced than some of the tourist trap type places near the hotel. it makes sense, stuff that is more convenient is a higher price, but poking around to local vendors for hand-crafted mahogany sea creatures or serving bowls, for example, has proven rather rewarding. We have a holiday to shop for, but in general, the items on the island are great.
That sort of brings me to my next point, grocery shopping. There are no Wal-Marts, Market Baskets, or Shaw’s Markets, places that have fresh produce, a butcher and deli, shelf life foods, and everything in between. Grocery shopping here often means going to three or four or more stores. There is a deli that sells chicken, beef, and fish, but because that is all they sell, they specialize in chicken, beef, and fish. The same is true for a lot of other places. Yes they have mac-and-cheese and the things you love at home, for the most part, but I highly encourage anyone interested to think about trying some local, smaller shops. There is a great fruit and vegetable stand I go to. I get ten bananas for $1US which is absurd but amazing at the same time. The man who runs it is really nice and he gets shipments of fresh fruits and vegetables at random times, so I check in with him often. So far it has been wonderful.
But if you are not a good cook, you have two options, learn how to while you are here, or go out to the multiple places to eat nearby!
I just wanted to tell everyone a little bit about a holiday we recently celebrated here in San Pedro, Children’s Day! The entire week at the Roman Catholic School was devoted to celebrating this holiday. We had events every day this week including, Karaoke, Arts and Crafts with parents, Games (which is similar to a Field Day in the US), and huge Parade on Friday. For the parade, every classroom dressed up for a theme, mine was fish, and the entire school followed the band as we walked through the streets of San Pedro. The community came out to watch the parade and cheer for the students and then we had a big meal back in the classroom. It was a great day for the students as well as the San Pedro community. This eventful week was followed by a long weekend!
Happy Children’s Day everyone!!
Friday night Josh, Kristyna and I had dinner at Pineapples on the Beach which is a restaurant right on the water at Ramon’s Village. It is a short walk from our room at the Sprindrift and is definitely worth a visit. The food was absolutely AMAZING. The service was great as well, our waiter, Mark, pointed our some of their most famous dishes and convinced me to splurge a little bit and get the Surf and Turf. And let me tell you, it was the best lobster and steak I’ve ever had!
Hello from San Pedro!
Miranda, Josh and I have a long weekend from school so we decided to spend our time on the island of Caye Caulker. We have talked about Caye Caulker in previous posts, but this weekend we were able to spend the night so we could see more of the island. We spent Saturday at Koko Beach, which is a little island off of Caye Caulker. There is a free boat that takes you to and from the beach. Koko beach has water trampolines, volleyball nets in the water, cabanas and an infinity pool. We had an amazing time and I highly recommend if you have the opportunity to take a trip to Koko beach do it. Today we also booked a daylong snorkeling trip to see the sharks, Hol Chan, and the coral gardens. We have already snorkeled with the sharks and at Hol Chan, but we were told we could see manatees along the way this time because it is their mating season. Unfortunately we did not see any manatees but we did see dolphins and sea turtles along our way. The coral garden was also amazing, because there was a lot of marine life I have not seen before in the other areas of the reef. If you cannot tell from our other blog posts we love snorkeling and seeing the marine life on both San Pedro and Caye Caulker. I think you definitely have to snorkel if you are ever in Belize.
Another update from San Pedro, Belize!
There are only a couple gyms here on the island, and they are not cheap. That is the bummer. The upside to it all is that the island is hot, you walk a lot, and food portions at restaurants are smaller. Having said that, this island is amazing for early morning or early evening runs. I used to run 2 or 3 times a week, but no am averaging 5 or more runs a week because running while the sun rises around you or while it sets beside you is awesome. It is great to see some parts of the island on the run and to get in a light workout before or after the school day. But be sure to hydrate. It is warm here and hydration is key.
Another cool thing is that the kids love to play football (soccer) after school. I have played with them a few times and let me tell you, they get super into exerting all the pent up energy after a school day. I highly suggest playing with them at some point. Be sure to wear your sunblock if you do not do well in the sun, like me. The kids often comment on my skin tone, hair color, and eye color because I need sun block, sun glasses and have a red beard so they get a kick out of it.
Enjoying our time here, I suggest checking it out or reaching out to us to ask about it!
Friends and colleagues,
This morning I met our colleague from Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), Dr Julie Scanlon, at our hotel. As a result of Julie’s efforts, I had a wonderful and productive visit with officials. Mr. Paul Good and Mr. Matt Whitehead, at an elementary school in Didsbury (just outside of Manchester). It is hoped that this school and two others in this district will host six of our international student teachers this fall, 2018. Exciting!
Faite from a 1980 BSU alum. visiting Ireland!
In 1979, I was among a group of then, BSC student teachers student teaching overseas. To this day, I credit my 32 year career in teaching to the wonderful opportunity Dr. Robert Moglicki afforded me as the original, I believe, coordinator of the program. I did my student teaching at ACS Hampstead in London. It was a beautiful experience and got me started on the International Travel Bug in general. Since then, I have taught in South America, and have travelled extensively throughout Europe, where I am currently sitting in a lovely B&B outside of Dublin with my husband (irish, of course) of nearly 30 years! There’s nothing like travelling and living abroad. Coming from a tiny college south of Boston then, to what you new BSU students experience is no different now. Keep travelling and learning about new ways to enrich young peoples’ lives and keep making your soon-to-be Alma Mater proud! And Dr. MacMillan, MOST of my career was spent teaching Special Needs students in Boston and Brockton once I finally returned home after “wanderlust”! I couldn’t have been happier in my career and am thankfully, glad that I am retired with such fond memories of teaching kids with and without disabilities. Teaching abroad helped me with that! Keep up the good work!
I read your interesting and wonderful comment with great interest when you posted. Of course, now I am just responding! Ha! Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, international student teaching is the BEST.
One question for you, is how did you find our blog?! Please comment again. We’d love to hear from you again.
Wishing you and your family a safe and wonderful holiday season.
We had a great visit today at the Leighton Academy with Shayla and Mary. Both ladies are in year 3 classrooms (2nd grade in the US). Whew! 30 kids in a pretty small classroom. It was good to see and talk with them. Good work by both Shayla and Mary. I’ll comment further tomorrow.
Tomorrow we are meeting our colleague, Dr. Julie Scanlon and visiting two schools in Didsbury, just outside of Manchester (yes, leaving Crewe). We will be investigating possible school sites for fall, ’18. Wish us luck!
Lisa and I have arrived in Manchester. Today we are meeting Dr Stephen Tyler, a colleague at MMU who taught, two summers, at BSU. Tomorrow, Wednesday, we are traveling to Crewe to see Mary and Shayla and our colleagues at the Leighton Academy.
We will be met at the Crewe train station (famous station) by Dr Julie Scanlon, from MMU, who has been such an friend and asset to our students.
This week was another great week in San Pedro!
Some things I want to share about this week include some of my favorite places to eat. So far, two of my favorite breakfast places on San Pedro are the Island Torch and Estel’s. They both have really great pancakes, eggs and breakfast burritos! And for some reason, Estel’s has the best orange juice I have ever had. Also, if you ever have a chance to go to Ruby’s Bakery right next to the Roman Catholic School, GET A BANANA MUFFIN. They are amazing. I actually walked there this morning in the pouring rain because I was craving one.
For lunch, there are so many places to go. Personally I like the little hole-in-the-wall places for lunches that aren’t too expensive. One of these places is called Vero’s Café. The woman who owns it makes homemade tortillas and cooks everything right in front of you. The burritos are amazing and only 4 Belize dollars. I also love the pizza from La Mozzarella which happens to be right down stairs. You can get a small pizza for 13 Belize dollars.
For dinner, the list is long, but some of my favorite places so far are Blue Water Grill, Fido’s and Caliente’s. Blue Water Gill is a little bit on the expensive side, but it is a beautiful restaurant with live music and amazing food. We went for a special occasion, Kristyna’s birthday! Fido’s is also really good. I have been there a few times. They have a really long drink list and have THE best nachos. They also have live music 5 nights a week and it’s a really nice atmosphere.
Lastly, we have had ice cream at 3 different places and my favorite one is called the Bike Rental Shop which is also right next to the Roman Catholic School on Middle Street. Yes, surprising, but a bike rental shop has the best ice cream. They also make fruit smoothies which might be my new after school snack because they’re AMAZING.
This week was awesome here in San Pedro, Belize.
The students sang to me on my birthday in every one of my classes. It was really nice of the and super cute. Class is going well and I am teaching quite a bit, which is super exciting in my opinion. My teacher has been responsive to my feedback and has been willing to let me try some new teaching techniques with the kids, and they seem to be working well. There is a lot of room for improvement with the academics at the school, and the teachers are open to suggestions. It is my teacher’s 19th year and we often bounce ideas off of one another, which is great. In addition, I find the kids crave attention and reinforcement. I tell them that I will play football (soccer) with them if they do their work and they have been responding well. I get tired and sweating giving them this reward, but they look forward to recess and do their work accordingly because of it.
Aside form school, the experience in San Pedro has been great. We went to an awesome seaside restaurant because this week it was my birthday and Kristyna’s. There was a reggae group performing that complimented the meal and made it even better. We saw the Mayan ruins and were able to relax on a natural lazy river through the caves that some Mayans used for rituals. So far, this trip has been unbelievably memorable!
The use of that positive reinforcement and reward is an excellent technique. I am so glad the teacher you are working with is allowing you to contribute so much to the classroom. Cannot wait to hear more.
Hello from San Pedro!
Yesterday Miranda, Josh and I took a trip to the mainland to go tubing through caves and to see the Mayan Ruin, Altun Ha. We took a tour with the tour group cavetubing.bz. It is the off-season for tourism in Belize so we were the only 3 in the group. It was an amazing experience! We took the 6:30 am water-taxi and were greeted at the water terminal by our tour guide Alfredo. Along the way from the taxi to the ruins Alfredo brought us to the Belize sign and to the Barron Bliss Lighthouse, which is a famous lighthouse where the man the lighthouse was named after is buried. We arrived at the ruins roughly an hour later. Altun Ha was discovered fairly recently and was excavated in 1961. Archeologists believe there are many more Mayan Ruins in the jungles of Belize that have yet to be uncovered. Altun Ha had 13 structures and we were able to climb up all of them. The main structure, which was created to serve as a tomb for the Mayan king, had the best view of all. After spending an hour at the ruins we were brought back to the company’s main office where we were given a lunch of chicken, rice, beans, and coleslaw. From lunch we were brought to caves where Mayans used to have spiritual rituals. To get to the caves we had to hike through the jungle for a half hour. Along the way we got to see termites, different vegetation and a tarantula! After the hike we came to a body of water where it was time to tie our tubes together and enjoy the caves. The caves were absolutely breathtaking! Our tour guide even let us get out of our tubes for a little to explore the caves ourselves. Our tubing adventure lasted a little under 2 hours. After we finished I wanted to do it again! I highly recommend if you come to Belize to do the ruins and cave tubing it was an amazing experience and my description of it does not do it justice!
Hello from Dublin.
We’ve had a wonderful visit to our colleagues at the Marino Institute and most important, an excellent visit with Angela and Emily. We’ve observed Angela and Emily teaching their classes (6th year, 5th grade in the US at the Darndale Senior School). Both ladies taught a lesson comparing and contrasting the differences between Boston and Dublin. Excellent lessons ……
We, Lisa and I, travel to Manchester on Monday afternoon… we see Mary and Shayla on Wednesday in Crewe.
Hello from Crewe, England!
It is our second week here in Crewe and so far it has been very exciting! Last week Shayla and I spent our first few days getting to know the students and staff at Leighton Academy. Everyone is so friendly! We are both teaching in year 3 classrooms. So far I have been working in small groups throughout the day and we also just had a field trip this week to a nearby college where the students were able to compete in different sport obstacles. The curriculum is very different compared to Massachusetts so I am still trying to get used to everything, but it is also very interesting to see! I have already learned many new ideas and strategies that I can bring home with me.
The local church loaned us bikes that we have been using this week (last week we both had flat tires) to get to and from school which saves us a lot of money on taxis and busses. So far Shayla and I have travelled to Edinburgh, Scotland. Edinburgh is SO beautiful and I highly recommend travelling there. We walked around the city and visited a few shops and pubs. We also went to the museums (which were all free), saw the Edinburgh Castle and took an underground tour of Mary King’s Close which was one of the busiest streets in the 17th century.
This weekend we are heading to Dublin and we are definitely looking forward to it!
Hola from Quito, Ecuador!
Due to a holiday that is celebrated down here, our first full weekend in Ecuador was actually a long weekend, having Thursday and Friday off going into the weekend. Abbey, Bri, Noah and I took advantage of this time off and ventured to one of the most recommended sites by our fellow teachers at Colegio Menor, the Baños de Agua Santa- or just Baños for short.
Because we chose to go to such a popular site on a busy holiday weekend, bus tickets were sold out on Thursday so we took a taxi instead for just $25 per person. (Mind you this was a three hour ride away… I’ll take that over an overpriced and double surcharge American Uber any day lol). At the end of the weekend, we caught a much earlier bus on Sunday morning and were able to return back to Quito for just $5 a person. Not a bad gig.
Our experience in the Baños was truly remarkable. Between the adrenaline rush of zip-lining over waterfalls and mountain cliffs, going on a four hour horseback riding excursion, experiencing a safe yet energetic nightlife, and catching the incredible views from the summit via a swing from a Tree House on the mountain’s peak; this was definitely a weekend to remember.
My only advice to anyone who is traveling here: buy bottled water and drink LOTS of it… for you will need to stay hydrated to keep up with all of your adventures.
I hope that everyone else who is traveling this semester is having as great of an experience as we are down here, but after reading some of these other posts, it seems like everyone is! Best of luck to all of my fellow BSU students.
I had the pleasure of meeting your friend Arianna who is going to Ecuador this spring….. Good to see that you are enjoying your adventure in Ecuador (and yes, I’ve been to Banos…. !)
Hello from San Pedro!
I am here with Josh and Krystina teaching at the Roman Catholic School. So far, I am absolutely loving it here! The people are so nice and welcoming. We have had so many people approach us throughout the last week to introduce themselves, ask about our experience and give recommendations for food and attractions while we are here.
This past weekend we decided to take a trip to Caye Caulker which I HIGHLY recommend for anyone in the area. It is absolutely beautiful and there is so much to do. We spent our day at Ice and Beans, Sip and Dip and the Split which Josh touched upon in his last post. We had planned to take the boat from Caye Calker over to Coconut Beach to swim in the infinity pool and attend the Full Moon Party, but unfortunately we had too much fun at the Split playing volleyball, cornhole and swimming that we did not make it over there. We plan to visit again soon and definitely make it to Coconut Beach next time because according to some locals we met, it is a “must see.”
On Sunday we decided to take a dip with some nerf sharks. The three of us took a boat ride with another couple and our tour guide, Santiago, where we went to Hole Chan to snorkel with eels, sting rays, turtles, fish and much more. We were able to see the second largest Barrier Reef in the world (which also happens to be the smallest because there are only 2). We also went to another area where we hopped in the water with hundreds of nerf sharks and some sting rays. It was the coolest thing I have ever seen. The entire trip was 2.5 hours and only cost $45.00 US. Santiago also offered to take us to Secret Beach or any other cool spots whenever as long as we pay for the boat’s gas which is surprisingly cheap as well.
All you need to take from this blog post is GO TO CAYE CAULKER and SWIM WITH NERF SHARKS!!! Two of the best days of my life and I’m not kidding.
Yesterday was our first excursion in Belize!
We went to Caye Caulker, a nearby island, and it was wonderful. It is smaller and less populated but even more tropical because of those facts. Here is a basic layout of the day:
1. Wake up and catch the water taxi
2. Grab coffee and bubble waffles from “Ice and Beans”
3. Feed fish sardines, using nothing but our hands. They jumped up to grab the food!
4. Go to a bar called “Sip and Dip” and there were swings and floats in the water off the dock and we just relaxed, still full from breakfast
5. I was getting a little burnt, as I often do, so I went to the “Lazy Lizard” and read in the shade
6. The girls came back after getting some sun and we jumped off of a 15-foot ladder (it took me a while to get the courage but a friendly Canadian man helped)
7. We met a couple form Vancouver that told us about Shark alley for diving
8. We played volleyball with 5 guys from the UK and 2 girls from Holland
9. The girls entered a corn hole tournament and were destroyed by local, Brandon
10. We hung out with Brandon for a while and he was great
11. He took us to a local grill and I tried jerk chicken. Way too spic for me but the food was great
12. We ate and waited out a passing rain storm. They never last very long
13. We went back to the Lazy Lizard and talked with solo travelers that were on trips from 3 weeks alone to four months alone, to a couple that was in month six of travelling. Definitely caught the travel bug I would say.
14. We watched the sunset and it was stunning
15. We met a few more locals
16. We caught the ferry back to San Pedro
17. We showered up and were too comfortable/drained to do anything but just relax until bed
It was an amazing day, and I am writing this before we go get breakfast and keep the fun rolling! Also, just a side note, there are so many dogs here in Belize and you can pet them all. Just saying.
A very impressive day!
I have been in Dublin for a little over three days now and it has already been an amazing experience. Angela and I have toured many parts of the city including the Long Room at Trinity College, the Guinness Storehouse, the National Gallery, and the Archaeology Museum. My favorite place so far to visit was the Long Room because when you first walk into the room you are overwhelmed with the height of the bookcases and the sheer amount of books found (there are 200,000 books). Over the next two days we plan to visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral and try and see some live music at a pub.
We have not yet been to our school yet but we very much look forward to our first visit on Tuesday. Our hosts here at Marino have been incredible with helping our transition to a new country and time zone! Ciaran Fogerty met us at the airport on our first day and brought us to the apartment we are staying in. He also took us on a brief tour of the area while helping us get some necessities for the apartment and our bus passes. I am really enjoying my time so far in Dublin and cannot wait to start in the school!
My suggestions for sweets:
Murphy’s Ice Cream (various locations, I believe there is one in Dublin)
Danger Donuts (when I was there, two locations were in Dublin)
Aside form that, the ring of Kerry and Dingle were amongst the most beautiful places that I have ever seen.
All of the ventures were fun and interesting! I was unfamiliar with the Long Room at Trinity College so the experience was entirely new to me. Clearly Emily and I have been very busy touring Dublin and familiarizing ourselves with the city. Thankfully Emily is very savvy to the bus system, which makes things a lot easier and less stressful for me. I am certainly glad that there are two of us here together.
My favorite exhibit so far was at the Natural History Museum. I have read poetry that referred to the bog people and I have always wanted to see them with my own eyes and now I have! It’s and incredible thing to see.
Lisa and I are getting ready to go to Dublin this next week, Thursday, 9 November. We will see Emily and Angela and our colleagues and friends at the Marino Institute. I understand that we will meet Emily and Angela at Marino Thursday afternoon and go to their school on Friday. My thought is we will have time to go to The Goose near Marino for a Guinness.
Hello from San Pedro!
My first week in San Pedro is almost over and it has definitely been an interesting week. This is my first time out of the U.S and I have learned a lot in such a short period of time. The people in San Pedro are very friendly and easygoing. They are very willing to help the tourists find the best places to eat and explore. Josh, Miranda, and I are currently looking into excursions we can do around the island on our days off. My supervising teacher has already invited us to go swimming with the sharks. The previous weeks we were told were very rainy and gloomy, so I am hoping we keep the good weather. Most days have been around 85 degrees with only a few quick showers in the morning.
I am currently in a 2nd grade classroom (Infant II) with 29 students. I am a severe special education major and previously taught in a sub-separate classroom with 11 students in Waltham. Going from 11 students to 29 was definitely a huge change for me. Right now I am observing and trying to familiarize myself with their routine and schedule. I am also trying to memorize all of my students’ names and my goal is to have them all memorized by tomorrow. I will write more about my classroom experience in a future blog post.
The most confusing thing I would say so far is the currency. The Belize currency is roughly .50 cents to our $1. Typically stores will promote their prices in Belizean currency but sometimes they promote the price in American. It is usually easy to tell which they are advertising, but there are instances when it could go either way. Overall I am having a great time in San Pedro and am very happy with my decision to teach abroad.
It is interesting that Kristyna wrote that she is a severe special education major and student taught in a sub separate classroom with 11 students but is now in a 2nd grade classroom with 29 students. We feel (I certainly do) that ‘good teaching is good teaching’ and any experience will serve one well in the future.
Today will be the third day of class for me here in San Pedro, Belize. I am blogging before the school day begins because, even though there is only a two-hour time difference between Belize and MA, I am only beginning to adjust to the mornings here. I am sleepy by 8 or 9 pm, because it still feels like 10 or 11 pm, which means I wake up at a local 5 am or 6 am!
But we move forward. The school is definitely different than I expected. I will touch upon that after I have more experience there and begin to teach a few lessons with the students in the next few days. For now, I will focus on the environment. The Spindrift Hotel is really nice, and the restaurants nearby are very tasty. Most waterfront locations are significantly more expensive than places that are only two-minutes from the waterfront. I have found that there is not as many “beaches” as we think of them back home. Here and there the island has a patch of sand and that provides a beach atmosphere, but there are docks nearby that are public and are great spots for swimming. The locals do not spend a ton of time swimming because to them, this is the cooler season, and many people wear pants or sweatshirts even though it is 85F or higher with humidity.
The food is good, but grocery shopping is tough. Each store offers different specialties, some having better prices on rice and beans but a poor selection in the produce, and vice versa other places. I think I am just accustomed to the “one-stop shopping” that we have back home! I was sad to learn that mangoes are out of season, along with a number of other fruits that are native to Belize and surrounding countries, but that is alright, they still have bananas and pineapple. The coolest part of the fruit selection is that oranges are actually green but still taste good, not as though they are unripe. Riddle me that.
We, meaning myself and the two other BSU students I am living with, are currently looking into visiting surrounding islands, scuba diving, snorkeling, and visiting Mayan Ruins. I am excited for the opportunity to learn about the culture here. One thing that we did not realize is that the sunset is around 5:15 pm each evening so there is not a ton of afternoon and evening beach-going. Foolishly, we all assumed it would be around 8 pm, but we are tired after a day in the warm classrooms so we have been dozing early. So far, I have realized that here, more than any place that I have been, people rely on tourism for nearly all of their income.
Another post about the school will follow in the next day or two. I want to keep experiencing the school so I have more to write about!
Great to hear from you. I trust that Kristyna and Miranda are also well. Last spring there were, as you may know, four young ladies in that apartment. My guess is that you three are living very comfortably.
And yes, very (at least to us) warm in Belize – and my guess, much cooler in Ambergris Caye than on the mainland.
Bon Voyage! Safe Travels!! We have students going to Belize, Ecuador, Ireland and England. Very exciting!
As you begin to blog …..For your News (post to “categories” on the right side of the home page), specific to your travels and such, post in ‘News From ….’ – but otherwise, post (‘comments’ or ‘thoughts’) on here, the main front (‘home”) page – you’ll need to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page unless you are commenting on what someone wrote – then you can just ‘reply’.
A number of you have asked about teaching at an international school after loving their international experience. Here is the web site for international school services, an agency that assists international schools in recruiting teachers:
Also, check out U Northern Iowa’s Overseas Placement Service at https://teachoverseas.uni.edu/homepage
Hello from Belize!
Last weekend we had a three day weekend due to the fact that it was Labor Day here in Belize! So we were able to go to a neighboring island (Caye Caulker) to explore the island, and relax in the sun! We had an awesome day! This upcoming weekend for our last weekend we plan on relaxing on the island of San Pedro, and finish our last minute shopping and what not, before we leave on Tuesday.
I cannot believe that this experience is coming to an end already… These eight weeks have gone by so fast! As I sit here and reflect on my time abroad, I am truly not only thankful for the experience, but forever grateful as well. I have learned so much about not only teaching, but about myself as well. As I watch back my videos of me teaching back home in Taunton, to watching my teaching videos now in Belize, I have truly grown as a teacher, and my confidence as grown as well!
Tomorrow is my last day teaching at the San Pedro Roman Catholic School, and boy am I not ready to say goodbye to my students yet. These little humans inspire me every single day that I am with them. They make me laugh, and truly bring joy to my heart. I hope I have impacted and inspired them in some way, because they have impacted and inspired me more so than they will ever know.
Again thank you Dr. MacMillan and Dr. Marvelle for giving me this amazing opportunity, it has truly been the best decision I made while in college. I also cannot think of a better way to end my undergrad college career.
I hope everyone has safe travels back home! I will see you all at graduation!!!
All the best,
Evening from southeastern Massachusetts! Dr. Marvelle and I have finished our visits to our international sites. We’ve had excellent visits. As you finish your wonderful and exciting experience we’d like a few things from all of you. We’d like concluding post(s) and or comment(s) from each of you. Also, if you recall, we’d wish for you to create a PowerPoint or video highlighting your experience ( I know a number of you are working on your submissions).
Finally, we have finalized our placements for next fall. I’ll connect those who are away now with those who are going this fall (eighteen students, largest group ever!).
Hello from Belize! Another good week of teaching at the San Pedro Roman Catholic School! It was so nice to see the students this week! I missed them so much over our two and a half week break for Easter!
Next week (our last week of teaching already!- Where does the time go?!) we only have a three day week because of holidays and professional development days for the teachers. It is going to be so hard leaving these kids…
This weekend me and the girls plan on going to Ceye Cauker, which is a neighboring island to San Pedro. We just want to go to the beach and relax, and explore the island! Cannot believe that our time is already near the end! Time flies when you are having fun!
Hello from Belize!
Sorry that it has been so long since I have blogged, but it has been an eventful couple of weeks for me! My parents came to visit me for Easter for 8 days! I had so much fun showing them around, taking them to Secret Beach, the Chicken Drop, and all the other fun things to do in San Pedro! I also took them to the school where they were able to meet some of my students! It was so much fun! I then had my best friend from home Kellie come visit me for a week as well! (Kellie graduated from BSU in 2015 with an ELED degree and she did international student teaching in England!) Kellie and I went to Secret Beach, ate some amazing food, went snorkeling at Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley, climbed the Mayan Ruins, and Cave Tubing. We had so much fun exploring and soaking up the sun together! I was truly fortunate to have family and friends come down to visit me and experience this amazing island with me!
Me and the girls have a couple of days left to our Easter Break, and we plan on relaxing in the sun, and maybe going to another local island for the day to explore that!
I look forward though to going back to school on Monday to see my students! I miss them so much, and I cannot believe I only have 9 more school days left with them! Crazy how time flies!
I’m getting ready to fly to Rio this Friday afternoon. It will be a quick trip in that I arrive Saturday morning, meet Ashley and Michayla Sunday afternoon. Go to their school, ‘The American School’ Monday and fly out Tuesday. I arrive back into Boston around noon on Wednesday.
This Monday I went to the San Pedro Roman Catholic School (SPRCS) to see our student teachers. Kayla was good enough to be my guide. We met Melissa and her teacher, Mr. Steven in grade 3. I had the opportunity to see Mikayla teach her grade 3 students and Devon teach her grade 5 students. Seems that our Belizian students at SPRCS are about two years behind their age peers in the US. I met all of their teachers and expressed to them how great it was that they were working with our BSU students.
Later in the day, I met with the two managers of the Spindrift Hotel where the ladies are living. I had a very good meeting with Yami and Diana. Especially important we talked about the Spindrift hosting our fall ’17 (October 30-December 21) students.
Today was day 1 of our 2 day week! I spent time with my San Pedro Roman Catholic School students today reviewing Religion, Math, and Language Arts for their exams starting on Thursday. I’ll be able to play review games with them tomorrow, and I’m thinking of playing Slap the Board and Plickers.
I’m looking forward for the 2 week April vacation because I’ll get to experience what Easter is like here. I hear from the teachers and the locals that it is very packed and eventful during this holiday period. I’m excited to see what’s in store!
Hello from Belize!
This weekend me and the other girls went snorkeling in Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley. It was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!! We were surrounded by such beauty all day, and I was left speechless.
This week is only a two day week for us at school because they are starting exams before Easter break. But, we are excited to start our break because we will be having friends and family visit us during our time off. I am so excited to show my parents and one of my best friends Kellie around this beautiful island! The next couple of weeks will sure be amazing.
My family, Kellie, and myself plan on going to the Mayan Ruins, and maybe snorkeling again, along with shopping! Everything is an adventure and we are all on Belizien time.
Hello from San Pedro. Sunday I met the ladies at their apartment at the Spindrift. A very comfortable apartment with a great location near their school and ….. on the beach. We walked two blocks for a great lunch. It was a wonderful day with the ladies with excellent conversation.
So good to see you! If we do not see you have a safe trip back home!
Belize continues to leave me speechless with its natural beauty. Not only has the weather been gorgeous, but the other girls and I had the opportunity to explore Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley this weekend and I was truly left speechless. The coral, fish, nurse sharks, sting rays and other underwater life was breathtaking. It was definitely an experience I will not forget and I will probably end up snorkeling again before I leave. I highly recommend the experience for next semesters student teachers!
Hello from Belize!
This week at school started off a little crazy for us because a lot of teachers were absent on both Monday and Tuesday of this week. So since they have a shortage of teachers, me and the girls had to be substitute teachers for the school. It was hard to do, and stressful for sure since we were never given lesson plans, but it was a learning experience for us. I am also glad that I could help the school out since they needed it. This week I also played soccer with the students during PE so it was a lot of fun! I love the students here so much!
Last weekend me and the girls had a three day weekend, so we got to do so many exciting things! We went cave tubing and zip lining and it was AMAZING! We had an amazing time! This weekend we are looking forward to going to Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley and snorkel with turtles, fish, sharks, sting rays, and other amazing animals! We are so excited! Next week we only have a two day week because they do not want us to come in for exam days before Easter. So, our Easter break is extended by a couple of days.
This upcoming week Dr. MacMillian comes to visit us here in San Pedro, so we are looking forward to his arrival! Shortly there after for Easter break I have my parents coming to visit me here on the island, and my best friend Kellie (Kellie went to England two years ago to do her student teaching in Crewe!) So we have a couple of exciting weeks ahead of us, and I am looking forward to it!
Hope everyone is having an amazing time!
Hello from San Pedro, Belize. This week, I have been able to familiarize myself with the students a lot more. I learned more about their hobbies, families, pet peeves, and much more. I think these factors do play a role in how students behave in class. I learned very quickly which students get along with which students and who works best with one another. This week, I was able to make my own seating chart for the students. They originally were seated in long rows and some of them couldn’t see the board. I put them in groups instead so that they could learn how to collaborate with their classmates and could see the board more clearly. The children seem to like their seating arrangements!
I am looking forward to planning math lessons next week. I plan on using this assessment tool/game called Plickers with the students to keep them engaged in what they are learning. It will be interesting to see how the wifi and computer will work, but I’m optimistic that everything will work out!
Thanks for your comment. Yes, obviously knowing your students is extremely important. In Hong Kong the student teachers go on three home visits – I’m sure very interesting! I look forward to seeing you and Mikayla, Devon and Kayla this Sunday. And very much looking forward to coming to your classroom on Monday.
Morning from Bridgewater State! Wing-kai, Lisa and I have returned from Hong Kong. We had an excellent visit to the Jockey Club Primary School (JCPS), meeting with Kelsey and Krista and their mentor, Else Cheung. Later in the afternoon we were joined by Mrs. Duthie, the principal. We drank tea and discussed our expectations for the students while they are in Hong Kong and at the JCPS. Excellent!
Hello from Belize!
Another amazing week in the books! I taught so many math lessons this week, and they were all successful so I could not be happier! Today, I also gave my students letters that my students back home in Taunton wrote to my Belize students, the students loved it so much, and I am so excited for my Belize students to write back to my Taunton students! It is like having an international classroom, and I love it!
This week was only a four day week for us, we do not have school this Friday (Professional Development Day for the teachers- but they asked us to not be there) So, since we do not have school we plan on going Ziplining and Cave Tubing! We are SO excited!!!!
We are having an AMAZING time! I could not be happier to have this experience, truly once in a lifetime!
Hope everyone had a good second week!
Talk soon! 🙂
Great to connect your San Pedro kids with the kids in Taunton. Great posting with the photos of the excited students. I want to check out the letters. If you have letters for me send to Taunton, get them for me.
I won’t have letters to send back to Taunton just yet! But thank you so much I appreciate it! Plus I promised my students at Galligan I will hand deliver their letters to them! They think I won’t ever see them again- so I cannot break that promise! HAHA
Looking forward to seeing you though on Sunday! Safe travels!
Morning from Hong Kong. Yesterday we met up with Kelsey and Krista, and with Dr. To and Lisa, we all enjoyed a rainy day exploring Hong Kong. Given that Dr. To grew up in Hong Kong he is an excellent guide.
Today, we are going to the University (Education University of Hong Kong) where Kelsey and Krista are living (check out their post in “News from Hong Kong”) and then will meet them for lunch. This afternoon we will visit their school, the Jockey Club Primary School which is on the campus of EUHK (yes, convenient!).
Hello from Belize!!!!! Our first week as already come to a close, and I cannot believe how fast time as escaped us! We want to the school Monday morning to meet the students, and our students are the cutest kids ever. I already have so many gifts (drawings) from my students, and it has only been a week. It is amazing how different the education system is here in Belize. Though I am in a “third grade” classroom, I have students that range from ages 8- 13 years old. The reason I have older students in my classroom is because at the end of each year, if the student fails even just one final exam, they are held back, and they have to retake that grade again. So, many students are held back in the same grade year after year, and it is so sad because Belize does not have Special Education, and I can tell that a lot of my students need an IEP of some sorts, or just extra educational services in general. I taught my first lesson this week, and it was Health! I know I am not qualified to teach Health here in the States, but my teacher teaches all the subjects (Art, Music, PE, Health, etc.) so I had to give it a shot. I was so nervous because I have never taught a Health lesson before, and because they do not have health textbooks that I could pull an article from for them to read. But, it went really well, so I am happy! I had to find a children friendly article on the topic of “what kind of foods give you energy”. Once I found one though it was really easy and straight forward to teach. I also connected this health lesson to their language arts lesson from the day before of verbs and how they are action words. I thought the lesson was a success considering it was my first time ever teaching a Health lesson. I had really good classroom management, and made sure that my students did not yell out to answer my questions that they had a quiet hand. That is one thing that my teacher struggles with it classroom management, and when she teaches the students walk all over her. I on the other hand, am consistent, and I will not teach if other students are talking and they now that. So, my teacher is impressed with the way that I have command of the classroom when I teach. I hope she uses things that I do, and stays consistent with them, because I feel like if she does she we will have so much control over the students, and see more success in test scores.
This week we already have had so much fun here in Belize, meeting some many amazing people, exploring the island, and eating amazing food. Yesterday we rented a golf cart (which is the man type of vehicle/ car people use here on the island of San Pedro) and went to Secret Beach. It was a far drive to get there but it was so worth it because it was gorgeous, and we got to see a lot of the island. It was a blast. Today we plan on going to this place where we can float on inner tubes, relax, and throw a few cold ones back. Rest up for another week of teaching! (We only have a four day week this week because there is no school on Friday).
Hope everyone is enjoying their time in their new home!!! Can’t wait to continue reading all of these blog posts!!!!
Ha! Yes, the Palapa Bar is amazing. http://www.palapabarandgrill.com/
Very cool idea with the inner tubes and a beverage or two.
Great blogging from our students in Belize, Melissa, Devon and Mikayla, in Quito, Torey and Emily, Michael in Shanghai and Michayla and Ashley in Rio (hope I didn’t miss anyone). Great comments on home page and great posts on one’s “News”.
Morning from Hong Kong! We had a trying travel day yesterday. As a result of long lines at customs and again at security we missed our 1230pm flight Shanghai to Hong Kong. And then our (rescheduled) 4pm flight was delayed…
We finally got to our hotel in HK around 10pm. A full day!
Hi friends! My name is Torey and I am student teaching in Ecuador with Emily and Jenica. I am in first grade and I am learning so much already! The classroom environment is so different from my first grade class in Brockton. I am so excited to share all of our adventures in Ecuador with you and read all about your adventures!
Greetings from Shanghai. Dr To arrived Monday and Lisa and I arrived yesterday, Tuesday afternoon. Michael Rose, who is student teaching in a middle school class, teaching English, arrived early evening on Tuesday. This is our first trip to Shanghai and my first impression is how beautiful the city is. New construction, high end shops, along tree-lined streets. Last night we all joined eight students from Shanghai Normal University for an excellent, and interesting dinner. The next few days we will visit Michael’s school and see where he is living in Shanghai.
This Friday, after 4 days in Shanghai, we travel to Hong Kong to see Krista and Kelsey.
This is Melissa here, one of the student teachers teaching in Belize! We arrived yesterday and visited the school today.
I’m placed in a third grade classroom (Standard II) and I love it! The class has 25 students in it and we had perfect attendance today. The classroom is smaller than the school I taught in in Quincy, MA, so the students are seated very close to one another. The kids are very respectful and friendly when they met me.
My supervising practitioner told me that I could take over the ELA portion of the school days, and I’m looking forward to this opportunity! Today, I got to play a vocabulary game with the students called “Smack the Board”. All the kids enjoyed it and were competitive.
I was fortunate enough to begin my student teaching in a fourth grade classroom at the Oscar F. Raymond School in Brockton, MA. During my time there, I was able to create strong relationships my fellow teachers and was inspired, motivated and challenged by both them and my students. For right now, I’m putting a pause on that chapter of my student teaching adventure as I embark on a new and exciting chapter in San Pedro, Belize! Both myself and a fellow student teacher, Mikayla, meet with our students and classroom teachers tomorrow and we could not be more thrilled. I will be in touch on how everything goes and look forward to reading on fellow student teachers adventures in Rio, Ecuador, Hong Kong and England!
Until next time,
Hi everyone! My name is Mikayla Smith, and I am one of the four students that are going to Belize this Spring! I am so excited! I leave Saturday at 6AM (I have to get up at 2AM- it is going to be a struggle to get up and get to the airport haha). I have already been in contact with my teacher in Belize and I will be working with third grade students! I am so excited about that because I am currently placed in a third grade classroom in Taunton at Galligan Elementary School. It will be an amazing experience to compare and contrast directly with this age group! As excited as I am, it is going to be very sad to leave my students at Galligan. They are already so anxious about me leaving, and I am sure it will be an emotional day on Friday leaving them. I hope everyone has a safe journey to their final international placement, and I look forward to reading about all the experiences everyone will be having the next eight weeks!
Yes, this is ‘crunch’ week for all of our 14 student teachers going abroad. We’ve (Dr. Marvelle and I) been sending out the ‘expectations’ for international student teaching as well as a number of the forms that the student teachers will be using while abroad.
The students going to Brazil and England are scrambling to get their visas to enter their respective countries. We need visas to go to China, Brazil and the UK …. a bit of a pain.
Everyone is ‘off’ this weekend and will be in their new home this Monday, the 13th. Bon voyage!
For your news (post to “categories” on the right side of the home page), specific to your travels and such, post in ‘News From ….’ – but otherwise, post (‘comments’ or ‘thoughts’) on the main front (‘home”) page (you’ll need to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page unless you are commenting on what someone wrote – then you can just ‘reply’).
Belize 2017 International Student Teachers are preparing to travel. One week to go! We are excited to start our journey and begin teaching at the San Pedro Roman Catholic School. We will be staying in an apartment located at the Spindrift Hotel. For traveling, we are going to be flying into Belize City and taking a water taxi to Ambergris Caye! That is all for now.
This March, fourteen BSU student teachers will be going abroad. We are sending students to Crewe, England, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Quito, Ecuador, San Pedro, Belize and to Hong Kong and for the first time, to Shanghai, China. Dr. Marvelle will be going to England and Ecuador while I will be going to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Belize and Brazil. Yes, exciting.
Just a ‘heads up” ….. In “News from Hong Kong” I’ve posted a PPT video that one of our students who went to Hong Kong produced. Also, I posted in “News from Ecuador”, a video from, and produced by, Colegio Menor in Ecuador. Check ’em out!
Great to hear that Sam and Lexi (in England) traveled to see Shannon and Emily in Dublin. Fun to hear that they met up and enjoyed time together.
For those student teaching abroad it is a wonderful opportunity for friends and family at home to travel to see you while you are abroad.
I’m in Quito, arriving late Wednesday night. I went to Colegio Menor Thursday morning and went directly to the school office to see Cristina, the assistant to Scott Hibbard, the Head of School. I then went
to see Rebecca and her teacher, Kristin (originally from New Jersey). Rebecca is teaching 9th grade English. Later in the morning I went back to talk with Scott (and from Maine).
On Friday I returned to CM to observe Rebecca teach a spirited lesson on their current reading, “Lord of the Flies”. Well done Rebecca!
I was just reviewing all the great posts from our teachers in Quito, Dublin, Rio and Crewe, England. In order to read specific posts go to ‘Categories” on the right side of this home page and read “News from …. ” The ladies in Dublin have been to Northern Ireland, the ladies in Crewe have been to London and Paris. The three ladies in Rio have been exploring Rio and having some beach time on Rio’s amazing beaches! And of course, all of our ladies have had great (educational and instructional) times at their wonderful schools.
Ok, I looked it up. New England is 71,000 square miles, area. Ecuador is 109,000 square miles in area. So, New England is about 2/3 of Ecuador.
I am off this Wednesday to fly to Quito to see Rebecca and our colleagues at Colegio Menor. Unlike, Rio, I have found that English is a lot more widespread in Quito (just read Jessica’s comment re: Rio). Maybe because Ecuador is a small country (the size of Colorado) (I think I need a better USA comparison) more people in Ecuador speak English. Maybe.
So… I’ll spend Thanksgiving in Ecuador, I may take my own cranberry sauce with me!?
Wonderful to be in England and Ireland this week. Tuesday morning visited Lexi and Sam at Leighton Academy. Leighton is an excellent school.
Tuesday night Lisa and I had dinner with Lexi and Sam at the Duke of Gloucester in Crewe, England. Then, of course we went to the Duke of Bridgewater pub.
Lisa and I traveled to Dublin (short flight) Thursday afternoon. Thursday night Lisa and I met Emily and Shannon at the Goose and then went to Twenty2 for dinner.
Friday morning I went to St Brigid’s School (girls primary school). I met the new principal and met Emily and Shannon’s teachers.
Great to visit all four of our student teachers. Great to find them doing so well.
Lexi and Sam have posted two comments in ‘News from Crewe’! Fun! Read what they have posted and comment!
I will see both young ladies next week – yes, next week. Tuesday the 8th. Crazy being in England during our Election Day.
For your news (go to Categories on the right side of the home page), specific to your travels and such, post in ‘News From ….’ – but otherwise, post on the main front page (you’ll need to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page unless you are commenting on what someone wrote – then you can just ‘reply’).
And Lisa Dunagan is our first blogger – ‘News from Rio’ with a great pic of the three ladies in Rio.
Enjoy the adventure!
I wish to share with you all a video about student teaching in Hong Kong. Stephanie Couitt was in HK in the fall, 2014. Great video! We should all produce these to share with others ……… especially those students who are thinking about going abroad.
I can’t believe it’s been 2 months already in Ecuador. Time has really flown by. I had a great experience teaching fifth grade at Colegio Menor. I taught second before in the States and it made for a really good difference. I saw both sides of the spectrum and I really feel like I am ready for whatever grade I will teach in my job in the fall. My students were a little harder to manage compared to second graders (which could be from grade or culture, I’m not sure). I got a ton of teaching experience and experience teaching on a team more so. There was a lot more lesson sharing, which seems easier, but it can be just as hard sometimes if you are expected to carry it out in a certain way. All in all, I’m glad I got half of my teaching experience in the middle of the world!
Maureen from Rio writes: So today’s the day we leave Rio. This has been an amazing experience! We were the first students from BSU to go to this site. Although, we didn’t know where we were living or pretty much anything until 2 weeks before I recommend going abroad. Rio had so much history. Yesterday we went to Sugar Loaf and hiked the first mountain! It was a great view and we saw the sunset. We got acai (which is delicious!). Then I lost my wallet and had notified the police. I only have little money to get home to Boston. Had to cancel my cards. Hopefully everything will work out and we will arrive safely in Boston! The teacher and students I got to work with were amazing and I’m going to miss EARJ (The American School’) a lot!
Tomorrow is my last day in Ecuador. Late tomorrow night I’m headed back to Boston where I’ll land Wednesday morning and have graduation that same night! Tomorrow we also have the Academic Showcase at school, which we have been preparing for the whole time I’ve been in the classroom at Colegio Menor. It’s going to be nice to see all of our hard work (students & teachers) come together.
I’ve enjoyed my experience here in Ecuador, both at school and traveling. I have grown close to all my students and I’ll definitely miss them a lot! Many of them have been asking me to stay all week; they’ve told me they have extra rooms in their house and that I can have my graduation ceremony at Colegio Menor. I’ve promised to send them pictures of me in my cap and gown. While here, I’ve had the opportunity to do and see so much. Ecuador is a beautiful country with a lot of explore and so different from home. I think two months was the perfect amount of time because it allowed us to do everything we wanted on our list.
Now I’m going to finish packing, and hope my bags aren’t overweight with all the souvenirs I’ve bought.
Maureen from Rio writes: Today was our last day in school. These 8 weeks have gone by so fast. My teacher (Erin) has been a great role model and I learned so much from her. I was in her first grade classroom with 13 lovely kids. Most of them , are Brazilian and then we had some foreigners. However, I am severe special education and I was in an “inclusion” classroom. Here in Brazil they don’t have special education like we think of back in the US. They call it resource and the kids get pulled out. I have learned a lot about what a general education classroom does. I will use my knowledge and experience from this opportunity to help better myself as a teacher and as a person. This week was teacher appreciation week. What the PTA at EARJ did was absolutely wonderful. Teachers got a gift card for a supermarket and there were lots of delicious treats. Besides this, my students threw me a goodbye party. We had chocolate with fruit and one of the students brought a cake. I got so many wonderful chocolate treats from my students. I definitely felt appreciated on my last day and for teacher appreciation week. I will miss my students dearly and the community at school. Everyone has been so welcoming and gracious. I cannot thank the school and the fellow teachers and students how appreciative I am of my experience at this school. A huge thank you to everyone. With my goodbyes today I am sad to leave this amazing school behind. This is our last weekend and we have a lot of stuff planned for it.
This past weekend we went to Mindo, a cloud forest about two hours from Quito! Mindo is beautiful and more hot and humid than Quito. When we arrived Saturday late morning, we first booked some excursions. This was our last weekend traveling, so we wanted to do a lot! Then we ate a delicious lunch where we sat next to a waterfall with hummingbirds surrounding us. After lunch we dropped off our bags at the hostel. The hostel was right along a rushing river and we had our own little bungalow. Then we went to a butterfly garden with tons of butterflies. We put some banana on our finger so they’d land on us. Next, we headed to do a chocolate tour, where we got to see the steps that go into making chocolate. At the end we got to try different chocolate bars, chocolate BBQ sauce (yuck!) and the most delicious brownie we’ve ever had! We even went back after dinner to get a full-size one! The rest of the night we explored the little town and hung out at the hostel. Sunday we ate breakfast and then went zip lining through the cloud forest, which was very fun and exciting! After, we decided we wanted some more thrill and tried “tubing.” It was more like white-water rafting in the rushing waters and hanging on tightly so you wouldn’t fall off. Although scary, it was fun and we are glad we took the risk! We only have one week in Ecuador left; time went by fast! I am getting ready to come home and see my family and friends and enjoy summer! My last week at Colegio Menor will be very busy as we are preparing for the Academic Showcase and also making Mother’s Day gifts!
Maureen in Rio writes: We are in the final stretch of student teaching abroad! In 2 weeks from today we will be back in Massachusetts! For me it is bittersweet. I have met some of the nicest people who have given me good information. However, I am also ready to go home and see my family and friends. Today marks 99 days until the summer Olympics opening ceremony. You can definitely feel the excitement in the air and at school! At school the students (and teachers) got a nice treat. The Olympic torch was at school and the students got to hold it and so did the teachers. It is something I will remember for the rest of my life! Seems like we have been here during a very historic time here in Rio. I have attached some pictures of the class,the torch itself, and myself holding it. If anyone is interested in exploring this beautiful city and they want to see the Olympics ,you won’t need a visa and I highly suggest coming to see this city.
My teacher Vanessa (everyone goes by first name) was born in the US but had a military father so she moved around different countries like Italy and Panama. This made her want to be an international teacher and she got her degree in art and international teaching from Florida. She has been teaching for 5 years and will be moving to Panama to teach next year.
A little about the teacher I’m working with …
I am student teaching in a second grade classroom at Colegio Menor. The classroom teacher’s name is Veronica Salcedo (Vero). Vero is from Ecuador and currently lives in Quito with her husband and two young children (one who is in the pre-school at Colegio Menor). She commutes to school daily on the faculty bus. Vero lived in the United States, Florida and New York, for about seven years before marriage and kids. She got her Education degree in Florida, where she later worked at a pre-school in Miami. When she returned to Ecuador she started teaching Elementary School. Vero has been at Colegio Menor for about five years. Many teachers at Colegio Menor only stay for approximately two years, especially those from other countries, so Vero has been there longer than most. It is interesting to hear her compare the schools where she taught in the United States to this one in Ecuador. This is her first year teaching second grade at Colegio Menor, before she taught third. She thinks there is quite a difference between these two grades, but is enjoying the new experience!
Hello from Crewe! Erin and I were both observed by Dr. Marvelle this week. We both had our English students write pen pal letters back to our students from our placement at home. My lesson for my Year 2 students focused more on teaching the students about American culture. Erin’s Year 3 lesson focused on the differences between the two cultures. Our lessons went great! Erin will share more details about our lessons later this weekend.
My teacher’s name is Alex Garner. She lives in Crewe and grew up in Manchester. This is her second year teaching at Leighton Academy and both of her children have also attended the school. Her daughter has already left while her son is in Year 6. Erin’s teacher is Anika Sweeney. She has been working at Leighton for several years, and is also from the UK but spent a few years living in Houston, Texas! Her son is in Reception at Leighton and her daughter will attend the school next year.
I can’t believe that we only have three more days teaching at Leighton Academy! It has been an amazing experience and I know Erin and I have both learned so much about the English education system and how it compares to the US.
This weekend, we went to Quilotoa. It is a place high up in the mountains with a massive lake in the middle. It’s a cute town that has a $2 entry fee to enter. We are staying in a nice hostel up here that has a nice living area with hammocks and places to talk to other travelers. It is very cold up here in the clouds though, so we are huddling for warmth in our llama sweaters. We hiked down to the lake today, which was very beautiful. However, the altitude at 4,000 meters makes it very hard to breathe. When we went down, we swinged on a swing that brings you to the edge of a cliff to the lake below, which was really fun.
There was an option to take a horse or a mule up the mountain instead of climbing the way we came, so we took the opportunity. It was my first time riding a horse, so now I can say I climbed a mountain with one! We also went hiking the next day around the lagoon which was amazing, and a little dangerous but we got through it. This was an experience I won’t soon forget. If you ever go to Ecuador, the view in Quilotoa is amazing so go!
Sam, Any photos?? Sounds like a great trip.
Yes, but this thread does not allow me to add photos. As I scroll down, it doesn’t seem anyone else can either, or at least I can’t see any. Is there a different thread that allows me to submit photos?
Maureen in Rio writes: This week has definitely been a very interesting week. We had Thursday and Friday off this week because of a holiday (as previously mentioned in another post). My sister left Friday night and McKenzie and I hung out with her and her boyfriend in Copacabana. We got lunch then went to the beach and after got gelato. We even got to hang out in AC for a little bit back at their hotel room. What a treat! It is still very humid here but we only have 2 1/2 more weeks. This long weekend, McKenzie and I planned a trip to Ilha Grande, an island part of Angre dos Reis (I think this is how you spell it – RM just looked on Google, it is spelled Angra dos Reis). It is supposed to be a relaxing getaway but, we left a day early (so how many nights did you stay?). It was hard because we didn’t speak the language and we had some drunk guy who spoke English pick us up (Maureen, what does ‘pick us up’ mean?). It took us a while to travel there and back because it is so far from Rio (RM writes: although, within the state of Rio – like within Massachusetts). 3 hour bus ride an hour and a half boat ride and a 10 minute taxi ride from the terminal back to the place we’re staying (you stayed overnight in Angra dos Reis?). We went by ourselves on this trip and it is going to be quite a memory.
Go to “News from Rio” where McKenzie posted photos from Ilha Grande. Great pics!
Thanks for your comment. As far as language issues, this is what Lisa and I found when we traveled to Florianopolis last September (for a conference). Florianopolis is south of Rio toward Argentina …… And agreed, not much English spoken in Florianopolis.
I am on my way home to Boston (Pembroke actually). I had a great visit in Quito, Cumbaya, at USFQ (the university) and especially, with Sam and Anna at Colegio Menor. Sam taught her 5 graders a lesson on historical fiction. Sam used a story (historical fiction) of the Spanish coming to South America – a very interesting (scary!) and appropriate story for her class. Sam projected the story on the front (interactive) board so the students could read and listen (as the story was read by the narrator – allowing the students to use their ‘best’ modality). Anna taught a lesson on contractions. Anna used great visuals (interactive board) to assist in student learning. Remember, all instruction at Menor is in English – students are to only speak English in the classroom. Pretty amazing given that all the students are Ecuadorian and English is their second language. Impressive!
Sam and Anna both taught excellent lessons – well done!
Maureen in Rio writes: This week has overall been a great week! My sister and her boyfriend arrived Sunday and are staying in Copacabana in a hotel. Laranjarais (the neighborhood where we are staying) is about 25-30 minutes from there. In Copa you will find many places where at least 1 person speaks English, not so much where we are. This week was short because today (Thursday) there is a holiday. No one is able to explain it to us but all we know is that it is for some person (maybe I should ‘google’ so I know). It has been a hard week to sleeep since the humidity has been high and we have 2 fans going. Also, the dog here has been on edge lately and barks constantly. Besides that, we had a good week meeting up with my sister and going to Copa (where we rarely go). Last night, we met other teachers from EARJ in Leblon (a beach neighborhood next to Ipanema) for dinner and drinks. Leblon, is a good 25- 30 minutes from our house – it does get expensive taking taxis everywhere (although taxis are much cheaper here than in Boston). Today, we are off from school and are on our way to Copacabana beach for the 2nd time in our 5 weeks. Our host mom and roommate don’t like to go but it is a very nice beach. Can’t wait for more adventures this long weekend! (I’ll have to send photos!)
This past weekend was a busy one! My parents were visiting Ecuador, so we did lots of touristy things. Friday I took the day off from school and first we headed to the Teleferico in Quito. We took the gondola ride up and rode horse through the mountains, which was beautiful. It was also a little scary, as my horse had some trouble listening/ following directions! The views of the mountains and Quito from up high were amazing. Ecuador is so beautiful. After, we visited Mitad de Mundo, The Equator. There is a line separating the northern and southern hemispheres and a large monument. Of course we took the typical tourist pictures. On Saturday, we woke up very early and headed to Otavalo, a very indigenous town, and went the enormous market, which had many hand-made textiles. I bought many souvenirs for family and friends at home! We also hiked to a waterfall before heading back to Quito. Saturday night there was a large earthquake (7.8 magnitude) on the coast of Ecuador. I was in Quito, on the tenth floor of my parents’ hotel, and we experienced aftershocks- everything was shaking/ swaying. We had to evacuate quickly. Windows on the fifteenth floor broke and the building got several cracks in the walls/ roof. Although very scary, we were lucky. Unfortunately, many lives were lost. On Sunday, we headed to the Papallacta thermal baths. It was rather cloudy and cold, so it was nice to relax in the hot springs! Even though it was cloudy, we still managed to get sunburned! Sunday night we came back and had dinner in Cumbaya and stumbled upon a little market downtown. After, we were busy preparing for our lessons this week, finishing SEI work, and also writing papers for student teaching! Sam and I have just three weekends left in Ecuador, and there are still a few places to go and see on our list!
Hola! Buenos Dias!
I arrived in Quito Sunday night. The earthquake in Ecuador was Saturday night around so there was much concern about if everyone in Quito – and we do have a masters degree program in Guayaquil …. I understand the Quito experienced some aftershocks and such but no serious damage. Just unsettling.
So today, Monday morning, I came to Colegio Menor and met with the Headmaster and others. And of course, went and talked with Anna and Sam. Tuesday I will ‘formally’observe them – I told them to relax – that I was not bringing my red pen on Tuesday.
As Sam mentioned, we spend the past weekend in Banos, which was fun! We did lots of outdoor activities, including zip lining, hiking, and swimming. Monday started a busy school week! I am being given a lot more responsibilities, which I like. This week I will teach three mini-lessons, one on the long u sound, one on possessive nouns, and one on comparatives and superlatives. I have prepared interactive SmartBoard presentations for each lesson and am also planning to show a short YouTube or BrainPOP video with each lesson to reinforce the concepts. My students are also busy preparing for the Academic Showcase (explained in an earlier post). The classroom teacher assigned me to be in charge of the Author’s Theatre, where half the students will be putting on a performance of If You Give A Dog A Donut by Laura Numeroff. Today we started preparing. To begin, I explained to them what an author’s theatre is. Next, we watched a YouTube video of the book as it wash’t available in the classroom. I gave each student a whiteboard while watching and they brainstormed a list all the props from the book that we will need. After, we sat in a circle and shared ideas. We finalized the props list and I assigned each student something to draw on big construction paper that we will later cut out and glue onto a popsicle stick. I also picked four readers with the help of the classroom teacher. We will continue working on this and practicing the performance weekly. Also, today is Teacher’s Day in Ecuador! The students greeted me with hugs, and some even brought me chocolate! We had an assembly first thing in the morning to celebrate the Lower School teachers. The students began by singing the Ecuadorean National Anthem and the Quito Anthem, which was interesting to hear. A student from each class had drawn a picture of their classroom teacher(s) and written a little description of why they love them. The teachers were called up to the front of the assembly individually and given their drawing. One student had drawn one for me, which made me happy! My students are very thoughtful and I really feel like I am getting to know each and every one of them. So far it’s been a good week!
And yes, I’m very looking forward to going to Menor to see Sam and Anna. I’ll be in the school Monday and Tuesday – maybe Wednesday too although it is a short day. Wednesday afternoon I’m meeting with Carlos Montufar who is the president at USFQ (university – a special place). A fast but exciting and important trip!
This weekend we got to stay in Baños, Ecuador. Baños is located in a valley of the Andes with big volcano and is actually in rather high alert, but we went anyway! It’s a beautiful place with tons of waterfalls and natural beauty. We were able to go zip-lining (my fist time!) and it was amazing flying between the mountains and over waterfalls. We did a little hiking through the waterfalls and up a mountain. My calves and thighs are still recovering! There are also thermal baths there next to the waterfalls that are heated by the heat of the volcano. You can switch between the hot baths and the waterfall water for some extreme temperature differences. It’s supposed to be good for you and your blood flow, but it was hard to go from each! We found a little breakfast place that we went to twice. I’m not sure what magic they have, but breakfast held us over all day, which only juice, hot chocolate, 2 eggs, and 2 pieces of bread. Overall, it’s been our favorite trip in Ecuador and I’m really hoping that we are able to go again on a weekend.
I don’t think I’ve ever been to Banos …. but it sounds exciting.
And I will see you and Anna next week! I’m looking forward to my visit to Colegio Menor and seeing you both.
Erin and I had a great third week in England! Leighton Academy was on holiday this week, so we took advantage of the time off and went to Edinburgh and Liverpool. The train station in Crewe is awesome, it is really easy to buy a ticket and go just about anywhere else in the UK. On our way back from Edinburgh our train broke down which wasn’t so great. But eventually another train came to pick us up and we got a refund for our tickets.
Edinburgh was definitely our favorite place that we’ve been to so far! I was really surprised at how different Scotland is than England even though they’re so close. In Edinburgh we went on two great tours, we toured the underground streets, and we went on a tour where we heard all of the monster/ghost stories of Edinburgh. We also toured Edinburgh Castle, and climbed the Scott Monument. On our last day in Edinburgh we climbed Arthur’s Seat, which is a big mountain in the middle of the city. It was a struggle to get to the top, but once we got there we saw some amazing views! Erin is going to post some pictures from our time in Edinburgh later!
Next week Leighton Academy is still on holiday, so we plan on traveling to London on Sunday. I’m really excited to finally see London, on Monday we are going to a play, and on Tuesday we are going to the Harry Potter studio tour. We’ve been keeping busy during our time off from school, and exploring the UK has been really great so far!
This past weekend Sam and I stayed around Cumbaya and Quito. We explored some more areas (Parque El Ejido, Mariscal District, La Foque area) and went to a market. We had a good time.
Monday it was back to school. I have finally learned every student’s name in my class and I am getting the hang of the schedule, as it differs every day of the week. I am still surprised how much prep time teachers get! For example, today the students had Spanish class from 8:00 am to 10:00 am and then lunch and recess for thirty minutes. We have lunch duty three times a week, and recess duty once. In my second grade classroom, there are 14 boys and 7 girls. I like the students in my class; they are very loving. I get about ten hugs a day! I have been doing a lot of work with small group and one-on-one instruction. There is one student who really struggles in math. In Ecuador there are no IEP’s, but my classroom teacher is sure this student would qualify. Today I did my first whole-class lesson today on possessive nouns. The classroom teacher does not do a lot of whole-class instruction. A lot of time is spent on center activities and worksheets. We are also busy preparing for the Academic Showcase. This is a time when parents are invited to see the hard work their students have been doing during their author study on Laura Numeroff. It will take place on my last day at Colegio Menor, May 10th. Students will do an author’s theatre and show/ explain to parents different reading strategies they worked on while reading various Laura Numeroff books.
Friday my parents are coming to visit, which I’m excited about! Sam and I will be joining them on a trip to Banos from Friday to Sunday!
This week we were able to go to Quito and stumbled upon am artisan market. I found some older Ecuadorian money which I got for my dad. who loves old money. It was interesting to see what they used before the dollar, the sucre. There were also street performers and beautiful art. Ecuador is definitely beautiful, but if you have a very weak stomach like me, you might want to look at other options. I get a mild case of food poisoning at least once a week here, and yesterday had the worst case I’ve ever experienced. I went to the hospital, and they were nice but only spoke Spanish and I could barely respond because of how sick I was. I’m feeling better today, but I hope that I will be able to get going again soon and that this doesn’t happen again. The food isn’t well kept (food left out for hours, daily products unrefrigerated etc) so you have to be every careful of what you eat. Besides the food, Ecuador really values its artists and natural beauty.
Sam and Anna,
You’ll have to go to Guapalo – one of my all time favorite places in the world (yes, that is saying something!). We could even go when I’m there – on your way from Cumbaya to Quito. Built on the side of a mountain, like most of Quito – three great (little) cafes nearly side by side from each other. You can get drinks and food at the cafes. You got to go!
Maureen writes from Rio:
This weekend we had a lot of fun. We did a lot of different things. On Saturday, the school held International Day. This is like a family day and let the students show what their nationality is about. There are so many cultures and there was so much food you could try (you had to pay). The first graders along with some of the other Lower School grades did a musical performance. My class was in the first grade performance and they did great! After, we went shopping at a mall called “Shopping do Gavea”. On Sunday, Mckenzie and I went to the Botanical Garden and it’s so beautiful. I will attach some pictures from this fun filled weekend! Go to our post (yes, this is the comment section and the post part of the blog is ‘News from Rio’)
Erin and I completed our first school week in Crewe! This week we were both placed in a Year 3 (the equivalent to second grade in the U.S.) classroom at the Leighton Academy. The trip to Leighton is about three miles long, but we loaned bikes and have been biking to school everyday. It’s definitely a different experience for both of us, but it is a nice ride to school through the Crewe town center. The classroom that we were in this week has about 30 students, it’s a much larger class than what we are used to. We also observed a nutrition lesson and a drama lesson, which was really interesting because we had never seen any lessons like them before. We also noticed how much they differentiate instruction here. For example, we observed a math lesson and the class was divided into groups. Some of the groups were taught completely different objectives based on their ability, while in the U.S. the same content is taught, but the teacher makes accommodations for struggling students. Overall, our first week at the Leighton Academy was a success! This weekend we plan on doing some local traveling and will probably visit the city of Chester for our first official trip!
Great to hear that you are enjoying the Leighton Academy (LA)and Crewe. Be sure to say hello from me to Jo (the principal, can’t remember her last name) and Nigel.
Students in the past have walked – cut through the town (a shorter walk) and have car pulled with a taxi.
And yes, I agree that the teachers at LA are excellent as they can differentiate instruction. Very talented teachers.
Enjoy your stay. I love England (I’m sorry that I am not coming over to work with you).
I student taught in Crewe last semester and loved it. I was also in year three at Leighton. Which teacher are you with I was with mrs. Sweeney? I also biked to school which was great and I went to Chester twice while I was there it was great. If you have any questions about anything feel free to ask me. Tell Mrs. Sweeney’s class that I said “hi” and I miss them. Are the girls from Germany still at Leighton? if so tell them Savina said hi as well:).
Thank you and have a great time!
Thanks for your note to Samantha and Erin!
Hello Savina! I have been placed in Mrs. Sweeney’s class and they continually ask about how you are. They are surprised that I did not know you, even though we went to the same school. I explained that Bridgewater is much larger than Leighton Academy. I will tell them you say hello!
We just arrived back from Puerto Lopez in Ecuador. It was the first time we had been to the beach since we arrived, really it was our first trip in general! The altitude was much lower so the sun was much more intense! We both got a little more than sun-kissed but it was a great time. We got to talk to the locals and see another side of Ecuador, (particularly the hotter side). The houses are very different from the high scale ones in Cumbaya. We also survived two 10 hour bus rides that seemed like roller coasters with the way the drivers went about them. However, the trip was a success!
Sam and Anna, I’ve never been to Puerto Lopez. I’ll have to look at a map. I have been (last October) to Guayaquil which is on the coast. Yes, much hotter when you leave the altitude of Quito and Cumbaya. As they say ‘it’s not latitude, it’s altitude’. Amazing that Quito is in the 60’s and misty and it is virtually on the equator (should be much much hotter!).
And yes, crazy drivers in Ecuador!!
Anna wrote (from Ecuador) ….Sam and I have been in Ecuador for 4 full days now. We are settling in and getting used to everything; it’s very different! We arrived very late Saturday night. Sunday we explored Cumbaya with our host mom, went to the nearby mall for some necessities, and just relaxed. Monday we started school at Colegio Menor! We both love the school; it’s beautiful. The views are amazing. We also like being able to walk there. We are both in the Lower School, I’m in 2nd grade and Sam is in 5th. I love the students in my class, especially their little accents! Tuesday morning we started school with an earthquake, and we had to evacuate the building to the nearby soccer fields. It was a little scary (it was only about a 4.3). Earthquakes are common in Quito, but my classroom teacher said you rarely feel them in Cumbaya, so she was a little freaked out too!
I have met the other 3 student teachers at Colegio Menor, all from Georgia. We are planning a trip to the coast, Puerto Lopez, this Friday to Tuesday. We’re excited!! We are hoping to hit the beach and then explore the nearby island, nicknamed the “Poor Mans Galápagos.” We have next week off from school, so when we return from Puerto Lopez Sam and I want to spend a few days exploring Quito! We also plan to visit Banos but may save it for a later weekend.
Anna and Sam, great to hear from you. I just returned from Rio and visiting Maureen and McKenzie (I’m a bit tired but I am teaching my 445pm Tuesday class is an hour).
For your news, specific to your travels and such, post in ‘News From ….’ – but otherwise, post on the main front page (you’ll need to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page unless you are commenting on what someone wrote – then you can just ‘reply’
Lisa and I left Boston Tuesday afternoon and arrived in Rio Wednesday morning. I went to school, The American School (EARJ), Thursday morning and met with our friend, Andrew Sherman, the Headmaster. Later I went to see Maureen in a 1st grade classroom and also went to see McKenzie in a 7th grade history class (they will tell you much more about their classes and students).
The American School is a GREAT school, about 700 students from PreK-12. All instruction is in English.
Hello Bloggers! Couple of things, 1) to leave a comment just scroll to bottom of home page (this is what I just did). Comments are pretty general whereas 2) posts into your ¨News from …. ¨ are more specific and hopefully with some photos (we love photos). To post go to your ‘section’ on the right hand side of the page. Hope you all are great! Blog away!!
If you need assistance please email Jacey Peers who will assist you! Enjoy!!
Hello International Student Teachers! This spring we have students going to England, Ecuador and Brazil. You are ‘off’ in less than two weeks. Exciting! This spring Dr. Marvelle will go to England and Lisa and I will be visiting our teachers in Quito and in Rio.
This past week my sister and her husband came down to visit me for Thanksgiving. It was great to have some family to celebrate with. However, I also taught my class about Thanksgiving and we even had our own celebration. The teachers even made me a Thanksgiving dinner with turkey and all the fixings! I even got a present! It was so sweet of them to think of me like that and I really appreciated it. This past weekend I went to Limerick with my sister and her husband and we watched a rugby match, Munster vs. Connacht. It was so cool to see the sport and be apart of the fans! We rooted for the home team, Munster but they lost by one point.
Today my teacher asked me to takeover tomorrow and for the rest of the week. Although it was short notice I jumped on the opportunity and am in the midst of planning. Patricia from Marino will be coming to observe me on December 5th so it will be nice to get some feedback on my teaching and continue to grow.
I hope everyone else is enjoying their time and had a great Thanksgiving!
Hello all, hope everyone is having an awesome time abroad!
This past weekend was really busy for me, I did a lot! On Saturday we took a two hour bus ride to the Otavalo Market which is one of the biggest markets in all of South America. The entire city is just full of shops and booths to buy hand made things. Needles to say, I bought way too much stuff, not sure how I’m going to get it all home. But, the city is beautiful and all of the shop owners are indigenous of the area and all their goods are hand made. We also took a 20 min cab ride to see one of the crater lakes in a near by volcano, Cotacachi. It was absolutely beautiful, and we went right around sun set so the view was gorgeous.
I also went to this awesome bar on Saturday night in Quito called Strawberry Fields which is themed around the Beatles. I am a huge Beatles fan, and the inside was covered wall to wall in all things Beatles so it was amazing.
On Sunday we stayed in Quito and did the Quito bus tour. We saw the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo which is a contemporary art museum, we went to Iglesia La Basílica which is the Basilica church that is huge and beautiful. There is tons of art inside and you can climb up one of the clock towers and see the city from the top. We also stopped at Iglesia La Compañía, which is also called the Golden Church because everything on the inside is made of gold, unfortunately they didn’t let us take pictures inside but it was beautiful. We also stopped at the Mirador El Panecillo, which is a huge statue on one of the volcanic peaks. In that area they had traditional Ecuadorean dancers that danced and sang. We also stopped at the historic part of quito where the president lives. We were able to see his house and take pictures with it. It’s crazy to see how little it is guarded compared to the white house. We were able to walk right up the front steps and take pictures there. That night we also did the Teleferico up Volcan Pichincha. The cable car takes us up the volcano and then we hiked a little further up. It was night time so I took gorgeous pictures of the city all lit up.
Overall, this weekend was very fun and tiring and I am extremely tired on this Monday morning.
Sounds like you are doing great. So good to hear. And yes, CM is a fantastic school. So much talent there!
You have to go to Guapulo some night – there are three little bars on the side of the hill as drive between Cumbaya and Quito …. really neat bars (with food, too).
This past couple weeks at Colegio Menor have been really busy. I began servicing my own groups of students in all of the 10 Pre-K and Kindergarten classes that I work in. My students have been teaching me a lot of Spanish! Colegio Menor is an English speaking school but because I work in the early childhood department their English isn’t too strong, so I learn a lot which is very helpful! Like I’ve said before, Special Education is really different here, so they don’t have any actual SPED teachers, just a learning specialist that pulls specific students out of the classroom to work with them 1:1. The students do not receive any type of services inside the classroom, they only do if the Learning Specialist has a student teacher. So it has taken some adjusting, but I do really like it here!
This past weekend I went to Mitad del Mundo, which is the center of the world. They have a park located directly on the equator. So I had to take the typical picture of standing in the Northern and Southern hemisphere at the same time. They had museums and tons of restaurants and little shops. They also had shows of traditional Ecuadorean dancing and music. Though the Mitad del Mundo monument is located there, it isn’t the actual center of the world. That is located a few blocks away which we visited as well. They have the exact spot where you are on latitude 0-0′-0″ which was pretty cool. They have experiments where they show the differences in the outcomes depending on the side of the equator you are standing on. One had balance an egg on the head of a nail because it is supposed to be easier to do on the equator, and I was actually able to do it.
Next weekend I will be traveling to Mindo and I can’t wait!
Thanks for your blog post. Do you have any photos of your students? Your travels. I do believe that CM is a truly special place – one on the best schools I’ve been to – in the world. I think that is saying a lot!!
Great that you are traveling …. Mindo is great with the butterflies – if I recall. Are you doing things with another student/teacher?
Yes I have tons of pictures, but not sure how to upload them! And I’ve been traveling with other student teachers here, my roommate and I do a lot of traveling, she is from Georgia. And there are a lot of students here from BU as well. They all leave a little earlier than I do because they all came in late August early September, so my last week and a half I will be the only student teacher here. But it’s fine, I have no problem going places and seeing things alone if I have to.
At school this week, we had a week of celebration! Monday-Wednesday was academic review for exams that take place within the next week. We were all able to assist our teachers in different ways to make sure that the week went smoothly. Wednesday the students were beginning to celebrate Garifuna Settlement day. They dressed up as their ancestors and attended an assembly at the end of the day that consisted of music and dancing. Thursday was Settlement Day. We had the day off, so we had a much needed day of relaxation. Friday, we celebrated International Children’s Day. All of the students at the school dressed up and participated in a parade around the center of town. The students were able to go back to school to play games and to have lunch. We were able to really get to experience their culture, which was absolutely amazing.
This week we were also able to spend some time with Dr. Macmillan and his wife. Wednesday night they treated us to a wonderful dinner at Fido’s. He was able to see our housing and visit us at school for Children’s Day. We were very grateful to have him visit!
This coming week is Thanksgiving, and we are looking forward to spending the holiday together on the island!
-Lindsay, Melissa, and Kayla
Happy Thanksgiving! Yes it was great to see you this past week (seems like ages ago). We got snowed in in Chicago when we flew back – not good. Flight was cancelled. Long day Saturday/Sunday. We did here back from Chefy – the apartment is available in March of next year …. I met with Mike Sandy last Wednesday and am meeting with Dean Battaglino this Tuesday. Great to hear that you all are doing so well. Keep blogging!!
Dublin is treating me well, but it is definitely starting to get cold. I spent this weekend in London and it was AMAZING! I went to Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, House of Parliament, Big Ben, the London Eye, and the Tower of London Bridge. The city was great and I was able to meet up and stay with my cousin while I was there. I also there for the start of the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, which is a huge carnival! It was great to hop over to London for a few days and see yet another beautiful city. My sister is coming to Ireland on Thursday so I can’t wait to see some close family!
This week my teacher ended up being out sick on Thursday and I was able to take over for the entire day. It was great to be the classroom teacher for the day without someone always looking over your shoulder. It definitely helped to build my confidence in my own teaching. I have also challenged myself to teach subjects that I never have before such as drama and PE.
Hope everyone else is loving their experience as well!
Great that you went to London. As big as London is I thought, when I was there about 4 years ago, pretty easy to get around.
Great that you are enjoying your experience. You will need to be our ‘Dublin Ambassador’ – this spring – for our Fall 2016 students!
I am having a great time in Crewe. Last weekend I went to London and met up with my mom and our family friend. It was great to see them. We went to the eye and other sights. This week I had my students write letters back to my class from Brockton. They were so excited to write letters to American students. I also observed a German lesson and am slowly picking up some German words when I help them with their individual work. The students also have drama and food technology once a week. Drama is cool to see they have it in the classroom and they move all the tables out of the way and someone comes in and does activities with them. In food technology this week they tried different foods and rated them on how they liked them from one to ten. They used their senses to describe them as well. I have also seen assemblies on remembering the veterans (November 11, an extremely important day in Great Britain), and singing German songs for a play they are putting on in German. Matt and I are going to Dublin this weekend.
Savina – Great to hear from you. Happy Thanksgiving! How is Matt doing at the secondary school?
And yes, Nigel is a great teacher – one could learn lots from him.
Yesterday afternoon Lisa and I flew into San Pedro. In the evening, we met Lindsey, Kayla, Mel and Shawna for dinner at Fido’s on the beach. Later Sarah joined us. Very fun with lots of conversation. Great to see everyone,
Today we met Marvin at noon and we walked up the beach to Melt for lunch. Around 1pm we all went to check out where the ladies were living- very nice apartment.
This past week was great!!! We have still been working in different ways in our classroom in order to create an efficient and successful atmosphere for our students. We have been creating different worksheets using paper and markers, since we lack resources. We have definitely been realizing that we are more creative than we thought we were. We are finally adjusting to the methods here, for they are VERY different from the way classrooms are run at home. We have been trying to implement our “American (BSU)” ways as much as possible.
This week, we were lucky enough to celebrate Veterans Day on the mainland. We climbed to the top of the Mayan Temples, went Zip lining through the jungle, and were able to see some beautiful animals at the Belize City zoo. It was truly an amazing experience. After our wonderful day of celebration, it unfortunately rained, and rained, and rained….. and rained. It rained heavily on and off from Wednesday until Sunday. There were still some showers on Monday and today as well. We spent a lot of time trying to do as much as possible, although the rain made it difficult for us to explore much.
Shawna’s boyfriend joined us this week, and PROPOSED!!!!! (YAY CONGRATS SHAWNA, WE LOVE YOU!) He really chose such a great time to express his eternal love for her. This island is such a great place to celebrate love, and we were able to all go out and celebrate right after she said yes! 🙂
Overall, we had another great week and are sad that the time is flying by. Do we have to come home???? Talk to you soon!
Lindsay, Kayla, Shawna, and Mel
I am absolutely loving it here in Ecuador, the weather is awesome and everyone is so nice!
School is going really good, the first two weeks I observed the learning specialist but as of last week I have a few of my own students that I work with individually in the classroom. I go in the classroom and help the teacher and apply a variety of different interventions that can be used with the student throughout the day. The kids are great and it’s a lot of fun!
Last weekend wasn’t that busy because it rained A LOT! It started raining Friday night and didn’t stop until Sunday morning. So Saturday, my roommate and I just stayed in Cumbaya and went to various shops around town and had lunch. On Sunday, we visited the Botanical Gardens in Quito and it was beautiful. There was tons of exotic plants and animals to look at. There was also a Circus in Quito so we saw the circus that night.
This past weekend was very busy. On Friday night we went into Quito and went to Plaza Foch which is the center of all the night life in Quito and it was a blast. On Saturday we went to the Quito Market and I bought a lot of souvenirs here. Sunday we took a four hour bus ride to Quilotoa which is one of the volcanoes in the Ecuadorean Andes. There is a beautiful crater lake in the center, with various hiking trails all around it. After we did some hiking we explored town a little and had dinner before heading back home.
There is still so much I want to do while in Ecuador and it’s crazy to think there are only four more full weekends of traveling left!!
This weekend I was able to go to Glendalough, Kilkenny, and the Wicklow Mountains. Although the rain was dreadful I still enjoyed exploring these places. I saw two beautiful lakes and even made a wish at the Wishing Stone. I got to see the area where “Brave Heart” was filmed and where Holly met Jerry in “P.S. I Love You!” I warmed up with some vegetable soup at The Field restaurant in Kilkenny and explored the Kilkenny Castle.
During school this past week I taught many different things such as friendly doubles and symmetry in math, marching in music, and quilts in art. I have been working well with my teacher and have learned a few things from her. The classroom is easy to manage and the students are eager to please. This week I will be teaching heat and temperature, drama, and some english! I am curious to see what science resources they have and will keep you posted!
Hello from Dublin! On Thursday we met Ashley at the Marino Institute and saw her room and toured her building. We then went to the Goose Tavern for a few beverages. Later Lisa and I met Marino President Anne O’Gara, Patricia Slevin, Julie Uichoistealbha and John and Elise Marvelle for dinner. Wonderful!
Friday morning Lisa and I went to St Brigid’s Girls Primary School to observe Ashley teach an effective lesson on Symmetry. Well done Ashley!!
We are absolutely in love with San Pedro. Every day here is a new adventure and we couldn’t be happier with our experiences. In the classroom, we have all been doing various different things to benefit our classrooms in ways we see most convenient. Kayla and Lindsay have been pulling students who seem to be very behind (who we would consider special ed students in the states) and working one-on-one with them. It has really helped us to understand the importance of differentiating instruction to make it accessible to all students. In Belize instruction is not done that way unfortunately. The students all receive the same instruction and the students who can’t keep up are just left behind. We have been trying our best to help the students all receive the attention that they need in order to be successful. Melissa and Shawna have been focusing more on classroom management skills. Shawna has been introducing her teacher to small group instruction and centers. This is one of the most efficient ways to teach in the states, and we want to help our teachers as much as possible. Melissa has been helping her teacher organize her classroom. She has been making signs and posters for the classroom walls which were originally bare, and has helped her teacher understand the importance of a colorful, comfortable environment for her student’s learning.
As far as everything else goes, we have been learning that going out to eat every day is not in our price range. We are feeling at home in our new place and have been cooking meals and having “family dinners” almost every night. This week we traveled to Sandy Point and spent some time relaxing at a beautiful resort there. We also went for a much needed massage, which was extremely relaxing. Tomorrow we are traveling to the main land to go cave tubing, zip lining, and to explore the Mayan Ruins. We are extremely excited for this adventure!! We will post pictures!!
Talk to you soon,
Lindsay, Kayla, Shawna, and Mel
We are off this morning by train to Crewe. We are going to see Matt and Savina’s housing at MMU/Cheshire. They live at what is called the Halfway House ( nothing like halfway houses in the US).
Lisa and I will take them to the Duke of Bridgewater pub (a BSU tradition). Tuesday morning we will go to Leighton Academy to see Matt and Savina at school.
A good visit with Matt and Savina. We saw them Monday night at the Duke and then to the Leighton Academy. Savina is a a 3rd year (2nd grade) while Matt has been observing at Leighton. In the afternoon, Lisa and I went to the Sir William Stanier Secondary School to meet with the v-p and toured the impressive school. Matt will start, at SWSS, this Monday for the next six weeks.
I am still getting used to this blogging and my first post wasn’t a comment, so confusing! But I have been in Dublin for exactly 1 week today. It was has been wonderful so far. The school I am placed at (St. Brigid’s) is great, it is an all girls school and I am in second class. My students are very sweet and smart. They love to read and are obsessed with GAA (Gaelic Football). I have found a few things to be different, mostly just in the different ways we say things. For example they say Maths (sounds like Mats) which refers to Math, at first I had no idea what it was and honestly thought it was to do with mats.
Yesterday I went into the City Center and took the Hop On-Hop Off bus tour of Dublin. It was definitely worth going even though it rained all day. I took a tour of Trinity College and got to see the Book of Kells and the Old Library. The library was my favorite part of the day as it closely resembles the library pictured in Harry Potter. I also went to the Christ Church Cathedral and the National Museum of Ireland. Overall it was a wonderful day and I can’t wait to see where else I can explore.
We are (Lisa and I) leaving tonight from Logan on Aer Lingus to Dublin (short stop) and then into Manchester. On Sunday we are meeting up with a professor and friend from MMU. We are planning to see Savina and Matt in Crewe, Monday afternoon and then go to the Leighton School on Tuesday. We will be at MMU in Manchester – meeting with Julie Scanlon and others – during the day on Wednesday. On Thursday we fly to Dublin. We will see Ashley Thursday afternoon and then go to her school, St. Brigid’s Friday. Home on Sunday!!
I posted this in the wrong spot at first so I am posting again. Matt and I have arrived in Crewe. It’s been a crazy first few days. My flight from Paris to Manchester got cancelled Monday because of the fog so they put me on a plane to Dublin. From Dublin I flew to Manchester. The airline lost my two bags but they found one and are currently looking for another one.
The accommodations are great we are in a house with a kitchen and dining area. We start school tomorrow at Leighton Academy. We are both in year three with seven year olds which would be the equivalent of our grade two. After two weeks Matt will go to a secondary school. We also are going to be attending classes one day a week at the university which will be interesting to see the differences. I am going to be attending a religious education class. Matt doesn’t know what class he will be taking yet. We will be teaching Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays. We also just booked a weekend trip to Dublin in a couple weeks. I am going next week to visit my mom in London. While there we will take the Chunnel to Paris for the day.
We were suppose to start teaching today and when we got to the school we could only stay for 35 minutes as our equivalent of a cori had not been approved yet. We noticed subtle differences in our schools even just from being there a short period of time. The students at Leighton all wear uniforms and take German. They are also so polite. The teachers all seem very nice. We got a tour of the school today and the classrooms are so colorful and welcoming. They service us lunch at the school and have asked to talk to the students about thanksgiving when it gets closer. Our paperwork has been approved since so we will start our first full day tomorrow. We have arranged to get bikes since our schools our an hour walk from where we are staying.
We will post soon,
Savina and Matt
Hello from Ecuador !
I accidently posted an empty post earlier (woops – new to blogging).
Anyways, I’ve been in Ecuador a little over a week now and it has been amazing! Everything is so beautiful here and Cumbaya (where I am living) is really nice! I started student teaching last week at Colegio Menor. The school is within walking distance of my house so it is really quick to get to and from school. I am working with the Learning Specialist in the Pre-K and Kindergarten classes. It has taken some time to adjust because Special Ed is so different here than it is in the U.S but I am adjusting well and starting to get the hang of it.
My first full week here I did a lot of exploring in Cumbaya with my roommate to get to know the town. We’ve been to the mall (Paseo San Francisco) and to the Centro Comercial La Esquina which is just a bunch of different stores and restaurants. We also went to a local nail salon and got manicures and pedicures. They are super cheap here! We paid $3 for a pedicure and $6 for a manicure!
This past weekend was a long 4 day weekend. We had Monday and Tuesday off from school because of the holiday Dia de los difuntos. We took advantage of this long weekend and went to Montanita Friday and came back Monday night. We took a 10 hour bus ride from Quito to another bus station and then from that bus station it was another 3 hour bus ride into Montanita. We traveled over night so I slept most of the way which was nice, but it was a very long trip. Montanita was beautiful, our hostel was right on the beach so we were at the beach every day! The whole town of Montanita was beautiful, there was tons of shops to look in and a lot of different restaurants to try. They had beach parties every night where they played music and everyone danced and hung out on the beach, it was a really cool experience. Halloween in Montanita was a lot of fun! They had awesome Halloween parties in all of the restaurants and bars. It was also cute to see all the kids dressed in their costumes, they went trick or treating inside all of the shops throughout town. On Sunday we did paragliding over the coast and that was so much fun! The view was so beautiful and we were able to use a Go Pro so we got some awesome pictures! On the way home we didn’t want to have to be on another 13 hour bus ride, so we took a bus to the Guayaquil airport on Monday and spent the day in Guayaquil. We flew from Guayaquil to Quito that night, it was only a 45 minute plane ride so we were home quick! Overall, my first week in Ecuador has been amazing and I can’t wait to see other parts of the country in the upcoming weeks!
Brooke, So good to hear that life in Ecuador is great. As you are learning, Colegio Menor is outstanding. Say hello to Cristina, who works in administration, for us.
Hola from Belize!!
We have had a very crazy first week. We had to move to a different apartment due to some small issues, but we are all settled and happy as ever now! We have all began teaching and although this experience is very different than our student teaching experiences in the United States, we have began to adjust and are feeling more comfortable as the days go on. Most of our teachers are already begging us to take over their class, which is slightly overwhelming, but it just shows how influential we are. The teachers and students want to learn from us and it is so rewarding to be able to teach them new things. One thing that we all found very interesting is that the students all leave school from 11:30AM-1:00PM for lunch. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day for Belizeans and they take it very seriously. Every day we have been lucky enough to share our lunch together and relax a little bit before returning to teach in the afternoon. Since we are “locals” now, we also see our students outside of school all the time. Hearing them call our names down the street will definitely never get old.
As far as our experiences that don’t involve our teaching, we have been doing some great things. We all traveled to the north side of the island to spend some time on the beach, and we have also explored south here and there as well. The island itself is beautiful and we have been so happy living here. A few of us were able to go snorkeling and spend the day at a neighboring island called Caye Caulker. Although it was very different than San Pedro, it was definitely an amazing experience. We have been dining at various different restaurants near where we live, and have been shocked at how much “American food” is offered here. A few of us have tried some Belizean dishes, but it has been somewhat difficult to find a restaurant with all Belizean food.
Needless to say we are doing great so far and cannot wait to keep you updated on our adventures in Belize!
Ladies, “small issues?” Love (and appreciate) your attitude!! Great to hear that you four are settled …..
As you know (or learning quickly), Belize (and San Pedro) is a special place!! Enjoy!! Keep blogging – post your photos and such on “News from Belize”.
As you may recall I am in Guayaquil, Ecuador teaching in our Masters program at Colegio Menor, the sister school to CM in Quito. It is great hear … on the coast – Pacific Ocean …. warm and somewhat tropical. Palm trees and such. I did hear yesterday from Brooke who is at CM in Quito …. living with a host family and teaching at Menor. She said she was doing great.
I am going to post photos of Guayaquil soon!!
Hello Bloggers! Couple of things, 1) to leave a comment just scroll to bottom of home page (this is what I just did). Comments are pretty general whereas 2) posts into your ¨News from …. ¨ are more specific and hopefully with some photos (we love photos). Hope you all are great! Blog away!!
If you need assistance please email Jacey Peers who will assist you! Enjoy!!
oh yes, I forgot …. and one student to Dublin this next week!!
This fall we have 2 students going to England (Crewe), 5 going to Belize, and one student going to Quito, Ecuador. Very exciting. And just now, we are finalizing who will be going away this spring. With those going this fall we will have over 133 students go away to student teach. Outstanding.
For those coming to Belize, here are some upcoming fundraisers for Ambergris Caye Elementary School you may be interesting in attending 🙂
Sat. Oct. 24 Halloween Bazaar – Central Park 4:00
Thurs. Oct 29 & Fri. Oct. 30 – 2nd Annual Haunted House at Wayo’s Beachside Beernet 6:00 – 9:00
Great to hear from you Sarah! Sounds like really fun Halloween activities!! I am sure *I am having trouble navigating this Ecuadorian keyboard ……. the young ladies who are coming to Belize will love meeting you ….!!
Hello International Student Teacher (IST)Bloggers,
Yes, we are getting ready to gear up for nine IST going abroad this October; like next week!. I’ve talked with a number of students these past few months – students who are interested (or have already applied to student teach abroad) – who although they have not made any comments on the blog, they have read what others have written.
We are looking forward to lots of blogging (I require it – this serves as your ‘journal’ – of SPED student teachers). I hope this finds you all well and excited for the adventure you are embarking on.
We are all home safe now from our amazing student teaching experience. I’m going to send each of you a form (no, not too long) to evaluate your experience. Your feedback is important to us as we plan for next year. I am teaching this summer so I’ll be on campus –
so if you’d wish to, come to campus and talk with me. I do hope this note finds you all well.
And please feel free to ask me to write a recommendation for you …. remember that your student teaching abroad – such an unique experience – may be what gets your application for a teaching position – to be on top of the pile (of applications).
I have finally started to pack up my room to leave Saturday. Can’t believe that time has already come! I have learned so much from this experience and can’t wait to bring some of the things that I have learned into my own classroom someday. The things that I am going to take away from this experience most are the amount of differentiated instruction and collaboration that Leighton Academy does and encourages.
Each lesson is differentiated for three different levels of ability. This differentiation keeps every student involved in the lesson and learning at a pace that is comfortable and appropriate for them. Because students are more engaged in lessons and assignments, it makes controlling behavior much easier because there are fewer behaviors to control. The students are also always encouraged to “mag pie” or share and borrow ideas from other students. They model their own work after exemplar examples and frequently flesh out ideas with other students, which makes their learning increase so much more than if they had to silently sit independently and complete an assignment.
I have also learned so much about myself and other cultures from traveling all over Europe. I feel that I am more culturally sensitive and aware after this experience and I hope that I can help my students become more tolerant by bringing this into my future classroom.
Overall, this has been the experience of a lifetime and I wouldn’t change it for the world. The students and staff at Leighton are amazing and it is going to be incredibly difficult to say goodbye to all of them tomorrow.
We had a great time in Rome! Our first time to Rome and we, of course, had heard great things about Rome but it was even better than one imagined.
This past Monday, May 5, We visited John Cabot University and met with many of the individuals involved in study abroad. Had a great lunch with the university’s Provost, Dr. Mary Merva and the President of the university, Dr. Franco Pavoncello.
We discussed how BSU can collaborate with JCU, specifically in Education. BSU students would go to JCU for a semester their sophomore year. Eligible students would need to have a 3.0 gpa, and have taken an intro to education course as well as have passed the Literacy and Communication MTEL. BSU students at JCU would take 12 academic credits including a 3 credit fieldwork in Italian public schools.
In the future (once details are confirmed), BSU student teachers would go to JCU and to Rome to do ½ of their student teaching.
We truly were impressed with John Cabot University and everyone we met and talked with. It would be great for us at BSU to work closely with such a fine institution in such a wonderful part to the world.
The big day has arrived! We are off this morning to John Cabot University in Rome to talk with them about sending student teachers to Rome.
We are meeting our host, JCU’s Provost, Dr Mary Merva this morning and having lunch later today with Dr Merva and JCU’s President, Dr Pavoncello.
Yes, very exciting! We’ve been in Rome since Friday (4 nights) and have had a great time! Truly a beautiful city!
It has been a crazy whirlwind of a month! We were on vacation for 2 weeks for Easter, so in that time Erin, Jenna, Katie, and I did a lot of traveling! We were able to go to Paris, Rome, Prague, Munich, Dublin, and Galway – all in about 2 and 1/2 weeks. It was absolutely exhausting, but one of the best experiences of my life. While we were traveling, we visited Jenna’s family in Germany. One of her relatives is a principal, so she took us to see her school. (It was a Sunday, so there were no students or teachers there, but it was still really cool to see.) It was very interesting to hear about the differences in German schools. One of the things that I found the most interesting is that the school gets out at 1. There is no option for lunch at school. I found this interesting because if there is no lunch offered at school at home, then it does not count as a school day. The school was also extremely small – just 8 classes in total. It was great to be able to see another country’s school and talk to someone about the school system while we were traveling.
The week we got back, Dr. Marvell and Dr. MacMillan came to visit. We were all so tired, but I think it went well! The four of us are really in the swing of things with teaching now. I work in small groups or lead teach almost 100% of the day, so it has been really hands on. I appreciate that my supervising practitioner allowed me to begin working in small groups from the first day that I started at Leighton. It has allowed me to continue to practice teaching, as well as get to know the 32 students in my class a little quicker than if I only did whole class instruction.
We went to the Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Bridgewater with Dr. MacMillan the night that he visited. It was nice to see a familiar face and catch up on our experiences abroad! This past weekend Erin and I went to Stonehenge and Bath. It is crazy to think that we only have two weeks teaching and one weekend of traveling left before we leave the following Saturday! Where did the time go? Although I am ready for the conveniences of home and to see my family and friends, I am going to be very sad leaving all of the wonderful people at Leighton and my students next week. This has been a wonderful experience, I just can’t believe that it’s already almost over!
Lisa and I left Crewe on Friday morning. Took train to London and then the Eurostar to Brussels. We are in Brussels for three nights. We went by train to Brugge which had great architecture but way too touristy….. like going to SS Plaza in Braintree. We plan, on Monday morning, to go to the International School of Brussels (ISB) …. talk with them about international student teaching.
Hello From England!
Boy have we had such an amazing time! We just had April 2nd-April 20th off for Easter break! We traveled to Paris, Rome, Prague, Germany, and Ireland! I have never been so tired-but this has been such an experience of a lifetime! The kids were all full of stories from their Easter holiday!
Before we left for Easter holiday, we had a lesson on teaching the children the religion behind Easter. It was so weird to me because of course at home, we cannot teach any religion(s) or even talk about them. So as we watched clips on Jesus and his resurrection, I asked my teacher (Ms. Newton) about the children who aren’t Catholic. She said that at their school, they have almost an “open minded” policy where the children can believe what they want. They don’t have to believe about Jesus, but it is good for them to learn other’s religions. Growing up, I always loved learning about other religions and seeing how other’s spend holidays, but of course, that has changed now.
In Germany, we got to visit Jenna’s family. One of her family members was a Principal at a school, and she let us go take a look. The school was very small, I think there were about 8 classrooms. The most shocking part to me was that the teachers only teach in the mornings until about one o’clock, and the school day is over. There is no lunch at school either. So their days last from about 8 am-1 pm. And over in Europe, I have realized such a large emphasis on “play time” /recess for the children. It truly does help them to refocus and get that extra energy out that they have!
Back to reality this week at the school- and we get to see some familiar Bridgewater faces! (:
Lisa and I arrived in Crewe today. We flew into
Manchester yesterday morning. When we went to Leighton Academy today around noon we saw Dr Marvelle and Erin, Katie, Jenna and Kellie. The folks at LA raved about how well the young women were doing ….. Great to hear.
Tonight we are off to dinner at the Duke of Gloucester and of course, our ‘ required’ visit to Crewe’s Duke of Bridgewater pub!!
Yesterday, Erin and I went on a field trip with our year four students to Stockley Farm. It was awesome to see the kids outside of the classroom. I got to hold a lamb! It gave me lamb kisses. It was adorable.
Today at Leighton we had a poetry reading. Each class year performed one poem that they memorized. They all did fantastic! It was organized by one of the year 4 teachers. I was amazed by how well the students were able to memorize their poems, even the little ones in Reception (preschool).
After school today we are officially on Easter holiday! I am leaving for Paris tomorrow to meet up with one of my friends from home. Over the break, Katie, Jenna, Erin, and I are traveling to Paris, Rome, Prague, Germany to visit Jenna’s family, Dublin, and Galway. It is going to be a whirlwind of a few weeks, but I can’t wait!
This past weekend we went to London and, as Katie mentioned, my brother and his girlfriend met us there. (They will also be meeting us in Rome.) It was so good to see them, but thankfully it didn’t make me homesick! We saw all of the major sights in London (Big Ben, Parliament, London Eye, Buckingham Palace, and many more) and we also got to see The Lion King. The show was amazing! We left at a good time on Monday so that we could get back to school, do laundry, and prepare for school the next day.
After a busy weekend, we jumped right back into teaching at Leighton Academy. I did more whole class teaching this week than I have in the previous two (which was mostly small group instruction). I lead a whole class discussion and planned a math Easter hunt activity with Jenna for all of year 3 (grade 2 in the US). The students loved it and so did the teachers! It was a lot of fun!
I love that out of classroom learning experiences are valued here. Not that these experiences aren’t valued at home, but there is an emphasis on them here. The students have time to be kids and have fun in school, in addition to learning the curriculum. It was strange being able to incorporate a holiday and religion into our lesson, but a lot of fun! I am excited to travel the next few weeks and learn more at Leighton after that!
Hello from England!
We have been SO busy since the moment we landed. Working with the teachers and staff at Leighton Academy has been wonderful. I am placed in Year 3, the equivalent of 2nd grade, and I love it! I’m working with a first year teacher, which has been wonderful. There are 32 students in the class and they’re all incredibly polite.
In the three weeks we’ve been here, we have been to Wales (Bangor & Conwy), Birmingham, Chester, and London. London has been my favorite by far and Chester comes in a close second. I wish someone was there to capture the look on my face when I first walked up the Underground station stairs directly into Trafalgar Square; it is a moment I will never forget. Chester is a few towns over and offered some GREAT shopping! We had a lot of fun to say the least.
We start our 2-week Easter holiday on Thursday. The first stop on our jam-packed journey is Paris. We’ll spend a few days there and then fly to Rome, Prague, visit my family in Germany, and end in Ireland (Dublin & Galway). It’s going to be an incredible travel and cultural experience to say the least!
Jenna, are all of you going to Europe? Tough duty!!
Great to hear that you all are enjoying yourselves and experiencing so much – in and out of the classroom!
Hello From England!
What an amazing two weeks we have had. It was quite the journey to get here-BUT WE GOT HERE!!
Our first week was a little tough getting adjusted to the time difference, and I still think we are all a little tired from it! We actually just sprung ahead and lost another hour this weekend!
Our first weekend was very busy- We went to Birmingham (Cadbury Chocolate Factory), Bangor Wales, Conwy Wales, and Chester. We were all so tired, but didn’t want to waste a minute abroad! We saw beautiful sights, got to explore a castle, eat ALOT of chocolate, and of course…SHOPPING!
Our first two weeks with our kids have been great. I am working with year 4 (Which is third grade in America) and I am falling in love with all my students! I have never felt so welcoming before in my life, from the kids and of course the staff. They don’t have pull out groups over here for special education, they have complete inclusive classrooms. The classes are basically taught as a quick whole group, and then broken into small group instruction based on the child’s capabilities. One of my students is autistic, and he is the SWEETEST boy! He came up to me after we were just about to start a math worksheet and said, “Ms. Donovan, these are WAY too easy!” He puts a smile on my face every day, that is for sure!
This weekend, we just got back from LONDON!! We took a tour on a double decker bus (obviously had to do that), and did a LOT of walking! My feet are so tired, but it was all worth it!
This week we have a field trip to a farm, so I am looking forward to that! Also, we have Easter Holiday starting Thursday till the 20th. We have a lot of traveling coming up, and I cannot wait!
Hello from London!
Kellie, Jenna, Erin, and I are spending the weekend in London! We arrived on Thursday night. We took a double decker hop-on, hop-off bus tour to see the sights. We got to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. It was very cool. After that we saw Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, Tower Bridge, London Bridge, the River Thames, and St. Paul’s Cathedral; all the major tourist sights. The bus tour was definitely worth it, and recommended to anyone who comes to London.
Today we met up with Kellie’s brother and rode the London Eye. The view was amazing! I wish I could figure out how to upload pictures because I got some geeat photos. We also did a little shopping on Oxford St.
Tomorrow we are seeing The Lion King at the Lyceum Theater! We hear it’s amazing! Then we’re visiting Kings Cross for Platform 9 3/4 because we love Harry Potter! Then I hope to visit Abbey Road because I just love the Beatles!
We return to Leighton Academy on Tuesday. Erin and I willbe visiting a farm with our year 4 students on Wednesday. That should be interesting. On Thursday, each year will be performing a poem at a special assembly. I’ve heard my class practice their’s already and it is adorable. I can’t wait to see it!
Jen Joseph wrote: We made it! We have arrived in Belize and have been immersed in their culture for a week. It was a long fight here with only one short layover. Landing in Belize City was a little nerve-racking as we were descending and had no visibility of the tiny, one strip runway. We landed safely but due to our speedy arrival, had to wait about 45 minutes for a staircase to be brought to the plane so we could exit on to the tarmac. The sun was bright and hot as we filed out to a small building to go through customs. Making it through all the logistics, we walked outside and were greeted front and center by Marvin Kellyman, who works in the ministry of education for Belize. He couldn’t have been friendlier, or more welcoming to us. He provided immediate assistance with transportation to the island of Ambergris Caye, and with our housing. Unfortunately we had difficulties arranging housing, and Marvin went out of his way to help us secure the best deal possible. After settling in, we were all exhausted from our long day of traveling, and jet lag, that we went out to dinner and were in bed by 8pm, Belize time.
Go to “News from Belize” to read what each of the ladies (more from Jen, Maddie, Emma and Emily) wrote …
Hello Bloggers! Couple of things, 1) to leave a comment just scroll to bottom of home page (this is what I just did). Comments are pretty general whereas 2) posts into your ¨News from …. ¨ are more specific and hopefully with some potos (we love photos). Kellie´s comment (excellent about their journey from Boston and their first few days in England)could have been a post into ´News from England¨or …. she could have posted in both spaces. 3) we haven´t heard from Erin or our Belizean student teachers. and finally, 4) some great posts from Helen and Sarah in ´News from Ecuador¨. (yes, saw them both teach today – nice work ladies) Hope you all are great! Blog away!!
Hello from England!
After an extremely long trip here (about 24 hours) and a whirlwind of a week and weekend, I am finally settled in at my home for the next 8 weeks!
Getting to Crewe was a task. I am here with 3 other Bridgewater students and our flight was cancelled from Boston to JFK last Sunday. We were rebooked on a flight 8 hours later, then that flight was delayed, so we missed our connecting flight. It was an exhausting 36 hours (24 for travel, about 12 more until we got to sleep again), but we are finally here!
Last week was my first week in Leighton Academy. We were there for a full day on Wednesday and Thursday. I met my teacher and all of my students. They were all so welcoming and made me feel at home in the classroom. I am excited to begin getting more involved as the weeks go on. I already started working in small groups on the first day that I was there. It has been a great experience so far.
This past weekend the three other BSU students and I traveled to the Cadbury Factory in Bornville, England on Friday, then stayed in Birmingham, England Friday night. We went to Bangor, Wales on Saturday and stayed in Conwy, Wales Saturday night. The scenery is breathtakingly beautiful and I cannot get over how nice the people we have met are. From the strangers willing to help us find our way to the students who we share a residence hall with, I could not ask for friendlier or more welcoming people to share this experience with. We are now back at school and are all exhausted, but plan on taking a day trip to Chester (a short train ride from school) tomorrow since we do not have class. It has been a crazy and exhausting first week, but it has also been amazing!
Kellie, Great to hear that the four of you are safe and sound in England. And yes, as you can see so much to see and visit so close to Crewe. Enjoy!
Lisa and I are enjoying Quito. Big day on Friday at Colegio Menor where I saw Helen and Sarah and met their teachers. I had a nice talk with the director, Scott Hibbard.
Also went over to USFQ and met with their president for an hour. Got lots planned on Monday.
Well after over 24 hours of traveling we finally made it to Crewe on Monday at around 4:00pm. Julie met us at reception and had some of her students show us to our dorm. Everyone has been very welcoming and including of us.
We started at Leighton on Tuesday and we love it! I’m placed in year 4, which is equivalent to our grade 3. They’re absolutely adorable.
We’ve planned to visit the Cadbury Factory today and then so some castle sight seeing. London is planned for next weekend. I can’t wait!
Ha! Got to go to the Cadbury Factory!! Lisa wanted to know why I had not taken her there (I had never been there, don´t even know where it is)
We loved the Cadbury Factory. We’ve decided chococlate is now ruined for us. It’s way better here.
My time at Mulcahey Elementary School is winding down and I’m physically & mentally preparingnyself to head to England in under a week. I’m extremely excited and yet so nervous! I can’t wait to head out!
Great to see you on the blog! Blog often so I can follow yours and Erin’s, Kelly’s and Jenna’s exploits! Great teaching and travels! Enjoy and be safe!
Tomorrow is Brittany, Jessica, and my last day. I cannot believe that eight weeks went by so fast! I am going to miss my students and teacher so much. I have seen all the students grow as individuals and academically. They were a brilliant class and I could not have asked for a better experience. I have learned so much from them and I will take it all back as a memory. The students this week have been celebrating Christmas. I have gotten many Christmas cards! The students had a disco (dance) today which they enjoyed. Santa even stopped by for a visit! Tomorrow is the school wide assembly where the students in every class will sing a Christmas song. My class will be singing, “Let it snow”. The three of us will also be thanking and saying goodbye to Leighton Academy. They have been so welcoming and helpful during our time here. I will be going home a different teacher and person than when I came.
This past weekend we went to Ireland. What a beautiful country! We only had two days so we didn’t even get close to seeing everything. We stayed in Dublin and spent Saturday there. Then on Sunday we went on a Paddywagon tour to the western part of the country with the main attraction being the Cliffs of Moher. It was especially windy that day at the cliffs and we were so afraid that we would be blown off the cliff! We could not even walk and our hair was flying every which way. We saw two rainbows throughout the day. Must have been that Irish Luck! While on the bus tour we learned the ABC’s of Ireland-Another Bloody Cathedral/Castle/Church/Cottage. Our tour guide was wonderful and even though it was a long time on a bus, well worth it!
Tomorrow is our last day and then for me I am off to London again and then Paris! Can’t believe that our time is up but I am so glad that we have done all that we have in such a short time. Eight weeks really does fly by!
This is our last weekend on Ambergris Caye. Today was a relaxing day, with a trip into town for frozen yogurt at Yo Ma Ma’s (highly recommended). Danny and a friend spent time playing soccer at Central Park while I read my book. Then we returned to our complex and the boys spent another hour playing in the pool. I’m exhausted just watching them.
I’m starting to plan packing in my head. I can’t believe we have only one week left. Although, if I have to admit it, we are ready to go home. We especially miss our kitty Zippy.
We have tried to take full advantage of our time here. We have seen three Mayan ruins, ridden horses in the jungle (and been surrounded by howler monkeys), cave tubed, taken a boat ride down the New River, gone snorkeling, gone deep sea fishing (not me, Danny), and bought so many wooden carvings that I need to borrow a suitcase from Ariel to get everything home. We’ve made great friends, also. The Belizean people are so nice.
My school ended this week and Danny ends on the 17th with his Christmas pageant (yes, they can still call school events “Christmas” instead of “holiday”) that evening. It was hard to say goodbye to my kids. They even made us a construction paper Christmas tree since we won’t have one at Disney (where we will be Christmas week).
The goodbye was made a bit more difficult because we found out the day before that my mother-in-law, Danny’s grandmother, died unexpectedly on Wednesday. Unfortunately, she was in NY and we can’t make it home from here. Danny and I are helping each other through the sadness.
I hope people take advantage of looking at our blog to get an idea about this place. I will continue to post new pictures until we leave.
This week has been filled with rehearsals and performances of our Christmas show! The children are so adorable acting and singing. The play is A Midwife Crisis, about a midwife trying to get to the birth of Jesus. The songs in the show have been stuck in my head for the past two weeks, and the three children in my class who have lines are the three cutest talking sheep you have ever seen! Teaching and eating lunch with these students for the past seven weeks has been a wonderful experience and I feel like I have gotten to know them pretty well. As excited as I am to go home for Christmas, I am starting to feel how much I will miss my class. It made my day yesterday when one of my boys gave me a Christmas card!!! It will be hard to leave next week but I am so grateful for the wonderful experience I have had at Leighton.
I was talking with Margaret and she shared with me her own blog which is http://www.familysadventureinbelize.blogspot.com Her blog is excellent with great pictures of her school in San Pedro, Belize as well as pictures of their (Margaret and her son, Danny) travels. Thanks Margaret!
Hello from beautiful Belize, for one of the last times! This past week has been incredible, as always, fitting is as much as we can before it is time to go home! I finally went snorkeling on Sunday, and as scared as I was when I jumped in, I am so happy that I did it! I never imagined myself looking into the reef filled with exotic fish, stingrays, and SHARKS, but I did it! It was nothing shy of swimming into a life size fish tank and I could never describe the experience. It just shows me that as scared as I was it was totally worth it, and I will use that the next time I am afraid to do anything.
Unfortunately, tomorrow is my last day of school! Our students have a huge Christmas celebration, no classes, and then they are dismissed early for their 3 week break. It is a very religious community so large breaks are given for Christmas and Easter. I am so excited to have a free week of exploration, relaxation, and whatever I want, but I wish more than anything I could be with my students until the very last minute!
I am having a hard time thinking about going home at this point- I have never been more torn about feelings in my entire life. On the one hand, I miss my friends, parents, sisters, and nephews more than anything, and I can’t wait to be back in my town for Christmas. On the other hand I am getting so comfortable to this lifestyle here, the weather, the people, the attitudes, and ten days more doesn’t seem like enough for me. Although I do feel that if I stayed longer I would start to get more homesick, I just wish this was a place that was convenient enough for me to travel back and forth to. It’s not sitting right with me that I’ll never see my kids again and I’ve already gotten upset about it several times. I know that tomorrow will only bring on the waterworks even more! However, I keep telling myself to think of all of the positives that have happened in the past two months, and not to dwell on the goodbyes. Those students have impacted my life in ways I never even knew existed, and I can only hope that I left a small imprint on them as well. It’s hard to hear them ask if I will just be going to the states for Christmas and then coming back after break. However, I can’t lie and tell them I’ll be back, so I have to break the news to them. Tomorrow should be interesting, I will keep you all posted!
Overall this week was one of my favorites. Each week it gets better and better for me here. I think our school is so awesome. I love the students, I love the teachers, and I love the principal. This school has been nothing but nice to Nicole and I. I would highly suggest sending future students to this school. I would also recommend sending them to teach for my teacher. She is going to give the student teachers the best experience. I may be bias because I have only really seen her, but she is a good teacher to have as a mentor during school and out of school. She goes above and beyond what is expected of her and that is why I would hope more students coming here could have the experience that I have had here. This week we sewed bows together for the girls and worked well together helping co-teach some of the lessons.
The school’s Christmas variety show was amazing. All of the classes came up with a presentation of some sort, which was either e song and dance or poem and presented it to all of the parents. Many of them did a song and dance. I loved watching the little ones dance because they were so cute! Many of my students who were not in the show came to support the girls in the dance. I thought that was really nice to see. I assumed only the students in the performance would come, so it was so nice to see many of them coming to support the girls! It is so nice to see them supporting each other and forming genuine friendship with one another.
My favorite part of the week was of course when my mother came into my class. The students were excited all week to meet her. They kept on saying, “When do we get to meet your mom.” At some points during the week I thought they were more excited to see her than I was! When she arrived with the presents for all of the kids their faces lit up! my mom was also really happy when she was able to se all of their smiling faces! It was such a nice day and I am so happy she came to meet them! What a wonderful week it was! I cannot believe next week is my last week with them! I am beginning to get really sad. I will miss them so much.
Yesterday, I was able to go to Xunantunich. This is one of the Maya ruins located in Belize city. From the top of the ruins you can see much of Belize and Guatemala. My mom was here so we were able to have a wonderful experience climbing them together. I plan on visiting a couple more ruins while I am here. My teacher is going to take me to a few next week on our last week here! I cannot believe school is over on Thursday. I am so sad I will be leaving my class! I hope to keep in contact with them! Only eleven days left of this adventure. I am however, excited to come home just in time for Christmas (minus the snow)!
Allison, Wonderful post but we’d love to know the name of the school (San Pedro RC?) and the name of your teacher so we could indeed meet and talk with her. Thanks!
What a week! This past week at my school, the students had exams. So each day was entirely dedicated to taking a cumulative exam consisting of everything that students have learned so far. They had about hour long blocks of testing, with a few breaks in between and dismissal was an hour early at 2:00 everyday. During these tests, teachers read each and every question to the students and they complete them together. This takes much longer than if they were to attempt each question on their own, but a lot of my students really need each question read to them. On Wednesday night, my teacher held a Parents Enrichment workshop for the parents of the students in my class. She is doing this as a part of her community service project for her induction, which is what teachers go through to further their certificate, or basically get the equivalent of a bachelors in education. 6 of the parents in my class attended the workshop, which is dedicated to teaching parents how kids learn and how to better help them study and complete homework at home. During this workshop, we went over the different types of learners, such as visual and audio learners. Exams ended on Thursday and Friday was spent going over the tests and making up tests for students that were absent. On Wednesday, Hannah and I went to town to see the lighting of the Christmas Tree, Santa was there as well as people bringing in the torch for the Special Olympics, which was a really cool experience to see. It is so funny to see all of the Christmas trees and decorations next to the ocean and palm trees! It is not the last week of school, I cannot believe how fast this is flying by! Soon we will be in the snow seeing all of these lights and trees.
Hola from Belize. The past weekend has been incredible. Thanksgiving down here was definitely different from the traditional home cooked meal and loving family all around, but you know what… I’ll never forget it. It was a quiet dinner with three others. A few good bottles of wine were shared, and the special that night was a traditional Thanksgiving plate. A delicious slice of pecan pie was also served. The next morning we woke up to be at Patojo’s dock for nine. We ended up leaving the dock around ten and headed to Hol Chan where we snorkelled and saw incredible ocean life. After spending time at Hol Chan, we traveled over to Shark Ray Alley where we dove in with the sharks. It was such an amazing and humbling adventure. Observing life underwater with such powerful and exotic animals felt unexplainable. I would have to say it was my favourite experience here thus far. Patojo and his helper who took us out were fantastic.
When we returned to the dock after our trip, we hurried back to our place to shower and headed back into town immediately to make it to a painting party. Over a few drinks, we painted what the owner had sketched for us. Everybody’s was unique. I loved the way they all turned out. It was the ultimate relaxation after such a stimulating morning.
Later on, we went out and enjoyed the local night life scene. I danced the night away. We ended up coming across our tour guide on the boat. Living on such a small island for five weeks now, we see familiar faces whenever we are out of the house. It’s a nice feeling.
The day after we ended up renting a golf cart which gave us the freedom to do errands, and travel to the northern part of the island. To make a long story short we ended up getting invited on a chartered catamaran sunset cruise. It was incredible. My favourite place to be is on the ocean.
Sunday morning we had an amazing breakfast by the ocean. Life has just really felt superb down here the past couple of days. Although there are things that I am ecstatic to get back to in the states, I’m seriously getting nervous about abandoning this lifestyle. How will I adjust back to rules, cold weather, and reality?
Last week was testing for the students. This was unlike any testing I have ever seen. The students took tests all day for four days! Nicole’s family was here so that was really exciting for me! It was so nice to see familiar faces here in San Pedro. My class began practicing for the Christmas show this Friday. Since the students are finished with school next Friday (I cannot believe how quickly this has flown by!), the school does the show early so that next week can be set aside for celebrations. I am very excited because my mom is flying in on Thursday just in time for the Christmas show!
I am so scattered brained today! I think it has to do with all of the rain! When I arrived at school this morning only half of my class was there due to the weather! When it rains here they call is “Belizean snow.” That never gets old to me because I think it is hysterical!
Over the weekend Nicole and I did a lot of exciting things. We took a boat out with her family around the island and on the trip we saw dolphins! Also, it was nice to be able to tour the island coast and see parts of the island you cannot drive to even if you wanted to because it is private. We were able to see some celebrity houses and other islands near by. On Saturday, we went to our favorite restaurant, Blue Water Grill and then went parasailing! Parasailing was quite an experience. I expected it to be really cold and windy up in the air, but it was still. The views were incredible and it was so peaceful up in the air. I was able to see the whole island!
This weekend I plan to hopefully snorkel and see some of the Mayan ruins! One of the people I met here is offering a snorkeling day trip for only $15 on Sunday so I might try to take the offer! I know my mom really wants to go on some excursions so I am trying to figure out which would be the best for her to do while she is down here. I have already done so much! Between cave tubing, the zoo, zip lining, jet skiing, boat rides, and parasailing I have really done it all. I am happy I am able to have fun this trip. The schoolwork has been very minimal due to testing so I have been trying to enjoy San Pedro while I have the time!
Suggestions for people considering Belize or already signed up to go: Bring a lot of money with you so that you can really experience the fun here! Some of the prices are as follows:
(This is all in US)
Cave tubing/ zip lining: $165
Belize Zoo: $15
Jet Skiing: $55 (this can be split between two people if you share a jet ski)
Some of the good companies to use:
Jungle Water Adventures (located across from the store wings)
San Pedro Water Sports
There is a place to go parasailing next to the restaurant Wet Willies
I hope this helps! Only 19 more days left….
This past week was a whirlwind. It was a very busy and hectic week. The school is very busy getting ready for Christmas celebrations and the holiday season. I taught my first whole class lesson this week. The teaching style that is used does not have much of whole class instruction. Even though this is a public school, they still teach Religious Education and that is what my whole class instruction was on. The students are familiar with the story of Jesus’’ birth but their assignment was to think about the story from a different perspective. To get them thinking about multiple perspectives I read them a story that was from the innkeeper’s perspective. After, we discussed how his perspective was different because he did not know that Jesus was being born where Mary and Joseph did. The students then had to create their own storyboard from a different perspective such as Mary, the three wise men, or even the donkey. Some of the students really excelled at this and got very creative whereas others did struggle. This was the first time that they had been introduced to multiple perspectives. I believe they all worked very hard and understand that every story has multiple perspectives to it.
Every Thursday I help during free time with the Drama Club. The students have been working very hard on this play and have been doing a fabulous job. The play focuses on bullying and how to correctly hand the situation if the students come across it. The message is strong and the students are having fun coming up with ideas for props or their own lines.
Over the weekend we went to York and Chester. Both cities are beautiful and have amazing sites. In both cities the cities have been built around the city walls dated back hundreds or thousands of years ago. It is mind-blowing to me that these structures are here even after all this time. Our country is so new that you won’t ever find anything this old but here; I am touching them and walking the same paths that the Romans or Monks had! In York we went to the York Minster, which is one of the oldest Gothic minsters in Europe. Fun Fact about this minster: It is off center by 18 inches. They were building this minster around a smaller church and started from the back working their way forward so as they moved forward, they shifted quite a bit to the left. If you stand in the “center” you can see that it does not line up exactly down the middle. In York we also had our first afternoon tea experience. We went to Betty’s Tea Room which has been around for 90 years and was a beautiful tea room! There is nothing more British than afternoon tea!
Until next time, Cheers!
You’ve had a wonderful experience. Teaching at Leighton Academy and touring England. York and Chester are wonderful and exceptional places. Absolutely special.
What a week this has been! school is going well, this past week at Isla Bonita students have been preparing and reviewing for exams which start tomorrow. The students, starting in Infant 1 have an entire week dedicated to taking exams on each subject on every single thing that they have learned so far in school. These tests then determine which level they are placed in High School after their Standard 6 testing. To prepare for these tests, Standard 6 attends Saturday school. On Thursday we had Sports Day, since ours was cancelled due to the rain last week. We had shirts made and were broken into “houses”. We played games the whole day outside, such as egg toss, lime on a spoon, sack and wheel barrel races, banana and apple eating, and coca cola chugging. The students were served hot dogs for lunch and released an hour early. Thursday was also Thanksgiving, Hannah and I joined Sarah and her sister who was visiting for dinner at Pineapples, where they served the traditional turkey dinner, ham and turkey included! We then ventured to the Chicken Drop, where people pay money to place bets on numbers in a square. If a chicken “drops” on your number, you win a money prize. This was quite funny to see. Friday was Township Day, which was another no school holiday for the kids. Hannah and I went with Sarah and her sister, Karen snorkeling at Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. Swimming with the nurse sharks is definitely also added to my list of best things I have ever done. Hannah and I also rented a golf cart on Saturday for 24 hours, they make life much easier, but they’re quite bumpy to drive on these roads! Back to school tomorrow for exams, I cannot believe we only have two weeks of school left after this.
Hello from Belize! I have had a few rough days this week and last week, but nothing to kill my spirit yet! Last week I broke out in hives all over on our day off, so Allison’s teacher took me to the doctor, they put me on a lot of medicines, said I probably got bit by something I’ve never been bit by before, and they sent me on my way. However this week, on Monday (when my family arrived for their visit!) I broke out again as well as got blister like looking bubbles. My doctor said it was definitely another allergic reactions, but nothing to worry about because my body’s being exposed to all kinds of new things here! I have a lot more medicine now, topical treatment, AND an epipen, so hopefully things will start looking up!
My family arrived on Monday and they are having a good time. We’ve tried several different restaurants, went shopping, sat at some pools, had my sister try snorkeling, took a boat ride today, and hopefully parasailing and jet skiing are in the cards for tomorrow! unfortunately my mother had to spend her first day of vacation at the doctors with me, but I was also able to have more time with them because I was unable to do full days at school in between doctors appointments.
This week ended testing week, and we had today off for a holiday and a rest day. My Christmas dance is going well and my students will be performing it next Friday at their festival. I will also be teaching math all next week- 2 digit addition WITH carrying! So exciting! I feel like we’re nearing the end and I’m not ready to say goodbye to my kiddies, but I need to get that feeling out and enjoy the rest of my time here!
Where has the time gone! I can’t believe that we’ve been here for a month now. Dr. MacMillan came over last week to see Janelle, Brittany, and I each teach a lesson to our kids. As my students are in Reception (which is 4 year olds and is almost a combination of our preschool and kindergarten) I had them attempting to write a sentence about a planet of their choosing. They all attempted to write something down and was able to tell me verbally what they wanted to saw. Overall though, they were more interested in drawing their picture of the planet than writing even though they had been told it was a writing assignment. The kids are getting better with being more productive and quicker when changing for PE now, they form in lines for help rather than a large group. We had a fire drill one day, they did well. Everyone went outside in lines and waited while the teachers counted and took attendance. They were more chatty than American students though (maybe because of the age?). I’m still finding myself amused by the accent. I was having a student read to me one day and she came upon the word “walrus” and didn’t know how to pronounce it. So I just told her how to say it, not thinking that the “a” might be pronounced slightly differently. One of the other teachers reading with a different student just starts giggling and mimicking the way I said and and corrected my pronunciation (nicely) to me and the student.
The weekend before that we spent the two days in London. While Janelle spent the time with her family, Brittany and I did a lot each day, from the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace and the Museum of London to seeing the Paddington Bear Statues all over the city (promotional thing for the new movie). Saturday we spent the entire day in Wales with the International Society at Conwy Castle and then at the Christmas Market in Llandudno. The castle was awesome to walk around and take pictures of. Although it is technically a ruin, it still looks like a castle from a fairytale with the towers and walls and moat and bridges (still not sure how our coach bus fit through those tunnels). Off to our English class with Julie Scanlon at MMU in a bit talk to you later!
Yes Jessica, Nice lesson last week. I would like you to check out the 1st graders (whatever it is called in England? Year 2?) to compare what you had in your first placement. Keep up the good work!
Happy Sunday Funday!
Today was absolutely beautiful! We had breakfast at Estel’s right on the beach. They were playing live acoustics while we watched the boats ride by. This place is paradise. After we left breakfast and headed to the pool! We are becoming professional pool-hoppers!
Ariel and Hannah went off to see about renting jet skis! We decided to have a spontaneous afternoon jet skiing! We only paid $25 dollars each, which was a great deal!
This week we plan to go parasailing! Nicole’s family will be here all week so we will be able to have a nice thanksgiving with some familiar faces!
This week is exam week for the students in my school so they will be testing all week. Also, friday is a holiday so we just have four days in the school this week. The atmosphere here is just much more laid back than in America. I may have a hard time coming back to my fast pace life! Also…. I would rather not come home to the winter! The good news is I’ll come home just in time for Christmas! (With a nice tan 🙂 )
We had our trip to Wales yesterday with the international student group. We explored what is left of Conwy Castle, found the smallest house in the UK, and walked on the high wall that surrounds the town. This is the wall that I was standing on when I dropped my phone and it fell about 25 feet onto the pavement below… Well I can now tell you that I am officially the biggest fan of otterbox phone cases. The back of the phone is all cracked, but the screen is fine and it still works and takes pictures so I am super lucky! We then went to the Llandudno Christmas Fair where we picked up some Christmas presents and I tasted all the wonderful free samples. Tonight we joined many of the international students for a potluck dinner and they brought some amazing food. Not sure what to bring, we made nachos and everyone loved them! We now have friends form Poland, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Portugal!
Happy Sunday from beautiful Belize. We just spontaneously rented jet skis and had a wonderful time. Weekends are so relaxing here and we are in the process of booking parasailing, snorkeling, and ruin trips for the coming weekends. Especially with Allisons and Nicole’s families coming to visit. We have our reservations for thanksgiving dinner, their thanksgiving dinner special is lobster and sushi. Not quite like at home! This past week was pretty crazy. Tuesday was cancelled because of the rain. So many kids walk miles to school and many roads aren’t paved so when it rains schools pretty much have to cancel. On Wednesday it was Garifuna settlement day and we went to a bbq at Allisons teachers house. It was nice to spend the day with friends. Friday was supposed to be my schools children’s day celebration but the rain is making us move it to one day next week. On this day we will play sports games at the Boca del Rio Park. Crazy that we have three weeks left of school but it already feels that it’s winding down. At my school next week we have review week. The following week is exams and then the last week is Christmas show preparations and holiday class parties. I really enjoy all the celebrations and parties that we can have at school here. I will miss that at home!
Hello from England! Lisa and arrived into Manchester on Saturday. We went to Crewe Monday morning
to see Jessica, Brittney and Janelle. As you have read from Janelle’s post we went to meet MMU Professor Julie Scanlon. Professor Scanlon’s students had questions for me and I did my best to answer their questions about special education in America. We, Lisa and I met the young ladies for dinner
at the Duke of Gloucester. After dinner we took taxis to the ‘world famous’ Duke of Bridgewater pub.
On Tuesday we went to the Leighton Academy to see the ladies in their classrooms. Jessica, Brittney and Janelle taught effectively.
What a week it has been! Last weekend we were in London and did not get back until Monday morning. London is such an amazing and busy city. There are so many great sights to see like the Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Natural History Museum, Shakespeare’s Globe, and the Camden Market (Over 1,000 stalls)!
Once we got back on Monday we had the pleasure of greeting Dr. MacMillan and Lisa. We were very happy to see them and have the company. Dr. MacMillan presented in our children’s literature class. Our advisor here, Julie, teaches the class. The students in the class had many questions to ask about our education system and special education. They had never heard of RTI or direct/explicit instruction before. In England, they have a National Curriculum that every teacher needs to follow. We informed them that it is state by state in the US. At one point, I informed the other students about the Dual License program and they were in awe that you can get both degrees. They said that they wished they had that in England. For me, that was a defining moment at how amazing BSU is and all it has to offer.
After class we went out to dinner. Later we went to a restaurant called, “Duke of Bridgewater”. You can only imagine why we had to go there! We took the annual picture in front. Then on Tuesday Dr. MacMillan and Lisa came into Leighton Academy to observe our teaching. I have been placed in a Year 4 classroom which is close to our 3rd grade. I did a small group lesson on persuasion and persuasive writing.
Later in the week, I worked with the students in my class to build a castle. They had gone on a field trip to Beeston Castle and the students brought in cardboard boxes to make their own. What a castle it is becoming! The students have been very creative and the castle is quite large. The students also got a lesson on the usage of Ipads because they will be getting Ipads for the classroom next week! Needless to say, they were all very excited!
This weekend we are finally visiting a castle! We are headed to Wales to see Conwy Castle. Cheers!
Hello from Belize. After two days of torrential rain, the sun is out and we are back at school. Today at Holy Cross Anglican School we are celebrating Children’s Day. This means that there are no classes and the kids are playing games and hanging out. My iPad and Chinese Checkers game are popular. Tomorrow is Cultural Day during which the three divisions represent three different ethnic cultures here on the island – Creole, Garifuna, and Mestezo.
Yesterday was Garifuna Settlement Day – a national holiday. Unfortunately, it was raining since Tuesday morning, which put a damper on the festivities.
Danny and I are still enjoying our time here. He is quite popular in town – especially when he shows up with his soccer ball. I have watched several impromptu football (soccer) games on the beach with kids neither of us know. Kids come up to me and ask where my son is when they see me. Also, when we walk around town we invariably hear someone call Danny’s name.
Last Saturday we went to the mainland and went to Xunantunich – a Mayan site -, cave tubing, and to the Belize zoo. The weather was great and the sites were wonderful. The Belize Zoo is one of the best I have seen. Next weekend we are planning to go to Caye Caulker – the island south of here. I have been told that it is like going backwards 15 years in development. Should be a relaxing day.
We also have trips planned to two more Mayan sites – Altan Ha and Lamanai – and The Blue Hole. We are taking full advantage of the time we have left. I have posted pictures for all to enjoy.
I finish school on December 12th, but Danny does not finish until December 17th with the school Christmas Pageant on the 18th. It looks like I’ll be packing us up by myself.
I can’t believe that we are already talking about our trip home.
That’s about it from here.
Enjoy the pictures!!
Today is the perfect day to blog about Belize because we have a rain day! In America we wear our pj’s inside out and backwards praying for a snow day… here if you wake up and it is raining school is cancelled. The majority of the students walk to school which is why they cancel school. I am kind of bummed that there is no school because tomorrow is a holiday so we were already going to have a day off tomorrow. It is Garifuna Settlement Day. This is a celebration of the Garifuna people that came to Belize and settled. The students were going to dress up as Garifuna’s today and there was going to be cultural activities and food to try. I was looking forward to experiencing the culture.
Also, on Friday the island celebrates Children’s Day! My teacher and I are getting together tomorrow on our day off to make baskets with “sweets” (as they call candy here) for all of our students. On Children’s Day they have no classes and we play games and do activities with the students all day! Also, the parents bring food for the students so I am looking forward to trying more food here! Though this is a short week it is a very eventful one!
I am trying to post pictures, but I do think there is something wrong with the Belize site. I will email you, MacMillan some of our pictures so that maybe you could post them on your end. We have all tried and there is no way we are able to do it.
I just posted in News from Belize, but I’m sorry, I still cannot figure out how to put pictures up! The girls and I are going to work on it today, thanks to Jacey and Dr. MacMillan’s directions! Hopefully we can figure it out because we have so many pictures of our school and the beautiful views!
Lisa and I are meeting Janelle, Brittany and Jessica this afternoon at MMU Cheshire. We are going to Professor Scanlon’s class. Later, for dinner, we will go to the Duke of Gloucester restaurant. Also in our plans is a visit to the Duke of Bridgewater pub for refreshments.
This past weekend was an amazing one down here in Belize. Ariel and myself began our Saturday by getting picked up at 6AM by one of the men we booked our excursion with. He dropped us off at the water taxi where we met up with Nicole and Allison. After grabbing coffee and lattes from a nearby coffee shop, we made our way onto the boat. I shouldn’t make that sound so easy-going. Although Allison and Ariel had gone ahead to make sure the boat didn’t leave without us, Nicole and I had to literally run with coffee splashing everywhere with people shouting at us to make it on the 6:30 ride (take note: latte is not made as quickly down here as it is in America). The boat ride was beautiful. It took about an hour and twenty to make it to the mainland after making a standard stop at Caye Caulker. We were greeted on the mainland by our awesome tour guide, Michael. He was friendly and incredibly resourceful. One first stop was the Belize Zoo. There were incredible animals that were very present and interactive with guests. Curious monkeys, turtles, and birds came close to get a better look at guests. Jaguars and leopards showed their discontent with guests gawking at them by growling. The only thing that stood between us and a very angry jaguar was basically chicken coop wire. It was a thrill. After the zoo we went cave tubing. After about a half hour jungle walk with giant tubes around us, we finally made it to a gorgeous cave opening. Our tour guide had his very own tube and towed the rest of us around in our own which were tied together. He was very informative of the substances inside of the cave. I predicted that I was going to feel scared and/or claustrophobic in the cave, but I did not. It was surprisingly peaceful. After exiting the cave about two hours later, we floated back down the river. Next we went zip lining. It was my first time. It was an experience. Personally, I don’t think I’d choose to do it again, but it was an amazing experience over a jungle. After a long and exhilarating day, we headed back to the water taxi. Each of us fell asleep in the van on the way there. The ride on the water taxi was gorgeous with the sun setting slowly throughout the entire ride. It was a perfect day.
That night we enjoyed one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had at one of the restaurants, and then we checked out the local night scene. The next day we spent on the beach in Ramon Villiage’s lounge chairs and hammocks drinking fresh pineapple margaritas. Life is good. This past weekend made me look forward to the last eight days we have free of school down here in San Pedro.
Well we finally made it into Leighton Academy this week. I was in a Reception classroom (similar to our preschool). The students are so funny with their accents! It is a little hard to understand a few because they either talk so quietly you can’t hear them or because they are just learning English as a second language. Crewe has a large Polish immigrant population. Out of the thirty kids in the class, there are maybe eight to ten or so who are Polish. There are a lot of similarities between primary school here in the UK and at home as well as many differences. For one thing, there are two teachers in the classroom; the lead teacher and an assistant or aide. They almost co-teach or team-teach the class. It is interesting to watch.
Well this week was Bonfire Night, so there was a lot of discussion about fire safety and sparkler safety on Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as lots of bonfire and firework themed centers in the classroom. So on Wednesday night Brittany, Janelle, and I went to Queen’s Park in Crewe to see their bonfire and fireworks display. There was also a fair going on with lots of rides and games that you would see at any fair at home. It was a lot of fun! The bonfire was humongous and really hot. We ended up turning away from it and just standing against the fence, turning around to take a couple pictures now and then. The fireworks display was set to Disney music of all things (no Frozen though, small blessings) and rivaled many of the displays that you can see at home.
We’ve been extremely lucky so far that it hasn’t rained a whole lot. Well our luck ran out on Friday, it poured all day long. Saturday (yesterday) we decided to head into Liverpool, rain or shine. It was rainy and cold when we got there in the morning on the train, but it disappeared around noon-ish. We went to the Albert Docks and the Maritime and International Slavery Museums there. We took a short walk around the docks and went into the PierMaster’s house which is made up inside to look like a house during the Second World War. That was really cool to see, very small inside though. Best thing about the majority of the museums here is that there is free admission; you don’t have to pay to go in them. We walked through the Museum of Liverpool and watched a short video on the two football clubs in the city (Liverpool FC and Everton FC) as well as a short one on the Beatles. Like you can find Patriots and Bruins gear everywhere at home, you can find Beatles memorabilia everywhere in Liverpool.
The story that I heard years ago was that the priest in Crewe was Polish and hence, when the UK joined the EU and the borders came down between the UK and Poland a number of people came to the UK for work – and brought their families.
It has been quite the week here in San Pedro! Nicole and I are finally settled in our new place.. and it is wonderful! We have made ourselves right at home! We are in the middle of the city! I thought this is something I wouldn’t like, but it ended up being the best thing that has happened to us this trip! We can walk to our school everyday which saves us a lot of money because we were originally paying for a taxi. The school here have an hour and a half lunch break. It is really convenient for us to be able to walk home and eat lunch in our apartment. I have already started tutoring some of my students after school. I am really excited to see the impact I can make on these students in the short time I have here. One thing that I will not be able to accept is that I am not a miracle worker. These children could benefit so much from my help, but I cannot change all of them and I cannot help all of them with everything I would like to in the time I have here.
This week has given me a whole new perspective on the challenges that the teachers’ here face. They have limited materials and resources which makes teaching a lot more work and stress. Though these students seem to be at a disadvantage, the school’s emphasis on the importance of family and community brings an aspect to the school that I believe American Schools lack. Nicole and I were able to attend a school event called the All Saint’s Fair. This is the one event in the school year that is fundraised. One of the teachers in the school was telling me that the San Pedro Roman Catholic School has a really good parent-school relationship. She told me that the parents are really supportive and involved in the school. This was really nice to hear. The staff is very inviting to us and I really felt like part of the community at the event. Also, I had the chance to introduce myself to the students’ parents and that was a good experience for me. I was oddly surprised by the fact that many of the parents did not speak English. The students’ acted as my translators! I got a lot of positive responses from the parents, which made me feel great. Many of them were interested in me and what I am doing here.
Though the systems here are much different than the US there are some aspects of the schools here that I hope to bring into my classroom someday. I love how family oriented the culture is here. There is an assumed open door policy by which parents can come in the classroom during lunch and breaks to spend time with their children and the teacher. Here, it is more than acceptable to hug the students and comfort them when something is wrong. I do feel like I can show a different kind of love for the students here than I could for my students in Brockton. I do not think there is anything called personal space here in Belize. The students come up to me every time they see me and squeeze me and don’t let go! They are always crowding around me and asking me how my day is going. I feel like I know so much about their home lives.
In my old school, I had to keep the relationship between myself the students professional. I could comfort the students with words, but it was not acceptable to hug them or rub their backs to comfort them when they were struggling or upset. Here, there is no need to worry about loving the students. They brighten up the rainiest of days here. They constantly tell me how happy they are that I am there for them, which makes me so sad that I will ever leave them. I feel like I will be abandoning them when I go home. I know that I am here to help them as much as possible, but I feel as though nothing will be enough for me.
Tomorrow Nicole, Ariel, Hannah and I are going zip lining, cave tubing, and to the zoo! It should be a really great day! 🙂
Ladies, are you teaching at San Pedro RC School? Send photos! Post them under ‘News from Belize”.
Yes, we are both at the RC school but cannot figure out how to add photos! Suggestions?!
Hello from sunny, then rainy, (then sunny, then rainy) Belize!
After week two is in the books I can honestly say that I am loving my stay here in San Pedro. I am so comfortable exactly where I am now; school, apartment, location, everything! I have the greatest students, neighbors, and friendly faces to see each day that make missing all of my favorite people back home seem that much easier! My teacher has been giving me a little bit more responsibility in the classroom than she did last week, and I love that! I find myself much more useful when I’m at the front than when I’m observing in the back! Tomorrow, Allison, Hannah, Ariel, and I are headed to the mainland (at 6 am might I add) to go ziplining, cave tubing, and to see the Belize zoo! This is exactly how I wanted to spend my weekends- exploring! I am going to post some pictures now in the Belize section of this blog of my school, as well as the All Saints Day fair that Allison and I helped work at our school today, and Ariel and Hannah came to as well! I love reading about everyone else’s experiences abroad, here’s to hoping we only see sun tomorrow!
Week two has been a whirlwind as well as a success. I feel like a little more of a local, I see parents and teachers around town and can yell hello and most importantly I bought a bicycle. I live a few miles from the school so the bike has helped immensely with saving money as well as keeping active on this island of rice and beans. My classroom is starting to feel more like home and the kids definitely have an attachment already, I will miss the hugging when I get back to the States. I have been teaching a lot, my teacher is going through her induction here so she’s very overwhelmed with the amount of work. So she asks me all the time to just go up and teach as the class begins, I taught the water cycle from nowhere! It is still tough trying to keep the students attention, but classroom management is getting a little better with practice and routine. The struggle is now trying to help the special needs kids as much as I can. I have a girl who is both deaf and mute as well as a very low boy with epilepsy. I want to do everything I can to help but I don’t even know where to begin. That is my goal over the next weeks here, to find ways to best teach these students. Tomorrow we are off to an excursion Cave Tubing, Zip Lining, and then to the Belize Zoo. I am so excited, especially to see more of the country other than just this small island.
Yes, post pictures in the ‘News from Belize’. And you bought a bike …. good thinking!
Week two in Belize has sure flown by, and also has had it’s ups and downs. The beginning of the week I started feeling a bit homesick, missing friends and the conveniences of home! Thankfully, the end of the week has been better and I appreciate the smiling faces of students everyday at schools. The friendliness of the people is incredible here. If help is ever needed, there are always willing hands around. It’s a great feeling. It hasn’t taken long to feel like a part of the island.
I have been remiss in writing on the blog. Sorry. The trip to Belize was pretty uneventful for Danny and I. The views from the air as we approached Belize were spectacular. We met up with Ariel, Allison, Hannah, and Nicole at the airport in Belize City. Marvin – our local supervisor – was also there. Unfortunately, our three bags were apparently still in Atlanta. UGH! We finally got our luggage the next day after many (useless) calls to Delta Airlines and a call to the local airlines (Tropicair) from our new friend Jorge, who is the guy to know on the island. He used his connections and our luggage finally arrived.
Our condo in Paz Villas is very comfortable and we have been taking full advantage of the pool. We have also spent a lot of time on the beach and Danny has been practicing his snorkeling in the shallow water off the beach in anticipation of snorkeling my the barrier reef.
I have rented a golf cart for the duration for an excellent rate (thanks, again, to my friend Jorge) and I feel like a local tooling around town between the bicyclists, trucks, and other golf carts. The driving here is CRAZY!! I usually end up picking several students – and today a teacher – up on my way to school.
We have has a few days of heavy rain. My classroom is right over the water and has tin roofs. The noise from the rain was deafening. It is not unusual for school to be cancelled at my school due to rain. Many of the students do not show up even if school is not cancelled.
We have the benefit in our classroom of seeing many land and sea creatures. I have already seen a few beautiful birds that I’ve never seen before, and yesterday I watched a large jellyfish “swim” in the water a few feet away.
My kids are a bit wild, but very genuine and sweet. They crave attention and are very generous with their smiles and love.
The people we have met here are also wonderful. Everyone is very open, friendly, and helpful. And you can’t take a bad picture no matter where you are.
My son went trick-or-tricking with the local kids and had a great time. It was wild to be trick-or-treating on the beach in 80 degree weather.
We also went to the festival of “Dias de los Finados” in Central Park. The next festival is Garifuna Settlement Day. We are looking forward to it.
Margaret, Great to hear that you and Danny are settled and doing so well. You’ll have to send pictures of yourselves as well as your school and your condo. You can post them in the ‘News from Belize’ section on the left side of the home page. That would be great if you would do that. We have five students scheduled to go to Belize in the spring and I know they are very interested in reading what all of you are posting on the blog. Wishing you and Danny the best.
Britney, Jessica, and I just finished our first week in Leighton Academy. This school starts at Nursery and goes through year six (age 10-11). These years are broken up into two groups, Key Stage 1 (age 5-7) and Key Stage 2 (age 7-11). This school is a public school. Here, the term “academy” allows the school to have more flexibility with finances according to what the students and/or school needs. There are over 500 students in this school. It is rather small and since earning the Academy title, they have plans to expand. There are two teachers in every room, a lead teacher and an aid.
While we were at the school this week, there were a few different events going on. On Wednesday, November 5th, it was a holiday called Bonfire Day. This holiday is in remembrance of when Guy Fawkes wanted to burn down the King and Parliament but was unsuccessful. There was a massive bonfire in Queen’s Park in the center of Crewe that night. We were able to go and see the bonfire, the rides, food, and then at the end of the night, they had a fantastic display of fireworks. Also on Wednesday the older students were outside participating in a program funded by the government to learn how to properly ride a bike. The first stage is for the students to learn hand signals and practice riding in the school yard. The second stage is for the students to go out onto the road and practice safety. Bicycling is one major form of transportation that is used often here so the government wants to ensure that everyone knows how to ride a bike safely on the road with cars.
On Thursday, the school had a Harvest Assembly. This assembly brought the whole school together to express their gratitude for the food placed on their table. The students sang, donated food, and participated in activities focusing on thanks throughout the assembly. We were very impressed with how all of the students came into the gymnasium silently, and waited for their whole class to be placed into rows to sit and then sat all together at the same time.
This week I was in reception (4 and 5 year olds). There were about 30 students in my class. Some of the students are from Poland and speak little to no English. There is no training for the teachers or special services provided to help these students in the classroom. The students write their names in cursive when they come in the morning. The students have phonics and math everyday which is broken up by ability across the grade level in small group instruction. Phonics is learned by letter sounds, the students do not call letters by their letter names. Every week, the students take two books home to practice reading and there is a dialogue journal that goes home between the teachers and the parent.
I really enjoyed my time in reception this week and getting to know the students. I was able to share a little about the United States with the students. I used Google Earth showed them where Massachusetts and Rhode Island (where I am from) are, the money we use, and our flag. We compared our flag, to their flag, and the Polish flag. They were very interested in hearing about all of the snow that we get! I am looking forward to seeing what next week brings!
Ladies, Sounds like you’ve had a busy week at the Leighton Academy and in Crewe. Great that you have been getting around. I was at Leighton Academy twice this past year, Fall 2013 and again in Spring 2014. I’m looking forward to seeing you Monday, November 17 (I don’t believe you are in school that day) and on Tuesday, November 18. On Monday we will go out to dinner and go to the Duke of Bridgewater. My thought is that we will go over to Nantwich by taxi. On Tuesday I’ll come to the school and see you there. I’m looking forward to seeing the three of you soon.
Hello from Crewe! Janelle, Jessica, and I have been exploring while we haven’t had school. Friday morning we took the train for what seemed like forever to Salisbury to visit Stonehenge. Apparently you are not allowed to touch the stones… but we took lots of pictures and had the most laughs of anyone there! We visited the Salisbury Cathedral and attempted to fit all of the 404 ft tall spire into our pictures. Then we took a train to Bath, a trip that reminded us of riding the T in Boston after a Red Sox/ Celtics/ Bruins game. It was so packed that people filled the aisles and luggage areas, and spaces in between the cars. The city of Bath was very nice; we went on a walking tour, visited the Roman baths, the Fashion Museum, and the Jane Austen Centre. My favorite part was climbing the 212 steps to the top of Bath Abbey. We got to go in the bell tower and behind the clock face and take pictures on the roof! And we ate lunch at a place called The Boston Tea Party! The three of us are excited to be starting at Leighton Academy on Tuesday but in the meantime we have had a good time exploring.
We had a great visit with Stephanie this past Tuesday in Hong Kong. We first went to Stephanie’s school – Jockey Club Primary School which is on the HK Institute of Education campus, and met her principal, Mrs. Shirley Duthie. She was very welcoming. About 15 minutes later Stephanie’s mentor, Elsa Cheung came into the room. Amazingly, even though this was only Stephanie’s second day, it was clear that she was off to a flying start. As Stephanie came into the room, Mrs. Duthie excused herself. Elsa then shared with us a PowerPoint about the Jockey Club Primary School. Very interesting. Then, Elsa took us on a tour of the school – impressive and beautiful. Everyone, Mrs. Duthie, Ms. Cheung, Mr. Gavin …. could not have been more welcoming.
After our visit to JCPS (about 1 1/2 hours) we headed over to the Institute toward Stephanie’s dorm. The walk through campus to her dorm was beautiful. The campus, including the primary school, is built on the side of a hill so the vistas are striking.
Stephanie’s dorm was ‘quaint’ (with a diverse collection of young women) and her single room was comfortable ….. with her own bathroom.
We then went by taxi to Tai Po (a small – actually nothing is small in China – city) and had Chinese (Celeste from the International Office at HKIE’s recommendation) food and Chinese beer. A great dinner with lots of fun conversation.
We all can feel very confident that Stephanie will have a wonderful experience and that she will be well taken care of. Everyone we met at JCPS and at the HKIE were great and could not have not been nicer.
Thanks to the efforts of Alida and Mike Sandy at Study Abroad and to Dr. Wing-Kai To for his efforts in setting up this wonderful educational and cultural experience.
Hi all! The five of us student teachers arrived in San Pedro, Belize on Saturday afternoon. It was a long day of travel. First a flight from Boston to North Carolina, then from there to Miami where I met up with three other of the student teachers. From there we flew into Belize City where I saw some of the most beautiful views of the most turquoise ocean waters I’ve ever seen. After landing, we were greeted by Marvin who lugged us all to the water taxi. The water taxi was a rough ride! Exhausted from the day of travel, I kept falling asleep and waking up mid air from the boat going over waves. After arriving on Ambergris Caye, we met Miriam and eventually moved into our new places. We are staying at Paz Villas, a complex which has a great pool area and palm trees luscious with coconuts. The groundsman cut us down each a coconut to try. We are currently in day 4 of living here in San Pedro. Today was the first day we went to our schools. I am at A.C.E.S., which is just a very quick walk from my apartment. The classroom is definitely different from the US in terms of classroom management and materials available for students. However, I was surprised to see how many visuals were up in the classroom. Possible even too many. The school overall seems great. The staff and administration was incredibly welcoming. Immediately I became nervous about getting observed because the classroom management and resources are just so different from the US. Guess I will make it work 🙂 Today was the first day I felt pretty settled in. I was thankful for the start of a routine and a fun school to work in. Until next time!
Hannah, Ariel, Nicole and Allison,
Great that you are getting settled in Belize. And yes, we were all following your efforts as you have settled into your living quarters and your new schools. I believe that Dr. Marvelle will be there today (if not in Belize already) and I will expect to get a ‘report’ from him. Wishing all four of you the best – have fun and be safe!
(haven’t heard from Margaret and her son since they have arrived in Belize!)
Today was the first day at the school and I have to say that I am so happy to be here. The island is absolutely beautiful and the kids are so adorable. They get attached so quickly, I immediately heard “teacher, teacher” called like 10,000 times today. My school is one of the nicer schools on the island, with students from many different cultures. It is a Private School and I was surprised at how many materials and supplies that my classroom had. They were still very appreciative of my donations. I am teaching Standard 1, which is the equivalent of second grade in the states. My teacher handed over the classroom to us a lot today, it was really cool to be able to start teaching right away and the kids did not seem to have a problem switching over to learning from me. I am also enjoying trying all of the local Belizean food and can’t wait for our adventure in two weeks to Zip Line and Cave Tube. More later and some pictures of my classroom!
We are finally all settled in, Janelle, Brittany, and I. We spent most of the afternoon exploring the area around the University and headed up into the city centre for awhile. We did get caught in the rain, but we all had jackets on so it wasn’t too bad. We were lucky yesterday that it didn’t rain, although it was overcast. Also according to the people at the Student Hub office it’s been unseasonably warm lately. Good news for us! It was really cool to see all the brick buildings everywhere. The other big difference between Crewe and home is (other than the driving on the opposite side of the road, which will take some getting used to) that people walk everywhere. We had a good chat with the people at the train station and are all set to spend the weekend at Stonehenge and exploring Bath. Speaking of school stuff, this is half term for Leighton Academy and the education department so we don’t start class or visiting the school until next week. Can’t wait!
I am coming the week of November 17. Not sure exactly when I’m coming to Crewe – I think on Monday the 17th and again on Thursday the 20th. One night we will all go out to the Duke of Bridgewater pub (yes, that is correct; our own pub!) in Crewe and then go to Nantwich (a beautiful Tudor village not far from Crewe). Very fun. I’m sure you’ll have a great experience in England and the UK and at the Leighton Academy (this will be our third semester at LA!)
Good morning from Belize! Things got off to a little bit of a rough start for us here, but we have been making it work! The weather and the view are both incredible, and I am trying new food even though I am the pickiest eater in America! Today is our first day at the schools, but Allison and I just went in to meet the principal, and we will return later to meet our teachers. The school we are working in has 900 students! Though this island is very small, it has a lot to offer.mwe have already booked same trip to the mainland next Saturday to go cave tubing and ziplining, I am so excited! I will know more about school later when I go into my classroom, but for right now all I know is I will be in an infant 2 room, which is the equivalent to 1st grade back home. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the afternoon, and the next several weeks has to offer!
What an adventure Belize has been already! I can’t say that Belize was what I was expecting, but I will say that I will come home a different person than I was when I came here. It is astounding to me how ungrateful I feel for everyday life at home. Things I have at home I never noticed were even important to me, like water you can drink from the sinks, make life just a little easier. One thing that I will not be able to get used to is the lack of privacy and security many of the people here have. We were given a short tour today of the town of San Pedrito. San Pedrito is one of the poorer areas of the island, but not the poorest. Some of the houses were the size of my bedroom and kitchen in my small apartment at home in Bridgewater. I couldn’t imagine having a whole family live in my apartment in Bridgewater let alone a house half of the size. The houses had barely any doors. I just kept thinking in my mind how sad it is that they can’t even lock their homes to keep their belongings safe.
I was able to go to the school I was originally placed at. It is called Brighter Tomorrow Preschool. Nicole and I walked into the preschool and the kids were sitting so quietly. They were so polite. One of the little boys asked me to come look at his crayons. He had about seven broken crayons. I brought thirty packs of crayons for donations and I wish I brought more so that I could’ve given them to these children too. While we were driving around, the woman we were with pointed out to us the children that were not in school because they couldn’t afford to go. One of the little girls was looking out the door when we drove by. She had to have been about six years old. She looked sad. My heart broke into so many pieces and all I wanted to do was go in her home and start teaching her something, even if it was just how to write her name.
I think today has just opened my eyes to how good I have it in America. I have found myself appreciating the simplicities of my life in America. I know that I will grow from this experience and change into a person I know I can be proud of.
Later in the day, we had lunch at our newfound favorite spot. It is a small restaurant right on the water with wifi!!! After lunch we had the opportunity to see the place where dentists come from America to take care of the people here. I couldn’t believe the conditions in which they were worked on. It was in a large outdoor meeting place. There were people everywhere waiting in line to be seen. In America, going to the dentist is a burden to most and when an appointment runs fifteen minutes late it is the end of the world to some people with busy lifestyles. The people were waiting there all day and would leave after being treated with huge smiles on their faces. This was a huge reality check for me. I couldn’t believe the lack of privacy the people here lack. In America we are treated in small rooms that are separated. Here, there are four to six people being treated in the middle of a large room outside at once in front of everyone else.
Nothing beats the weather and the astounding views of the ocean. The sunsets are breathtaking and the sand is incredibly soft. I could type for hours about all of the differences between America and here, but my post would never end. I will be sure to include them in the next eight weeks while I am here.
Jessica, Brittany, and I have made it to England! We arrived on campus this morning. Looking out the window on the taxi ride from the airport was interesting. Everyone drives on the opposite side of the road and the driver is on the right. Although we knew this, I have never witnessed it. Round-abouts were very funny to experience! We met Julie and she was wonderful! She showed us around and made sure that we were settled in. This week the schools are on break so we are hoping to do a little traveling! Good wishes everyone!
Janelle, this would be a great time (this week)
to get accumulated to England. You have to go to Nantwich which is a beautiful Tudor town just next to Crewe. You need to have a pint at the Black Lion!
Kelly, great to here that you have settled in so nicely into Cumbaya.
Great posts by Chip in Ecuador. Read them at International Student Teaching (left column of page).
We all have such great things about Belize, but we don’t know how to post under International Student teaching! Is it okay to post here?
Yes, the students that are studying abroad are posting here. There will be specific sections of each country added to the website soon, where you will be able to post your comments for Belize in particular!
Excellent, yes let’s have sites for England, Belize, Ecuador, Ireland (although we won’t have anyone there until Fall 2015) and Hong Kong.
Nicole – I logged in to the edublog site as a user and then created my posts, and assigned them the category. If you can log in, you should be able to add a post and assign it as you want.
Last night Lisa and I
arrived into Hong Kong (715pm)(yes, long flight – 15 hours from Newark). Easy and quick going through passport control and getting our luggage. Took taxi to hotel and got organized. Went out at 1030 to Wan Chai neighborhood. Very fun! Heard (whatsapp) from Steph. No plans today, Sunday, but sure we will be out exploring. Hopefully catch up with Steph.
I’ve taken a look at some one of the comments posted, especially those from the teachers over in England. And, I must say, I’m so extremely excited to go in the spring! Good luck to those going over in a couple weeks! I can’t wait to hear all about it. It’ll allow me to get some tips on how to prepare myself.
I can not believe that in a week from today I will be traveling with Brittney and Jessica to England! I have been waiting for this study abroad experience since freshman year and it is finally here! These past 8 weeks in the states has flown by and I will miss my students here, but I am eager to meet the students that I will have in England! I am most excited about learning the culture and traveling around England. Wishing everyone safe travels and an exciting experience!
Only 9 more days until we leave for Belize. WOW!! Trying to get all the paperwork finished for here and pack at the same time. Fortunately, I have everything all set at my son’s school. The teachers have been great. I’ve already been in contact with the school down there – Holy Cross Anglican School – and I know I’m teaching 6th grade. My son will also be at that school in 7th grade. We are so excited!! And I am sooooo stressed!!!
I suggest that you download the WhatsApp application for your smart phone. You need to download here in the US and then notify everyone (that you care about) to download the app onto their phone. You can text for free via wifi.
Viber is another app that works great. You can make calls and text with viber.
Oh my goodness, where has the time gone?! I can’t believe that I will be in Crewe in less than two weeks! I can’t wait. I should really think about starting to pack though. I did go out and get a converter and an adapter because the outlets are different there.
My placement here in the States has been an absolute joy working with a first grade classroom. I hope England will be as much fun!
For those of you coming to Belize this fall, I am looking for volunteers for a disability workshop in November. Also for the spring, I will need help with another BIG project in April. These are some great opportunities to get involved in the community here and will look great on your resume!
If you’re interesting in helping or have any questions about Belize, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!!
I will be leaving for Belize in just ten short days. I would love to help you out with the disability workshop in November.
Sarah… When is the workshop? Marvin and I will be on the island the first week.
It will be the second week on November. I believe it will be in the evening on Thursday the 13th, I am just waiting for confirmation from the hotel donating their conference room. I would love to catch up with you and Marvin when you’re visiting though! I’m sure you guys will be busy with observations and visits to schools but if you have time some afternoon we could meet for dinner!
Sarah can you tell us more about the workshop?
It will be at night so that parents, teachers or community members can attend. There will be a brief overview of disabilities, some exercises so that everyone can experience somewhat what it is like to live with certain disabilities, tips for parents and teachers on how to work with special needs students and a question and answer portion.
I will be in Belize this Fall and would also love to help out at your workshop in November. I may be emailing you, as I have a lot of questions.
Really great that you are in Belize … Hopefully I will be down in the spring. I’m on sabbatical in the spring so I may stay for more than a few days (Ha! If you know what I mean – stay for more than a few days to enjoy beautiful Belize and Ambergris Caye). It would be great to see you and to see Marvin.
Maybe you should take your sabbatical here… then you could really enjoy all that Belize has to offer!!
Hi Sarah, I will also be in Belize in just about a week! I am so excited. I can’t believe it is finally here, I feel like I have been saying I can’t wait forever. I would absolutely love to help out in November, see you soon!
Hi Sarah ! I would be more than happy to help you with anything I can while I am in Belize ! I look forward to meeting you! Thank you for opening some opportunities to us to get involved. It is comforting to know you will be there!
Hello and Welcome,
I am writing because we are all going out in about 4 weeks to student teach abroad. I know that you (those going away this October) are busy with your first student teaching placement and probably EXTREMELY busy …. But at the same time – thinking about going away (it’ll be here before you know it).
This will be our largest number of student teachers going abroad …. 16 of you!
One comment that I find very exciting is that students who are planning on student teaching in a year or so are reading the blog to hear what others are experiencing abroad. So, get blogging! Tell us about your preparations and planning as you prepare to go away …. This, at least for me, will be your student teaching journal while you are abroad.
I am a graduate student at BSU studying special education. I studied mathematics and special education as an undergrad at BSU but sadly I only graduated with a bachelor’s in math. However I got right into grad school and I am working on my masters!
I am currently student teaching at the Williams Intermediate School. I am in a resource room with 4th, 5th, and 6th graders! It is my 3rd week. I have taken over Geography and this week I will take over Science as well. Our goal is that I will gradually take on more subjects until the last 3 weeks I take over entirely, in order to complete my 100 hours of take over time! I feel like although I have completed almost all of these assignments before, it will be tricky to complete all of them before October 23rd! But I’m sure I can figure it out.
For my second setting I will be going to Ireland soon to teach in Dublin! I am soo excited! Although I have traveled a lot, by myself and with others, I have NEVER been out of the country! I feel somewhat prepared I have my passport and a mental list of necessities to pack. But I also feel somewhat unprepared because I do not know which school I am teaching at.
I will keep you all posted!
Hello from Belize,
The two week break was a lot of fun. The island was packed with main landers for Easter, which gave the island a totally different feel. I was able to go snorkeling, zip lining and cave tubing. Zip lining was the scariest but my absolute favorite.
Today I taught for the entire day. The kids seemed to really enjoy it. I was worried though as the health lesson was about private parts. I had to teach six to seven year olds the names of the private parts and why they are private. I was worried about this because this would not go in the states for this young of an age group regardless of it being an actual standard.
I have less than a week left. I will miss my kids but I am excited to go home and GRADUATE !!!!
I’m sure your lesson went well. Yes, not a lesson we might teach in the States (ha! To any age group!). Chris – you are going to be an excellent teacher!
Hello again from the UK!
We have been having some beautiful weather here and were able to experience the wonders of Edinburgh, Scotland this weekend! I have a good family friend who lives there and Becca and I visited her for one night. She showed us her favorite spots and we really enjoyed ourselves. We climbed to the top of Arthur’s Seat, which is a cliff that takes about an hour to climb. It was definitely unexpectedly difficult, but the views from the top were absolutely worth it! Since this was our last travelling weekend, we wanted to see some of the natural beauty that Great Britain has to offer, and we definitely found it!
Easter break provided the most unforgettable 16 days of my life. My boyfriend arrived on the Friday that it began. We explored Liverpool, Birmingham (to go to the Cadbury Chocolate Factory!), Stoke-on-Trent (for the monkey forest!) and then we were off to Wales. Wales provided some spectacular natural views atop the Great Orme, which also happened to be a very cold 35 degrees at the summit on the day we went. Regardless of the weather, it was amazing.
Next, we took of to Paris where we stayed next to the Eiffel Tower for two amazing days. The experience of another language and culture was great to experience, but also made me thankful that I chose to study abroad in an English-speaking country. Language barriers are challenging, and I honestly believe that this small visit has changed my point of view on working with ELL students in the future.
After Paris we left for London, where we met up with my parents for 3 days. Before meeting my parents, my boyfriend and I met up with a student from MMU that we met this semester who was also passing through London. It made me realize that many of the international friends I have made here will be ones I will keep in touch with for a long time. We watched the changing of the guards, went to the Westminster Abbey, and explored as much of the big city as we could.
My parents stayed in Crewe with me for 4 days once we arrived back from London. I showed them my favorite restaurants and we went to the Peak District, Wales, and Chester (my favorite little city)
As if those 14 days were not crazy enough, I finished off my Easter Holiday with an impromptu trip to Dublin with Becca. We did not plan too well so we didn’t fit in everything we wanted to, but we saw how Easter was celebrated in a different culture so it was nice. They have a mixture of state and church in the UK, which is very different from the United States.
School has been wonderful, I seem to have caught my first cold from the children which is unfortunate, but with only 4 days left in the UK I plan on making the most of them!
We will have some time with Dr. Macmillan this week, and it will be wonderful to show him everything we have been doing in Leighton Academy.
I have already begun to reflect on my time here, and I haven’t even left yet! I already know I will miss it here more than I can imagine, but this has been the most amazing experience of my life. Although I will arrive back home with a very small amount of money (oops!) it was worth every penny! Time to place these great 2 months on the top of my resume and look for a teaching job, can’t wait!
Until next time,
Just arrived in Manchester this morning. Been exploring the city this afternoon. Good to hear that Kayla is not teaching tomorrow until 1045 which will give me a few extra minutes tomorrow morning.
Very much looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow at the Leighton Academy.
Our 2 week break is finished and I enjoyed every second of it. Belize is such a beautiful place and has a lot to offer. I went snorkeling and after 30 minutes of struggling with my life vest and snorkeling equipment, I was able to float and see some interesting sea life. I was able to see a turtle, nurse shark, stingray; a lot of beautiful fish and of course the coral reef. During the break, I also went zip lining and cave tubing. This experience was CRAZY. I still cannot believe that I did the zip lining. I have to say that this experience is not only good for growth in teaching, but it is also great for personal growth. I have stepped outside of comfort zone a few times while being here.
The first week back from vacation is going well. Monday started with a ceremony. All of the students and teachers gathered outside for about 30 minutes. The students sung the national anthem and the principal informed everyone of important information. This was great to have on the first Monday back from vacation because it was a nice way to remind students what the expectations are.
Everyday, I bring a book into the classroom to read aloud. Today, I brought in my Gingerbread Man characters that I made as a felt board presentation in the block. The students enjoyed this storytelling because they were familiar with the story. A few weeks ago, I brought in the actual book to read to the class. The idea was good, but the flow of the story was a bit difficult. Since I do not have a felt board here, I thought that taping the characters on the white board would be a good option. However, as the wind continuously blew, my characters continuously fell down. After a few times of having this occur, I had a few students assist me and hold the characters. The students seemed to enjoy this because they could be actively engaged in the story. The children really enjoy being read to. Every time I finish reading a book, students always ask me to re-read the same book. Each day I leave the book that I bring in, in the classroom library. I love to see the children grab the books that I read to read at their desks.
This week in math, the students were introduced to time. We spent one day discussing the positions of the numbers on the clock. The next day we discussed the meaning of the small and big hands. We also spoke about time to the exact hour. I assigned that the children make a clock for homework that same day and practice time to the hour at home. The following day, the children were able to show particular times that were asked on their clocks in class. It amazes me how children absorb information in such little time. Although the curriculum includes challenging content for students their ages, some of them are able to grasp, understand and retain it.
Great to hear of your experiences in the great outdoors of Belize. Yes, much to see and explore. Good to hear that your teaching is going well. Great to hear that you are sharing pieces of yourself with your students. I know you have much to share with them.
Hello from beautiful Belize,
I cannot believe how quickly vacation went by. Sarah came to visit the week before vacation and showed us her favorite places to go. My boyfriend came to visit the first week of vacation and then my family came for the Easter. So vacation was full of visitors. We went snorkeling with Sarah’s friends and then I went again with my dad. We went to the same two places, Hol Chan and Shark-ray ally both times but saw completely different things. When dad and I went snorkeling we got to see an eagle-ray at Hol Chan, which they said was rare. It was HUGE! When you pull up to shark-ray ally the sharks and rays instantly surround your boat because they know they are about to get food. The guides threw bait in the water and told us to jump in fast. After they fed the sharks and rays and we were all in the water, they came in the water. Our guide held bait in his hand and picked up a shark and a ray for us to touch. It was pretty cool.
Later in the week we went cave tubing and ziplining on the mainland. We zip lined through the rainforest, took a nature walk and then floated down the river and through the caves in tubes. Pablo was a great guide and we had a blast! My mom and Victoria were worried about ziplining with the heights, but they both completed all 6 of the lines. Mom got stuck on the third line, it was quite comical. My sister even took a video. At various points during the cave tubing each of us got stranded in an area with low water. One of the times I got stranded I ended up floating under some low hanging branches and spent the next 5 minutes making sure there were no salamanders in my hair… There weren’t any thankfully. Chris even fell out of his tube at the end. Needless to say there are lots of fun stories and Victoria has lots of pictures from that day.
We never made it to the zoo, but we are still hopeful to figure out a way and a time to go there. There is so much to do in Belize and we only have 15 days left. That’s crazy! I can’t believe that’s all we have left here.
Monday we started back to school. The four year olds were excited to be back and talk about what they did for holiday. The three year olds on the other hand had no interest in being at school, they just wanted to play. Tuesday was much better. Our topic this week is transportation and the letters T and V. I was very impressed that my student who moved to San Pedro from a small Mayan community and his parents do not speak a word of English, was the first to come up with ways to get places and the name and sound of the letter T. He has made great progress from when I first came here when he would simply smile and nod at anything I said.
The weather has been great here but the last three days we have had very high tides and the street between our apartments and the bridge has become a river in the mornings. Not the greatest way to start your day, getting your shoes wet or walking barefoot.
Two weeks is apparently a very long vacation because our cab driver forgot about us 🙁 but thankfully there are always plenty of other cabs looking for passengers. The lady who cooks my food also forgot about me on Monday. So Mr. Javier picked me up food on his way home for lunch. Rice and beans and chicken. A typical Belizean meal. Tuesday and Wednesday our cab driver still forgot us but we were prepared this time, we think that he does not realize we’ve started back to school. The lady who makes my lunch didn’t forget me this time. I got rice and beans and chicken and coleslaw on Tuesday and rice, pasta coleslaw and a mixed vegetable thing in Wednesday. She is a great cook!
San Pedro is a beautiful island and there is so much more we have yet to see. With only 15 days left to explore I think I’ll have to come back to see it all.
Yes, you’ll have to return – as Sarah did – to Belize!
For me, the past week was Shakespeare-centric! Not only did I write an article about him for my other blog, but because it was the anniversary of his birth and his death, I ended up teaching my first whole class lesson on him too. It went really well, and some of the kids actually thanked me after the lesson. It was really cute!
Then this weekend I went to Stratford upon Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace, for a huge celebration. There were thousands of people there. It was unreal.
A cool thing that happened was that I ended up sitting next to a woman from China on the bus and we chatted the whole way there. We ended up spending the whole day together which was really nice. On the bus coming home, she made a remark about the sunset. It was pretty, but not a particularly stunning one. I said something to that effect, and she remarked at how lucky I am to be able to see the sunset every day, because in China, there is too much polution. This was one of the most memorable exchanges I’ve had here. I know I’m priveledged and lucky that I got to come on this trip, but I never even stop to think how lucky I am to get beautiful sunsets every day.
Kayla- very nicely written. Nice that you- and we all should – count our blessings every day.
Hey there from England!
We just started back into our routine of student teaching. After a great two week break of exploring, it’s nice getting back into a routine! I was able to go to places I never imagined I would see in my life. I was able to explore London (which I adored) and got to see Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the eye along with a lot more. I was there with Tess and her family. We decided to go on a London sightseeing tour bus (very touristy) but it was amazing! We got to see the changing of the guards and also the London marathon.
After London, I took a day to relax and lay low for a little and then packed up for Belgium. A friend that we met in our international hall lives there and invited me to stay for a few days. We walked around and he pointed out different buildings and sculptures. I was able to see inside the Saint Michael and Saint Gudula’s cathedral which was gorgeous. Before I left, I skyped with my family and my father mentioned a boy peeing in a fountain so I mentioned that to my friend Christophe so he showed me what my dad was talking about. The little boy statue is called Manneken Pis. He told me the story is based on a little boy going to pee and ended up urinating on a bomb which was lit and because he peed on it, the bomb was disabled, saving his city. I thought that was interesting, however there are a lot of different tales told with this statue. Another structure I got to see was Atomium which is a very tall structure of an atom symbolizing an iron crystal enlarged 165 billion times. I was told it is a huge tourist attraction and when we went, I noticed a lot of people taking pictures in front of the structure holding their hands up almost like the leaning tower of pisa pictures that are so common. I stayed in Belgium for three days and came back to Crewe just to get on a night flight to Ireland!
Tess and I traveled over to Dublin and stayed for the weekend, exploring the city I’ve always wanted to visit. We did a sightseeing bus tour around the city, getting to see gorgeous cathedrals like St. Patrick’s and learned about a psychiatric hospital which sparked my interest. We went out for dinner at local pubs and had some delicious foods! We went our last weekend which was also Easter weekend so on sunday, our plans to Cliffs of Moher did not happen and we ended up having to stay in Dublin. Staying positive, we decided to watch the Easter parade which was completely different and did not expect it. Since the country blends church and state, it consisted of a military march and Easter prayers. It was a culture shock to see how our Easter parades completely differ from Ireland’s. It was nice to see something different. Expect the unexpected!
Overall, the traveling was both exhausting and amazing! I’m so glad I took the opportunity to visit other countries and take in some of their cultures. As for your question Dr. MacMillian, I enjoyed Liverpool a little more than Manchester. It was a nice, small city and easy to get around. However, I really enjoyed the football museum and the cathedrals that were in Manchester. They are very close when it comes to my favorite so it’s hard to pick!
Becca – great to hear of your travels . Fun to hear of your experiences in Brussels!
Today is the last day of holiday, before school starts back up again tomorrow. I have had the best holiday. I went to Ireland for 5 days. I went to Galway, Limerick, and Dublin. When I was in Dublin, I attended Ireland Comic Con which was very cool. Dublin is by far one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen. I just really enjoyed Ireland in general.
After Ireland, I took a few days to lay low and recover (I was basically sight seeing the entire time I was awake when I was in Ireland. It was exhausting!) and then this weekend I went to Cardiff, Wales, Robin Hood’s Bay, and Scarborough.
When I was in Cardiff, I spent most of my time in the Doctor Who Experience, which was a dream come true. I did get to wander the city a bit. It was really crazy. I think because it was a holiday weekend, everyone was out partying. I’m still not used to people being able to have alcohol in public, and drunk men on trains scare me a bit. I traveled to Cardiff and back by myself, so I just worry that the drunk people are going to do stupid things.
The trip to Robin Hood’s Bay and Scarborough were arranged by the International Society MMU is part of. It was a wonderful little day trip. Robin Hood’s Bay is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I also love the literary references to Robin Hood all over the town. I feel like I had built Scarborough up in my mind because of my love for the song Scarborough Fair, and I was a little disappointed at the town itself. It was a little run down. However, the Scarborough Castle was gorgeous. I’m still in awe that I was able to touch something built by Romans.
Today I set up a tumblr account where I uploaded most of my pictures. I did this because my students from my last setting wanted to see them, but I don’t want students to have access to my facebook. Here’s a link, if you’re interested: http://travelsintheuk.tumblr.com/
Wow! Great pictures on your Tumblr site!
Hello from Belize,
We have just completed our 4th week of student teaching. Crazy to think we only have 2 weeks left after the break! Today we went snorkeling, we got to swim with stingrays, sharks, turtles and all sorts of other fish. It was so cool. It was my first time snorkeling so it took a little getting used to but it was so much fun.
Tomorrow we are heading to the Belize zoo, which should be fun. I cannot wait to see what the next two weeks brings us. I’m having a blast, not sure if I’m ready for it to be over in a month. 🙂
This week has been both fun and rough. Its been rough because there was a miscommunication with the place we are staying with the utility payment that they were supposed to take care of and how we are technically only allowed to be in the country for a month and now we need to get an extension which is a fee.
It has been fun and exciting because the children have been so excited for Easter. We have had Easter themed arts and crafts and also had an Easter egg hunt before we left for break. What I thought that was interesting was that the PUBLIC school had a reenactment of the stations of the cross. The would have never happened back in the states at a public school.
The students are also excited for the two week break. I can’t lie, I am kind of excited for the break as well. Today I went snorkeling and saw sharks (eeeeek!) sting rays and fish. Can’t wait to see where these next two weeks take me.
Yes, very sorry to hear about the miscommunication. Not sure how something as important as that can be miscommunicated? Good to hear that teaching is going well. I wish I had seen Sarah to give her magnets to give to (a set) each of you. You going to stay on the island during your break? Lots of great places to explore!
Greetings from Limerick. I am just starting my third week abroad and so far I have been to London, Liverpool, Galway, Limerick, and tomorrow I leave for Dublin where I will be attending Ireland Comic Con. I have loved every city I’ve visited.
Leighton Academy has worked out really well for me. I got very lucky that there is exactly one grade that meets the certification I’m going for (Year 6 or 5th grade) and I get along really well with the teachers and am so entertained by the students. I find it shocking and exhausting how much work the teachers here do. They grade every single piece of paper the students touch. This does mean they have excellent records of student achievement, but it takes so much of their time. I’ve found the behavior of the students here to be less negative than the students I work with in the U.S. They just seem more like they don’t want to disappoint their teachers.
In one way, Leighton has not been a good fit for me, and that is with my Sped major. Again, I got very lucky in that there are only two students at the school with more severe special needs, and only one of them fits the age group my degree will allow me to teach. I have been able to talk to the principal and the school’s special education coordinator, and they have been so helpful in explaining to me how SEN, special educational needs, works in the U.K. In Leighton, they just recently transitioned from partial to complete integration. The principal does not like the system. He preferred it how I have seen it done in the States, in a least restrictive environment sense. For instance, a student who is at par with his typical peers in math would be in a small group setting for classes he struggles with, but with the typical peers for math.
As I am working with the older students, I get to hear questions the little ones would never ask such as, “does every American carry a gun everywhere?” I love that I’m able to teach them about my culture and find out about theirs. A situation I have found more than a little entertaining is that I asked a student what to do when someone sneezes, and she told me they say “bless you” like we do. However, no one actually does it, even though they know it’s something they should do.
I write for a blog professionally, and so far I’ve written two articles regarding my experience on this trip. Here are links to them:
Great to hear from you. Great that you are enjoying your time at Leighton. Great that you have sent me your work ….
I’m glad you are traveling. Such a great opportunity to have two weeks to travel (just have to have the money). Good that you are in Ireland and about the area. Keep blogging!
I’ll have to check out your ‘daily geekette’ blog.
Kayla, Great to see you are a member of the editorial staff (books!) of the Daily Geekette. Very interesting. Looks like fun! I’m going to share with others!
So I have now been in England for almost 4 weeks and it is flying! I have been enjoying every second of this experience and never want to leave! We have been to a few places but now that the school is on vacation, it’s time to see more sights. So far, I have traveled to Liverpool, Chester, Manchester, and Birmingham and each one had great experiences. In Chester, we walked along the wall and saw a beautiful cathedral and had a drink at a nice cozy pub. Over in Liverpool, we did some window shopping and went into an art gallery (which was free as are most museums which was a shock to me) when we went for a second time, we decided to visit the maritime museum which had the untold story of the titanic which was amazing to see. In Manchester, we decided to ride on the Ferris wheel which gave me a little anxiety but it was an amazing sight to see along with visiting the football (soccer) museum and exploring the inside of a cathedral (which was gorgeous). In Birmingham, we went to Cadbury World which was almost like the Hershey factory tour only it was about Cadbury eggs and how they are made. Looking inside the factory and watching how the chocolate was made was interesting (and of course I had to buy some!). So far the places I have visited are beautiful and I absolutely love it.
Leighton Academy is the primary school that I am student teaching in and it has been a wonderful experience so far. The teachers and staff are welcoming and very nice. When and if I ask a question to someone, everyone in the room will chime in and give loads of information which was great. I have been placed in the reception class (which in the U.S. is preschool) and I adore the children. My teacher is very helpful and talks to me step by step of what she is doing with the students and why it is being done. The students are very well advanced for their age (they are already writing small sentences and placing “full stops” at the end: what we call periods). I did a little presentation about myself to the students so they could learn a little more about me which they found fascinating however, they could not grasp that I did not live in England which was adorable. I also let them know that they would help me become a better teacher by helping me with what they were learning. They thought this was an outstanding project for them to do and were excited to help any way they could!
So far the experience has been great and I can’t wait to adventure off these next two weeks and see a little more (including London, Ireland, and possibly Belgium!).
Sounds like you are having a good time. Traveling with Tess? I had dinner last night with Julie and she came to America with a great report of your work. (My plan is to come to see you ladies, Thursday, May 8).
How do you compare Liverpool with Manchester? Which city have you liked better? I like Manchester a lot better but folks who are Liverpoolians LOVE Liverpool ….
I cannot Belize that the weeks are flying by so quickly. As much I want to graduate, I really want to stay in Belize. This past week has been fun. I went for a dip in the water on Sunday. It was so nice to see all the families out and enjoying the beautiful weather. This week of school went well. I taught many lessons throughout the week and even covered another class for a teacher. I am learning how to be creative and think outside of the box in regards to my lesson planning. At times, it seems difficult to plan because there are so many things that I want to do with the children but do not have access to.
I started read alouds this week. Each day I bring a book in to read to the children. They absolutely love story time. Every time I read a book, they ask me to read another. Initially, when the students finish their work, the teacher would allow them to color. I changed this method and told them that they can grab a book from the classroom library and read quietly at their desks. Even though some may have difficulties with reading, I want them to have that exposure to text and illustrations. I am glad to hear the children asking me if they can grab a storybook when they are finished with their work, although there are a few who still ask to color. On a side note, afterschool one day, I read a Spongebob book that was written in Spanish to two students. Seeing how they did not walk away and seemed to be engaged, I do not think I did that bad. At the conclusion of the book, I asked the students if I did well. One of the students asked me to keep reading and the other just smiled. I think those were both good signs. The classroom teacher told me that she was listening from afar and thought I did pretty well. I guess three years of Spanish, with one being Honors, in high school did some good.
I am still getting my feet wet with the fun things to do in San Pedro. There is so much that I cannot wrap my head around it. Julie, Chris and I are looking into some fun excursions. Easter break is coming up soon and we plan to go zip lining, cave tubing, to the zoo and possibly snorkeling. Although I am afraid of most of the excursions that I listed, I would not want to miss the opportunity. My plan was to come to Belize to experience the school systems, culture, life and Belize itself and I am glad that I am sticking to my plan!
I think you have a great plan to enjoy and experience Belize and San Pedro.
As I read your story that you read in Spanish I was waiting for you to tell me that they did not understand Spanish – only English and Creole. Great to hear that they not only understood the story but enjoyed the story. Good for you.
This week has been lots of fun. I really feel like the children are treating my like their second teacher. The teacher and I are getting along fabulously. I think we are both learning a lot from each other. I feel like we collaborate nicely an she is always having me try new local foods like an ideal which is basically a frozen juice is a little plastic Baggie. I am excited for next week as it is the week before vacation and all the activities are Easter themed. For PE, or physical education, we are doing an Easter egg hunt and for art we are making Easter baskets. Can’t wait for the week ahead 🙂
Chris, Good to hear from you. Yes, I agree that you and your teacher, Teacher Marabell (is that correct), make a very good team. Pretty similar teaching styles. And … I think your teacher is pretty skilled.
Are you getting in shape with all the walking?Keep up the good work – in school and out of school!
Hi from Belize,
This week I taught the 3 year olds. There are only 8 students but they have A LOT of energy. Definitely different than the first grade class I was teaching back home. The kids (both 3 and 4) are in love with the iPad. I was very hesitant to use it in class at first, considering the amount of times I have almost lost it through the cracks of the deck and some of the students tend to push and hit to get their way. However on Tuesday I was at a loss as to how to keep the 3 year olds’ attention while teaching about pets without access to visuals. So I got pictures online and showed them to the kids. I have never seen them so attentive, even if it was only for two minutes. On Tuesday night I downloaded some animal sound apps and a learning opposites app and have utilized these apps for games if the class is behaving. For the most part it seems to work.
One thing I can say I have taken away from my experience teaching here is an appreciation for the common core. My preschoolers are expected to know so much before they go to infant 1 and 2, where Chris and Victoria are teaching and their kids are working on fractions and division without the proper background knowledge. No wonder many students struggle and don’t always advance to the next grade in a year.
Over the weekend Chris, Victoria and I went exploring again. I remembered sunscreen this time so no new sunburns to speak off. The beaches are gorgeous here and while it is very hot, if you are walking on the beach there is always a nice breeze. We will probably revisit some of the places we’ve explored the last two weekends like Ramon’s village where there is a gorgeous beach and pool that we can use provided we buy something
Next weekend starts break and we hope to do some excursions. Mr. Javier is looking into getting us deals because he used to be a tour guide. He told me about a combo package where we can go snorkeling, fishing and have a beach cookout for only $75 usd. Which is a nice deal considering that snorkeling alone, without the fishing or cookout is $50-$60 usd. I don’t really fish but the beach cookout sounds great so I’m hoping to do that. He is also looking into cave tubing and zip lining for us. We have some visitors coming in the next few weeks so these will be fun things to do with them.
Hola from San Pedro, Belize. Today was the end of my second school week. I am fitting in well! The first day in the classroom, I taught a lesson. This was possible because I felt well prepared from my placement in Massachusetts. I have taught lessons throughout each day. One day the classroom teacher was absent from school. Another teacher in the same grade asked me if I would feel comfortable teaching the class. The other option was for the classroom to be divided amongst the other teachers. I thought this was a great opportunity to teach the class independently and I chose to. The day was ok. I was able to use the teacher’s lesson plan for the day, causing the day to flow. The school that I am at is very family orientated. Families are present at multiple times of the day, the beginning, break, lunch and dismissal. The families are also comfortable with me because many of them ask me how their child is doing in the class.
I am even brushing up on my Spanish also. I informed this student that he going to be my Spanish teacher. Each day, we speak in Spanish to each other. It is funny to see his facial expressions when I say the few phrases that I do know. Sometimes he smiles, and other times he looks confused. When I get the confused look, I know I made a mistake.
Aside from the academic portions, San Pedro is a beautiful place. The people are very friendly. This is only the beginning, and I feel as though I will love my stay here!
Great to hear from you. Great to see that all of you are blogging!
I think it is great that you are splitting up your class into groups. Excellent way to differentiate instruction given such a heterogeneous group of students.
Hi all! Blogging from beautiful Belize. We’ve been here for just over a week. Things here are very different.
Our cab driver, Lima, is very nice and takes us to San Pedro RC where Chris and Victoria are placed every morning for $2 Belize ($1 us). From there Mr. Javier, my teacher’s husband picks me up in their golf cart after he drops their son off. My teacher and her family are wonderful people and the best resources we have here on the island. Mrs. Ariani takes every opportunity to go out of her way to help us from driving us back to the bridge every day so we don’t have to make the 20 minute walk after school to buying us random things to try. Today she bought us apple bananas on our way home from school. She also arranged for the mother of one of my students to cook me lunch every day for $35 Belize a week ($17.50 us) and told Chris and Victoria about a deli down the street from RC where she knows the owner and knows he will give them good food and not take advantage of the fact that they’re Americans.
The schools in Belize are very religious. We say a prayer and sing child-friendly religious songs every morning. Play is emphasized a lot at Brighter Tomorrow. The students are given a half hour to play with whatever they want. Then we have circle time (where we say the prayer and sing songs) for 20 minutes. The next 15 minutes are devoted to a fun activity like plying simon says or head shoulders knees and toes. Snack is the next half hour. The school provides snack for the kids. There’s another lesson after snack and then the end of the day is free choice again. That schedule repeats in the afternoon for the 3 year olds.
It is child stimulation month in Belize so the preschools take advantage of this time and take the students on field trips and have local fire and police officers come to visit. My first day was cultural day. The students dressed up as Mestizos, Mayans, East Indians, Garifuna and Creoles. These are the 5 cultures that make up the people of San Pedro. They each brought in a sample of food as well.
My second day we went it the San Pedro airport. The students were much better behaved than I had expected. The students were very excited about the planes. We even got to go inside a plane that had landed. The next day a traffic officer (different than a police officer who came in February by accident) came in to tell the students about his job. We had the firefighters visit yesterday. So today was my first actual normal day. Thursday we are going to the library and Friday is the preschool parade where we meet up with the other 5 preschools in San Pedro.
My students know more than I expected them to but they are still behind where students their age in the US are. The students who go to Brighter Tomorrow are more likely to be on track in the future because mrs. Ariani prepares them to succeed. The schools in Belize do not slow down for the struggling students but they also do not pass students on because of their age like our schools often do in the US.
I am definitely learning a lot about Belize every day!
Great to see you and Chris and Victoria this past week. You all are doing very well. Go to ‘categories’ on the left side of this page to see some of my posts with photos. Very fun.
Hello everyone. I have been in Belize for a little bit more than a week. I am currently staying on the north side of the island, which has its pros and cons. It nice because it’s quite and relaxing, but we are about a 15 minute walk from town. However it’s wonderful to walk on the beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters. The exchange rate is $1 US to $2 Belize, which makes somethings look more expensive but it’s really reasonably priced and filling. I got friend chicken and rice for only $4 and it was delicious and a lot of food.
As for the teaching it is very different. Most of the formal assessment pieces must be copied by the students. For example, the teacher needs to write circle the correct answer and write all the possible answers. The student then needs to copy it down in a notebook and then circle the write answer.
I have been here in Crewe for just over 1 week now and this is such a beautiful place. It was nice to go from snow and ice to sun (sometimes rain) and green. Our dorms are single rooms, therefore I try to spend the least amount of time there as possible. We have made many friends in the dorms and spend lots of time in the common rooms where all the students from our hall hang out. All the students in our hall are international students, so we are lucky to have the opportunity to meet people from all over Europe!
The first three days at Leighton Academy were a huge culture shock. The classroom management aspect of primary school is a major part of American teaching, while it is less important in the UK. However, the students here are far more advanced than American students in terms of intelligence. The year 1 students (equivalent to Kindergarten in the U.S.) are learning things that our second graders would be learning in America. It is both confusing and miraculous to see how a lack of classroom management has seemingly created students who are learning multiplication and division at the age of 6 and 7 years old.
The students in the school are all learning German and will use phrases such as Good Morning and Hello in German throughout the day.
It is interesting to see phonics lessons, as the method of teaching is different than in the states. When spelling a word out, they say the sound of each letter and not the name of that letter. We also do this in the states, but we accompany the sounds with the letter names as well. This was one major difference I noticed in the school.
This past weekend, we took a day trip to Liverpool with some of the new friends we made in the dorms. It was a great city and we were able to see a museum (which is free in the U.K) and go see some historic places where the Beatles originated.
Overall, the first week was amazing and I am excited to see how it will get even better over the next 7 weeks 🙂
Great to hear from you Tess. I do believe the students are learning German because Volkswagen
owns Bentley. You can almost see the factory from Leighton Academy.
Hi Tess, I hope you’re having an amazing time in Crewe. I loved my time there. I was wondering, if I send you an email if you would be willing to pass it on to some of my friends at Leighton? If you could send me your email I would love it!!!! Please and thank you! All of the kids are so wonderful over there and I would love for you to get to know some of them (even if they’re a bit older than you will be working with!!!)
Here in Dublin! I arrived on St. Patrick’s Day which was an unreal experience. Along with all of the excitement of what you can imagine Paddy’s Day in Dublin to be, we met Bono from U2 in the first pub we walked into (and took a selfie with him) so the standards have been set high for our adventures here! Throughout the week Patricia and Ciaran were so helpful in making us feel comfortable and getting us settled in. Marino as a whole has been very welcoming even though it is the most stressful part of the year for their students and teachers. We did a lot of adventuring and some sight seeing (Guinness Factory) around the city and are getting our bearings of where we are. I went down to Cork for the weekend to visit my family for my Granny’s 85th birthday which was great to see everyone again- long bus ride though! We had an orientation and tour of St. Brigid’s Primary School (where our placement is) yesterday with Patricia. I was not expecting the school to be so new and advanced. It is a disadvantaged school but is very up to date with its technology and teaching strategies from what I have seen so far.Today was the first day we were in our classrooms and it went really well! It is a more laid back approach but the students are very energetic and engaged all day. I also noticed that the students are ahead over here compared to at home. I was in a second grade placement at home and now I am in first grade but they are doing very similar topics regardless of the year difference. I got a chance to see some similar teaching strategies to what would be used at home in math and reading and was impressed by the students knowledge. The days are flying by since they are so busy but it has been fun!
I’m in the block at BSU now and will be doing half of my student teaching in Crewe in the fall. How’s Crewe? How far away is Leighton Academy from the dorm you are in?
Hello International Student Teacher (IST)Bloggers,
Yes, we are getting ready to gear up for nine IST going abroad this March 17. I’ve talked with a number of students these past few months – students who are interested (or have already applied to student teach abroad) – who although they have not made any comments on the blog, they have read what others have written.
We are looking forward to lots of blogging (I require it – this serves as your ‘journal’ – of SPED student teachers). I hope this finds you all well and excited for the adventure you are embarking on.
So this is our last week here. It is so bittersweet. I go into every lesson a little more sentimental then before. Its been a whirlwind of an adventure. I can’t believe how soon we are leaving. The past two days, Maeve and I have been getting the girls ready for their second unit assessment. The girls have been working so hard. On top of school work, more than half the girls are participating in the choir for a Christmas Carol as well. It amazes me the perseverance these girls have. Although, tiredness is starting to show on their face and actions. The girls today could not stop messing. They were misbehaving and fooling around with each other during lessons. This is not like them. Usually, the girls are on task and waiting for the next assignment. I think they have just had enough. Between November and being on the Toy Show and working through to Decemeber with Christmas so close. They have been going non – stop.
Today Patricia stopped by to meet with our teachers, Mrs. MacMillen, and the three of us. Patricia brought flowers for our teachers. We met to talk about the program and what they thought. Every one was so receptive and happy with all our work. It was great to feel appreciated and to have them enjoy our efforts. It was great way to end the day today! I am looking forward to seeing my family, but I am definitely going to miss my girls here in Ireland.
Friday was the Christmas show for my school and my last day with the students. On Friday morning I walked over the Boca Del Rio Bridge to cross to Northern Ambergris Caye and went to the Paradise Theater. We were supposed to be there at 9:00 am and I got there at about 9:15 and was one of the first people there. When the theater was finally opened around 10:00, each class sat together until it was there turn to practice. My class was up first but we had a lot of students not attending due to illness so we had to take some time to change some of the roles. Practice ended at about 11:30 and I walked one of the students home because his parents were not there to pick him up and he is my neighbor.
On Friday night, the show was scheduled to start at 6:15 but around 7:15 the show began. Teacher Rienny and I were scrambling to gather the students and remind them of their new roles. Overall, the show went very well. We had been practicing for a while and all of the students looked so adorable in their costumes. After the show, I stayed for a bit to help clean up.
On Friday night we went to our usual spot, Fido’s. Then we stopped by Senor Marlins and ended up at Jaguars. We have made so many friends here so it has been so fun to go out with everyone. Here people stay out all night, get breakfast in the morning, then go to sleep when the sun comes up. Melissa and I definitely adopted that lifestyle this weekend now that school is out!
Hi Sarah, I’m currently in the block @ BSU and looking forward to completing half of my student teaching in Belize in October. I was curious where you stayed while you were in Belize?
So yesterday we did this awesome Viking tour of Dublin! It is very similar to the duck boats in boston as the boat both drives on the street and then goes into the water. We were taken onto the great canal, which was absolutely beautiful. The tour guide was really funny. He had us all scream at people walking on the streets because we were pretending to be Vikings! It was so fun!
After that I went to the apple store to drop off my computer so that it can get some tests done because I couldn’t even get it to turn on anymore. I’m stressed about it because I don’t want to loose all of the work I have done, but I’m hoping for the best and trying to stay positive. I will hopefully know by Wednesday what is wrong with it. So now I am blogging from my iPad, which is harder to type on so I am sorry for any spelling mistakes.
Today was a crazy day in school as there was a lot going on. The morning was calm as we covered Irish and handwriting. Then we went to a performance put on by the senior infants, which was the cutest thing I have ever seen. The sang songs and put on a play about the Christmas nativity for the whole school. It was a highlight that I will never forget. After the play unfortunately my teacher went home sick, so I then had the class to myself for the afternoon. Then one of my girls got sick at lunch and was sent home. After that 7 other girls were feeling sick and we’re also sent home. The choir also had rehearsal this afternoon so I was only left with about 6 or 7 girls. It was a little crazy but we did some reading of the story “A Christmas Carrol” and then some art. It was overall a good day but a little hectic. Absolutely had to be flexible as many things happened I wasn’t expecting to happen. Hopefully all of the girls will get their rest and I won’t get sick!!
Tonight we don’t have much going on, so I guess I will start thinking about packing!
This weekend was one I will never forget. Yesterday we took a tour to the Ring of Kerry. If you ever come to Ireland, this is the tour I suggest you do. The Ring of Kerry has some of the most priceless viewpoints in all of the world. My favorite was at the top of one of the mountains. At the top of the mountains stood a statue of Mary. The statue was enclosed by rocks except for an opening with a footpath. You were able to walk up and kneel at her feet. Beyond the statue in the ocean were three islands known as the Bull, the Cow, and the Calf. The view from here was breathtaking and very spiritual. We then continued our journey onwards to the Ladies View. The Ladies View was were a count took Queen Victoria to look at the three lakes that lie in the valley of the mountains. When we arrived the sun was setting and pictures we took can not do justice for what you see in real life. The last stop we had on our tour was at the Torc Waterfall. The power of this waterfalls as magnificent.
Today, we took a Viking Splash tour through Dublin City. The tour was gray. Our guide was hysterical and made the adventure one to remember. The viking tour is very similar to the Duck Tours in Boston. We travelled by land and by sea, learning about the city we were in, with great commentary. After the viking tour we took a look at Saint Stephens’ Green and then ventured to Trinity College to view the Book of Kells. The book was cool to look at, but the most impressing thing was the long room. This is the library full of old books, including music compositions. When you walk into the room you cannot help but get a chill. It was just an amazing weekend.
This week in school was filled with quite a lot! My teacher and I have been trying to squeeze in as much as we can with the limited time that we have all of our girls actually in the room. A lot of end of the term tests have been given and we have been having a lot of small meetings with the support teachers to discuss the plans and schedules that will be put into place when they all return in January. It is very interesting for me to see the plans put on paper, and then see the reality of their actions, which are not always the same. The plan that we came up with I think is very good for the girls that need the support, but it will require sticking to this rigorous schedule that seems to already be difficult for this team of support teachers. I will be curious to hear if next term is different for this class, especially now that they will be loosing a set of hands on top of it.
Today we did a bus tour to the Ring of Kerry. The day started off with pouring rain. At one point it looked like the bus was under water when we went through a puddle. But the second half of the day really cleared up and we even saw some sunshine! We saw many cute villages and gorgeous scenery and a waterfall! Overall it was an amazing tour!
Unfortunately my night is consisting of being on the phone with technical support because I can not get my computer to turn on at all. Not being 25 min to the closest apple store right now is a little frustrating. I am just hoping to be able to solve this problem before I need to turn in assignments for the semester.
The past week in school we have been preparing the students for an assessment of the unit. Every morning, Ms. Farrell or myself will quiz the students on their English spelling and grammar, along with their multiplication tables. Ms. Farrell reviews Irish with them. Today we gave them a four page assessment on the first portion of the unit. We have not finished grading the assessment, but so far students seem to be grasping the concepts and material that has been introduced to them. After the assessment and little break, the choir students left for another rehearsal before their performance on Wednesday. So I only nine students during the middle of the day. We spent that time making Christmas arts and crafts. It was really nice doing Christmas projects with the students. I find that at this time I am able to talk and get to know the students better because there is so few of them. They made origami Christmas trees, Santa Claus, and elves. They came out so awesome. We then hole punched it, and turned them into ornaments for the classroom tree. The girls then made reindeers using their hands. They loved this one. After lunch, the 4th, 5th, and 6th classes were brought into the hall where they got to watch Despicable Me 2 for the the rest of the afternoon.
Next week, the students will have another assessment on Wednesday. On Wednesday their is also the choir performance at church. Thursday is my last day. Patricia is planning to come by and visit us and the girls. On Thursday I will be teaching the whole day, as Ms. Farrell has to go to a meeting at the Lord Mayors house with the GAA girls. I have spent this week creating a Jeopardy board and will be playing it with the girls on Thursday. They do not have Jeopardy here, so I am excited to play it with them!
After school today, we ventured to Kilmainham Jail. This jail was built in the seventeenth century and was closed in 1924. The jail was built to improve upon the jails that were already in place that housed all prisoners together. The cells in Kilmainham were supposed to be single cells, but due to overcrowding, no cell was every occupied by only one person. At first, the jail housed petty thieves and murderers. As time progressed, it got converted into a prison for the political leaders of the rebellions against England, especially after the Easter Rising in 1916. The jail had a tour, which was just enthralling and rich with information. It was one of the best tours I have been on while over here. Tomorrow we are headed to the Ring of Kerry! It is supposed to be beautiful!
It has been a week filled with assessments. I feel really bad for all of the teachers and the students at the school because the pressure is on to perform. I can’t believe how long the students here are able to sit (and concentrate?) working on the assessments (individual, paper-based- reading, writing, and mathematics).
I always thought there was a lot of pressure in the United States for teachers to perform, but it seems really intense in the United Kingdom. There is a strong emphasis on not using “worksheets”, but teachers need the evidence of student work in order to show progress. It makes me laugh to see teachers create a worksheet, then the students cut out the problems individually and glue each one into their portfolios – a worksheet cut up and glued back together is still a worksheet.
The education system is in a state of change, and it is really rigid in it’s testing (accommodations are few and rare- if a student is struggling with the test, thats too bad).
The annual assessment is the “Assessing Pupil Progress” (APP). The APP breaks curriculum tasks into levels depending upon the skills that students have. The levels are ordered numerically (with 1 being the earliest learned skills) and then further divided into A, B, and C. A means that the student is able to complete all of the skills in that level with masters, B means that the student has some mastery of most of the skills, and C means that the student may be proficient in some skills but not many of them. The teacher uses the checklist of skills and the evidence of student work and determines the level (and progress) the student has made. It is expected that a student will improve about 4 points (2 sub levels) a year.
I have been torn about whether this is a good system for assessment or not. Unlike the formal assessments in the US (Woodcock Johnson, Wiatt, etc), this is based upon skills that the student has and uses evidence produced by the student to determine the students “level”. However, people are prone to make mistakes and teachers can slightly exaggerate student skills to ensure that their student shows the necessary progress. If this happens throughout the years then the students inflated level at Year 6 makes it almost impossible for the student to reach his/her annual progress goals.
It is definitely interesting to see another way that assessments are run and changing. I know there is the constant need to find the BEST way to do things, but all students are so different, that not everyone can fit into one program.
On a fun note- Off to Venice for the weekend!
Today was our class Christmas party and the last day of school. A lot of students have been absent this week due to sickness or outstanding balances. Students each paid $15 BZE last week and the teacher ordered pizza for the class, got juice boxes, bought chocolate and apples, purchased a pinata, and made goodie bags for each of the students. The students were told not to come until 9:00 for the parties. When I arrived at school at 8:30 this morning, I was the first teacher there.
The students came strolling in between 9:00 and 10:00. The teacher put on music and the students danced most of the morning. It was funny to see all of their dance moves! It was also very funny to hear the songs that the teacher was playing such as psy’s gangman style. Around 11:15 we began to hand out pizza. After all of the students finished eating, it was time to do the pinata. Since it was raining outside, we couldn’t hang it up outside like we had originally planned so I just held the pinata and let the students hit it with their hands one by one.
At 12:00 the students were dismissed. On their way out I gave each student a candy cane and they were so excited. Parents came to pick up their children and their report cards. The parents could not pick up the report card if they have not paid their school bills. All of the parents in our class were happy with their child’s grades and I was actually able to write all of the comments for the report cards and everyone seemed to be happy with what I wrote. I made sure that if there was anything that a child needed to improve on I included a positive before giving a negative comment. Some of the parents of students in the upper division were not happy with their child’s report cards and were having heated discussions with the teachers.
On a positive note, it is very refreshing how here in Belize you can say Merry Christmas. It is also acceptable to have Christmas parties in school and talk about Santa. At home, there is so much focus on being politically correct and remembering to say “Happy Holidays”. Also, I know that most schools in the US are no longer allowed to have parties due to allergies and if there is a party it is a holiday party.
Tomorrow night we have our Christmas show. Parents had the option of allowing their child to participate or not. Some families who do not celebrate Christmas are choosing to not have their child participate while others who do not celebrate are allowing their child to be included. No one is upset about it, that’s just the way it is here.
This week is flying by! Patricia was able to make it to the school on Tuesday to observe us, which went extremely well. I taught a lesson on homophones and had the girls write a silly homophone poem. They came out really good! Patricia will be coming in next week to hear some of the poems that the girls wrote. The lesson went very well. The girls were on their best behavior and they absolutely loved writing the poems and were sharing them with each other during break time.
I have been teaching a lot of division this week, which has been slightly different than what I am used to because they use different terminology I am finding than I normally would in math. The refer to an equation as a sum, not matter what type of equation it is. As we would refer to a sum as the answer to an addition problem. Getting used to that terminology has been difficult for me because our terminology has been imbedded in my brain forever. But luckily my girls don’t let anything get by so they are always correcting me☺
The choir girls have been out a lot again this week due to a Christmas carol service they will be performing in next week. The other girls in the classroom have been learning how to make paper snowflakes and decorating our room even more like Christmas.
Today we finished up some of our last shopping as we begin to think about coming home, in just 8 days, which is beyond crazy. I have no idea where the time went. We are meeting up with my friend Katy tonight for a comedy show so I am excited about that. I am also excited that we only have 5 more days left of school!
This morning when I was getting ready for school I was very sad that there was only 3 more days left of school. However, my attitude quickly changed by about 11:30. There was nothing planned for today. Thankfully, I had brought supplies to make Santa beards and picture frames and thought to download some Christmas stories on my iPAD. This morning the teacher explained to me that she felt lazy and needed to finish her report cards. So I decided to do the arts and crafts with the students. That only lasted about an hour. I thought that once the report cards were finished the teacher would have something planned but it was evident that she did not.
After break, I attempted to read the students the Dr. Seuss book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas however the students were out of control. It was clear that a read aloud was not going to work. Then I tried to play an educational game but that was not working either. Nothing was working and no one was listening to me no matter what I tried. I felt so frustrated and defeated. Today was the first day I really reached my frustration level with the lack of structure and preparation especially when I looked out the window and saw the classroom teacher watching the other classes outside practicing their christmas shows.
I am more than happy to take over the classroom and teach. I would just like to be told that that is what is expected of me so that I can prepare something. I don’t even need 24 hour notice, even a few moments notice would be nice so I could think about it. When the teacher walks out the room I have no idea if she’s going to use the restroom or going to speak to someone or going home and not coming back. Even yesterday, I got to school and one of the other teachers came over to “remind” me that I would be teaching this morning although I was never told that before. There is such a lack of communication here in Belize and not just in the schools. People rarely give you correct information and most of the time any information you hear is just from word of mouth. Normally I just go with the flow but today I was really close to my breaking point.
Saturday morning at 6:30 sharp, David from Caribbean Adventures picked us up with his golf cart to take us to Mayan Air. The airport is so small and only flies within Belize. We were handed a laminated boarding pass and sat for about ten minutes before they announced that our flight was boarding. We walked up to this very small plan with only 4 other passengers. The entire plan sat about 12 people including the pilot and the co-pilot seats. I sat right behind the co-pilot chair so I could see right out the front window and joked with the pilot about this being his first day on the job. About 15 minutes later, we landed safely at Belize municipal airport. There we were met by our tour guy Dorion.
We then set out on about an hour drive to Altun Ha, a mayan ruin. Altun Ha means Rockstone Pond. This site was discovered not long ago in the 1950’s. We were able to climb a few structures. The highest structure we climbed was 54 feet. Dorion was very knowledgable and answered all of our questions.
The next stop on our adventure was to Zip lining. We went zip lining in the jungle of the cayo district. We got there and the tour guides for the zip lining were very funny. We walked up the mounting and they showed us all kinds of trees and told us their purposes. There were 5 structures to zip line and the highest one was 700 feet up and the longest was 200 feet.
Once we had lunch, we got ready to go cave tubbing. Luckily, the zip lining and cave tubbing are right next to each other. We walked up the mountain towards the caves. It was about a 20 minute walk in the woods holding our tubes, helmets, head lamps, and lifejackets. When we got the cave, there was a wood platform right over the water. The tour guide told us to hold our tubes behind us, and sit back. It was a lot of fun splashing in to the cool water. The water was crystal clear and freshwater. The cool water felt wonderful after being so hot for most of the day. I laid in my tube and looked up at the crystal formations above me. Once we got in to the cave, looked back at the entrance was absolutely stunning. The way the sun hit the water outside of the cave made the clear water sparkle and glisten The wind moved the palm trees and the site was absolutely breathtaking. We went through two caves and hit some small rapids. The only disappointment of the day, was that an older man beat me to the co-pilot seat on the flight back so I was unable to sit shotgun on the plane!!
I never knew that Belize had pyramids? (not that were at a pyramid – just a random thought). Sounds like a great adventure.
On Monday, Patricia was supposed to come and observe us teach. Unfortunately, she was delayed because of the snow storm back home. I still taught my lesson as planned. The lesson was on a story titled “Crashing Through the Snow in a Beat Up UFO”. This story fit perfectly into the curriculum for the students. In science we had just taught them about space and what planets are made of, as well as gravity. So before reading the story we spent some time reviewing our vocabulary on space. The story itself takes place in Vermont, so naturally I did a mini introduction to Vermont. It was awesome to explain a little bit of home to the students. Then I read the story to the students. They adored it. They thought the story was funny and entertaining. You could not ask for more for a reaction from your students. After I read the story, I had the students read it aloud. It was amusing to see how they mimicked certain aspects of the story as I did, and what they made their own. After that, the students were asked to predict on what they believed would happen next.
Luckily, Patricia had made it back from the States and was able to observe the lesson. So today, I asked the students to recall on what they predicted yesterday. I had a few of the students tell me, then we read the story one more time. Then I explained their activity. The students were to write lyrics based upon the story to the tune of Jingle Bells, as this is the tune the title implies. The students absolutely were enthralled with the lesson. They were able to work in partners and be creative and sing. They love singing, many of my students participate in the choir at school. This allowed me to implement this lesson. It was quite lovely hearing them sing and figure out their next line. This lesson was probably the best lesson I have taught yet. I cannot wait to record their singing tomorrow!
Sounds like a great lesson. Funny that Philadelphia has gotten more snow this year than all of last year. And more so than us in New England. As you may have heard we are supposed to get 6 inches of snow this Saturday.
So we just got back from London! Oh my goodness it is my new favorite city! I’m literally obsessed with it and I cannot wait to go back! We really only had one day to do everything we wanted to, and even though it was a lot we did it! We saw the parliament building with Big Ben and Victoria’s Tower, we went in the Westminster Abbey and got to see so many need things and walk right by where people get sworn in. We also saw Buckingham Palace and did the London Eye, which is a gigantic ferris wheel type thing that lets you see beautiful views of London. We also went into the London Tower and did a Beefeater Tour. The guys who did the tour were hilarious! We then saw all the crown jewels, which makes me want to marry a prince just so I can put on one of the crowns we saw! And we went into the white tower were all of the weaponry is stored. At night we met up with my friend Katy and her friend Andy, who is a Beefeater and lives in the London Tower, for dinner at a really nice pub. We then went to another bar where I had real ale that was not carbonated at all because there was no gas used in the beer and I loved it! I wish all beer were like that! This morning we woke up for our long day of travel and are finally back at school. The weekend was absolutely amazing.
Now it’s to bed early because we have our first of two observations this week with Patricia, the woman from Marino who is in charge of us here.
This weekend has been magnificent. On Friday night, we headed off for London. We arrived at London about 11pm. We emerged from the underground and walked up to what looked like Time Square in New York City. There was a giant snow globe in the middle of square and giant screens on the buildings. Like in NYC the screens were moving advertisements. It was all so mesmerizing. After getting over the excitement of the area, we ventured to grab a taxi. The taxi’s in London are like the ones you see in the movies. I was so excited to go for a ride! The taxi took us to our hotel in Vauxhall.
The next morning we woke up early and headed off to the city. We arrived in Westminster. The first thing we walked by was Westminster Abby. At the time we got there it wasn’t open, so we continued our venture to Big Ben. Big Ben was attached to the Parliament House. The whole structure was just beautifully crafted. Next we went to the London Eye. We were able to get a birds eye view of the city. I would recommend it to everyone who goes there. After the eye, we went back to Westminster Abby. The Abby was breathtaking. You are not allowed to take photos inside, but its just amazing. inside the Abby, Darwin, Newton and countless Kings are Queens, such as Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth I, are buried in the floor or in crypts above the floor. The ceiling of the Abby is considered one of the seven wonders of the world, and after seeing it, I completely understand why. Once we finished at the Abby we ventured down the Thames River to London Tower and the Tower Bridge. The Tower of London is like a fortress with three different towers. The towers used to hold the royal family, now it contains the Crown Jewels, the armory and weaponry from years past. Then we went out for a bite and were given a tour of the city by a Beefeater. A Beefeater is a member of the Queen’s guard, who now givens tours in the Tower of London. All Beefeater are formally members of the British militia. The most interesting thing I learned was the Admiral Gate. This was were Britain’s headquarters were when exploring the world.
This weekend was one of great adventure and beauty. It was just amazing!
I officially come home two weeks from today! I cannot believe how crazy that is or how fast everything is going by. I feel like I just got here and in the next week I need to start thinking about packing!
This week in school has gone by fast as well because we have been getting so many things done. We have been giving the girls a lot of tests to see where they are with things before they go on their big Christmas break. They get two weeks here for Christmas and new years. I think the States should adopt that! We have given them two spelling tests, and English grammar test, a maths tests and an Irish test! They are a little tested out at the moment but with not having our whole class for the last two weeks with all of the choir rehearsals we needed to get them done. And surprisingly enough the girls have done really well with them.
After school today we will be packing and heading to the airport and will be on our way to London! I have never been so I am very excited. My parents have been before and have been telling me all about it, so I am excited to go see for myself. My friend Katy will be over there with us! I haven’t seen her since I left so I am very excited for that.
We have been doing a lot of work this week with writing reports and getting lessons ready for Monday and Tuesday as Patricia from Marino is observing us. It will be nice to get away from my computer for the weekend.
In schools at home there is so much focus on fitting everything in that needs to be taught in the school year. Teachers have pacing guides and so much material to fit in before the MCAS testing in the spring. I know that there is a lot that comes up at home which can interfere with the schedule such as professional development days, holidays, various programs, and even snow days. As a result, teachers must be flexible.
Here there is also the same issues with scheduling. There has been multiple holidays or events that have interfered with the schedule such as township day, children’s week, and rain days. However, there is not as much focus on cramming a lot of work in to the school day. The schedule is more lax. For example, the most of the day today was spent practicing for the Christmas show. Then the class attempted to watch Home Alone but the projector was not working. So they had free time to color or play in the classroom and the teacher “observed” their behaviors.
In terms of the teachers responsibility, there is a large focus on lesson planning. Teachers must provide objectives and assessments. Their lesson plans are scanned very carefully and marked for corrections. However, there is not enough of a focus on checking to see that the teachers are actually carrying out the lesson plans. I really think that the class would be more structured if there was more preparation for the time. And a greater focus on using time appropriately. I think it is important to prepare for the Christmas show. In my opinion it would be wise to use a little time each day to prepare rather than a whole day mainly because the students behavior changes greatly when there is less structure.
The difference of time between the Belizean culture and American culture is evident both in and out of school. We have started to understand “Belizean time” as being a half hour or an hour late to everything. If someone tells you that a show starts at 6, if you show up at 6… you’re early. If you show up around 6:30, you’re on time. At home, I always feel so rushed to be on time. And many people at home believe that if you’re on time, you’re late. If I was on time around here, I would be the first one there wondering where everyone else is. That alone has causes me much less stress. I never have to worry about being late here. It’s the little things like having “no rush” that make me believe that life here is much simpler.
Yesterday, my cooperating teacher called out sick. I had forgotten my phone back at school, so I had not noticed she had texted me. That morning, five minutes before school started, I found out I was teaching for the day. I did not have any lesson plans, so I improvised. It was great. I was able to get through all the information we usually do and I even did Irish with the girls. I had them go over their vocabulary words in group and come up with sentences for two of the words. One group at a time, I had them come up to the board and write it out. This way the whole class could look and check to make sure it was correct. It was really quite amazing. I learned that even if their is a language barrier, there is still an opportunity to teach and learn at the same time. I really liked how the girls worked together. They loved the fact that they were teaching me. They loved, even more, hearing me try and say the words! It was great fun and I cannot wait to do it again.
Today, Ms. Farrell was back in school. We began school normally, but we had a special visitor. The Lord Mayor of Dublin stopped by the school. He was there asking the girls in second, third, and fourth grade to partake in his time capsule. He was asking them to participate. The girls were asked to make a drawing, compose a poem, or a short story of what the believed Dublin will be like in seventeen years time. The Lord Mayor was a great speaker. He knew his audience and was not shocked when the girls asked about his pajamas or his socks. It was a great experience meeting hime. The Lord Mayor, I discovered, is an appointed position that is held at a one year term.
After the Lord Mayor, left we went back to the classroom and I did more review on division. It amazes me how much some girls absorb the information and some just can’t grasp it. Of the ones who are struggling, there are two girls who are trying so hard and are unable to figure out what they are doing wrong. It breaks my heart to see them try so hard. I have tried to make a point to go over to them every time and check in with them. When we work together they seemed to understand, but once they have to do it on their own, they just get overwhelmed. I am trying to find alternative ways to help them remember on their own, but none of them seem to work yet.
Wow! The Lord Mayor! Did you take photos that you can post??
Yesterday (Wednesday) was the last day of exams for the Infant I class. The exams were written tests for each student. The test consisted mostly of matching and fill in the blank using a word bank. Some students do receive modifications to their exam. For example, one student who is very young in the class was given word banks or the teacher would write for him. When the second exam was finished at 11:00 students used the hour before lunch to review exams the next day and I took the opportunity to do read alouds. The students here need more opportunities to use books. The young students do not know how to properly use books so I have really tried to put an emphasis on the importance of story books with the students, parents, and the teacher.
In the afternoon I eat lunch with the students and the teachers. The Infant I students are dismissed at lunch time during exam week so after lunch I have had some time to go back to the hotel and enjoy the sun!
This morning I got up early to finish some of my requirements for school. I got up and put my feet in the ocean then went to get dressed. I grabbed my ipad and my notebook and sat at a table by the pool, put in my headphones, and started typing away. Shortly after, a student from Standard I spotted me on his way to school. He came to say hello and sat down with me. I started talking with him and it occurred to me how much children really will tell you. He told me that he used to attend Holy Cross which cost much less money but due to a family matter his mother switched his school. He also said he had always wanted to attend Isla Bonita because the kids at Holy Cross are bad news and are always looking for fights (something I too have noticed). Needless to say, I did not get a ton of work done! He stayed while I ran upstairs to grab my bag for school and walked with me to school.
Great that you are open enough, and the kids can tell, that they will talk to you. Probably tell you more than you really need or want to know!
Meghan, Hope you are using your DI skills with and on the girls! Yes, a fun and festive time of the year.
This week so far has been going really well. The girls were in the Late Late Toy show on Friday so there are not more choir rehearsals during school this week, which is good because now we have all 26 girls in the class to get things done! Which is exactly what we have been doing! We have been so productive the last two days because we have actually had the girls in the room to do things. We have given two tests in the last two days. One to check if they remember what adjectives and plurals are and if the girls know how to use them. We are in the process of grading them now so we will see how they do. They also took a school wide spelling test yesterday, which we are also in the middle of grading,
In math we are working on subtracting time, some of the girls are having a lot of trouble grasping this. They are a little fuzzy on using 60 instead of 100 when regrouping. We will have more time this week to get some clarity there. We are still working on space in science. Last week we made solar systems, which were hung up this week, and we are going into more detail on that as well.
The school is becoming very decorated for Christmas, which I am loving! It is so nice to be in school and feel like you are in a winter wonderland, because that is not the case at home. It is so nice to be able to share that happy feeling with these girls in school. It makes me wish that it could be like this at home.
My friend Katy is coming to visit on Thursday so I have been busy trying to get as much work done before she comes so that I can enjoy her time. We are going to London this weekend so that is also another motivation to get things done. Our third motivator is that we are being observed again on Monday and Tuesday! So getting everything done this week before Thursday will be tricky but I am giving it a go!
This week has started off great. Yesterday, I worked on reading with my girls. I had each one read to me. I compared their reading to me to their leveled reading and leveled comprehension. In their class they have a comprehension box that is leveled based upon the students’ reading level and comprehension level. On Friday, I finished scoring their comprehension scores. I was able to use though to compare to their reading. I was talking to my teacher after about the scores and the reading. I noticed that only one student seemed to be reading at her instructional level were the rest were reading at their independent level. She was telling me how they do not rally have a way to level their students reading nor the resources. They do have guided reading books, but what she does is have every student read the same ones. The more advanced readers fly through the lower levels and the struggling readers stay on course or fall behind. She also mentioned how the more advanced readers will ask if they can use a book from home that is more advanced that tends to be at their level. It was quite interesting to see how the school does guided reading and instruction.
The students who were on the struggling level of reading also tended to struggle with comprehension. However, one student was able to read through books and decode words at a good pace, but when it came to comprehension she struggled. I brought that to the attention of my teacher and she said that seemed about right. I asked what they do for extra support for that. She said that there is no extra support, but the student has to just keep trying to gain it. It just surprises me of how little resources they have here. Back home schools would have some place to refer a child or a place to get them extra support. Here, that is not always an option. It just goes to show how much we really do have.
Today I was talking to my teacher more in depth about their schools here in Ireland and their special education programs. More specifically, how students are assessed for services. I got some really interesting information about how things work. It is very different here in Ireland, and Ms. Thompson said that as a whole it seems to be a bit behind. There is no guidance or psychology department within Saint Brigids. I was told that if a parent wants a child to be assessed for a learning disability they need to do that on their own at a private facility. If teachers notice that a child needs to be assessed for academic help or a potential learning disability the teacher tells the principal and the principal then contacts a psychologist from outside the school and the child gets put on a list; and when the child’s name reaches the top of the list then the psychologist will come into the school and observe the child in a whole group setting and then one on one and make their claim. But this is only if there hasn’t already been more than three cases that school year. I’m not sure if it is the same in other schools in Ireland, but Ms. Thompson was telling me that only up to 3 students can be referred to be assessed each school year by a psychologist. So if a teacher notices that a student in their class is having trouble or needs to be assessed, that child may not be able to get that assessment done in school and the parents would have to take them to an outside facility for testing. I found all of these things so interesting and very different from back home. It’s definitely something that has caught my attention. As similar as things can seem to home, there are always some very large differences and it is interesting to compare and contrast.
How is Abby? Lisa and I were talking about her the other day! And who sat next to her? She wanted to know ‘who that man was walking around the room’.
Abbie is great, she has a new seat right up front and she has gotten much better at raising her hand. Amy was the girl sitting next to her, who asked about who you were. She was also the one who thought you were going on a holiday becaue of your briefcases. Yesterday Patricia came in for an observation and as she was leaving Amy asked her if she was going back to the North Pole! Haha
She is a character! Briana, hope you are good!!
Patricia and Julie are here today and tomorrow from Dublin. Good to have them here in Bridgewater. I had breakfast with them and John Marvelle and Gloria Moran. John and Gloria are taking them to the Mitchell School and Williams Intermediate this morning. Hopefully we will have Marino students here in the not too distant future.
This week is exam week at school. The Infant I students had a social studies exam first thing in the morning from 8:30 to 9:30. Then they had a half hour break. At 10:00 they had a math exam. The students were much better behaved during the social studies exam and seemed to know the material better. Everyone had worked very hard on completing the exams. It was evident that more than half of the class struggled with subtraction. In that case, I would likely reteach the material after exams were completed so it will be interesting to see how the results impact the teachers instructional decisions.
After the exam ended at 11:00, the teacher asked me if I would work with the students. The first thing I did was to review the subtraction problems. I wanted the students to understand that subtraction means to take away something. A lot of them had an “ah-ha” moment once I reviewed it with them. After reviewing the subtraction, I did some review with the class for their science and language arts exams tomorrow. The students were dismissed for the day at 12:00 meaning that after lunch they were not expected to come back. This means that students will have to do some studying at home and that I will have a half days this week!
I talked with John Marvelle to hear his thoughts about student teaching in Belize. Interesting! I hope to talk with you when you return to get your ‘take’ on the experience. So happy to hear that you are having a great experience.
Another long post – I apologize. I figure for any students interested in teaching in the UK travel is something they may be interested in! Dylan and I got home from Ireland at 10 am and set off for Chester, a 20 min train ride from Crewe.
We got into the town and found our way to the city center, where we walked along the city wall – a gorgeous structure built in the first Century by the Romans to defend the city from attack. They have a lovely reddish color sandstone, and years have added a beautiful texture/character to them, and it is remarkably intact. We followed the walk halfway around the city, enjoying the breathtaking views and historical remains until we reached Chester castle.
The remains of Chester Castle, a medieval castle built in 1070, stand inside the city wall and look like the castles from childhood drawings/dreams. Although we couldn’t go into the castle and the area was closed off, the view itself was worth the trip. After walking around, we decided to take shelter from the rain in a nearby pub.
Following instincts and aided by luck, we happened in to “The Falcon”. The bartender was extremely friendly and kept her regulars in order with some good-humoured ribbing; exchanging jokes and witty barbs back and forth. She is working towards becoming a primary school teacher, and we had a lot to talk about. We sat down next to a young man dressed in full, authentic Roman gear (a fun past time, I suppose). He was from Chicago and has been living in the area for years while completing his PhD in history. We were immediately included in the conversation with all of the locals- joking and having an all around good time.
After staying longer than we had originally planned, I mentioned that we were looking for some of the important stops in the area, and a pub-crawl was decided upon by the locals. One of the men, Jon, a bartender/history enthusiast (particularly interested in Norse religion, history and culture), offered to give us a little tour of the area. Jon brought us on a tour of the historical sites in the area, stopping along the way to visit his favorite “locals” (pubs).
One of our first stops was the Roman Amphitheater, built in the first century, it is the biggest amphitheater known to exist in England. The Amphitheater is extremely impressive and large, and it is only 1/3 uncovered (it has a 500 year old convent built above it, and may never be fully uncovered). He discussed the rumor that has been proposed that the Amphitheater could be the seat of the round table, describing why people say it is possible but elaborating that there isn’t any real evidence, just discussion about it.
Jon described the history of the area, the culture (then and now) – detailing the interest in re-enactments that take place in the Amphitheater today (which also explained the Roman we met at the bar!). He took us to different chapels including the ruins of one church and regaling us with ghost stories/myths about the area.
We went to a bunch of different pubs, with a variety of atmospheres, some hole-in-the-walls, some more popular with live music, one decorated with old tapestries… About 5 hours later, Dylan and I remembered we never found lunch, so Jon brought us to a restaurant where I tried the “Beef and Ale pie”, a traditional English meal (AND IT WAS DELICIOUS). We ended at “The Old Boot”, a nice old bar with a cozy atmosphere, cushy couches, and a traditional pub feeling- almost like being transported into the past. We ended up having a wonderful experience in Chester to finish off our family reunion weekend.
In short- I couldn’t have asked for a better time. It’s a good thing our first friend in Ireland parted with us by saying that he was giving us all of his “Irish luck”, because it clearly stuck with us throughout the weekend! (I will try to post pictures as soon as possible)
Wow Kayla, you sure know how to make friends in all the right places. Yes, Chester is beautiful.
I think somehow my post got deleted again – I posted like 3 things earlier and they’re nowhere to be found!!! Thanksgiving was this past week, so my cousin Dylan (who is studying in Venice) decided to visit for a family reunion in Dublin. We spent Friday day in Manchester, where we found a pub, called “Sam’s Chophouse” serving a delicious turkey sandwich with stuffing and cranberry sauce (and pretended we were having leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner) It’s a wonderful little pub/restaurant – cozy, comfortable and with good service. The bar was packed with locals congregating around a pint even at 1:00 in the afternoon.
We got into Dublin around 7:30 at night. After settling in we went in search of dinner and ended up popping into “O’Sheas Merchant”, a pub a solid distance outside of Temple Bar.
Our first impression of “O’Sheas” was that this bar felt like home – it was a distinct reminder of the Irish influence in South Boston and some of the suburbs. The gentleman sitting next to us, an ex-soldier, struck up a conversation. He had a plethora of stories, sayings, and jokes to entertain us with. He gave us hints, tips, and tricks for exploring the city (describing the best sites to visit and cheapest pints poured). Other locals joined in on our conversations, a traditional Irish band began to play, and we were completely immersed in the celebrations; dancing and singing along with the locals. Caught up in the whirlwind, what seemed like 5 minutes (in actuality 3 hours), the kitchen was no longer serving and we still hadn’t eaten, so we went off towards Temple Bar for dinner. We settled for a slice of pizza, tried Temple Bar and ended at Darkey Kelly’s where another lovely Irish man befriended us and another great band played some traditional Irish music. Our new friend parted with us with hugs and promised to send “all of his Irish luck our way”.
The next morning, we went on a walking tour of Dublin. The tour was free, but you were encouraged to tip the guide whatever you thought the tour was worth. Our tour guide, Lisa, a Dubliner born and bred was energetic, informative, and witty. She shared the history of the city, the culture, and the people – dating back to the Gaul invasions that provided her with her traditional red haired/green eyed genetics. Our first stop was Dublin Castle and we continued on for four hours (ending at 3:00), getting a glimpse of the history of Dublin. We learned a bit of the gaelic, and had a solid amount of craic (“fun”).
After, we went to the Guinness Factory. Everyone said that it was a “must see”, and it was certainly interesting. We got the student entrance fee (13 Euros), and when we got to the tower the panoramic view was remarkable. It was a bit cloudy and getting late, but we could still see the mountains in the background. Talking to the bartender, a simple smile and hi, and I was rewarded with a lovely drawn shamrock in my pint.
We then went shopping around the streets (well lit up with Christmas decorations and festivities), visiting a few pubs, and ended our night back at O’Sheas Merchant (it was on the way home after all!) Another wonderful band at O’Sheas some dancing, drinking, and conversations with locals and our trip to Dublin was complete. Our time in Dublin was too short, and more than anything I would like to explore the countryside, which means another trip will have to be planned in the future!
A WEEKEND TRAVELING- My cousin came in to visit me this past weekend and we had a wonderful trip to Dublin. We were only able to spend a short amount of time in Dublin, but the people were so amazingly nice that we determined there will be a re-visit in the future. We landed in Dublin at 7:30 Friday night, and by the time we settled into our hostel, we went out searching for some dinner. We stopped at this back alley pub a good 10 minutes outside of Temple Bar, and struck up a conversation with an older ex-soldier, who regaled us with stories, proverbs, and jokes. We were the only non-locals in the bar, and everyone was extremely inviting. A traditional Irish band visiting from County Cork began to play – I “learned”/ struggled with some Irish folk dancing that the locals tried to teach us, and before we knew it, it was 11:30, and the kitchen was closed so we had to head towards Temple Bar in search of food. After a quick slice of pizza at a bar, an attempt to experience Temple Bar (lots of bars, but disdained by locals because its a tourist trap. All of the locals we talked to told us “you have to go to Temple Bar in Dublin, but the pubs are a real “kip”(?- not a good thing).
The next day we went on a free walking tour of the city (about 4 hours). The tour guide was amazing – friendly, witty, and knowledgeable- and we learned a lot about the history of the people, city, and culture. We went to the Guinness Factory and shopping, to a couple of pubs, and stopped back at the pub from the first night to celebrate our last day in Dublin. The trip was too short by far, and everywhere we went the locals were beyond friendly. Like our ex-soldier friend from the first night said, “you don’t have to be from Ireland to be Irish, just be happy and enjoy” – also “we’ll all spend plenty of time underground later, so might as well enjoy the time above ground while you can”.
Yesterday, we went into Chester, definitely a “must see”. We walked halfway around the city wall a beautiful old structure with amazing views, built to defend the city from invasion and surrounding Chester Castle, build in 1070. For lunch- following my tendency to find a small, un-presuming pub inhabited by the locals- happened to look up and see a set of stairs leading to the old wooden door of “the Falcon”. The pub is small and cozy, barely marked, with no windows, and the staff and customers were amazing (extremely nice, interesting, and more than a bit quirky)! The bartender was a young woman studying to teach Primary school. There was a man working on his PhD in History from Chicago, who has lived in the area for a long time, and was dressed as a Roman solder (pictures to follow). We began talking to the locals, including a man named Jon, obsessed with history, especially Norse culture, history, and religion. We asked the locals what we should see while we were visiting, what pubs are good what sites to see, and Jon went a step further and took us on a tour of the area. We went on a “historical pub crawl”. Jon showed us all of the “locals” (favorite pubs of the local residents) with the history of the pubs (including the oldest pub in Cheshire, a newer pub that has amazingly old/beautiful tapestries decorating the walls, one with live music, and more). On the walk to these pubs, Jon showed us different historical sites and gave us a detailed history of them. We went to some gorgeous old ruins of a chapel. We also went to a huge roman amphitheater (the largest in England, built in the first century), which is only 1/3 uncovered because another 500 year old convent is built on top. We met many other locals, who would join us and travel with us, and everyone made us feel completely at home and comfortable. We talked about sports (comparing and contrasting Rugby and American football), history, culture and traditions.
Long story short- We had an amazing weekend. The people we met were beyond amazing and gave us a wonderful impression of both cities. We had two free walking tours (not including the pint or two we bought for Jon to say thanks!). I think our experience was improved because the locals enjoyed our interest in their cities; immersing ourselves in the culture, and getting to know and talk to the locals over a pint.
I had thought that my posts were deleted/didn’t show up so I reposted them. The next two posts are basically the same as the ones above ! Sorry! When I get home today I’m going to try to delete them if it is possible!!!
Last week was a good week – With the year 4 students I have been working on multiple digit multiplication in numeracy/maths and persuasive writing in literacy/”Let’s Write”. “Let’s Write” is an independent writing exercise where the teachers set up the goals/objectives, do a little bit of modeling, the students write, the teacher assesses and the students assess (themselves or other students depending on the task and teacher).
I feel like the “Let’s Write” system is very interesting, but I think that many of the struggling students do not get as much out of the program as they potentially could. “Let’s Write” is completely independent when the students are writing – the students write for about an hours worth of time. For many of the struggling students, this amount of quiet, seated, academic work is just too long to sit still. Also, I feel as though there could be more scaffolding to help students struggling with their writing. During the period, while some students in the class can complete two pages of writing (organized with correct grammar) other students are only writing down a couple of sentences.
During this time, while students are all involved in independent activities, I have been trying to help some of the struggling students to get some of their ideas down. A couple of weeks ago, I worked with two of the students, “J” and “L”, and scribed what they wanted to write down on paper. These students struggle with the organization of their ideas. This becomes even more obvious when the students need to also consider the mechanics of writing, the ides they are writing about become even more confused and unfocused.
During “Let’s Write”, I have been trying to implement some more structure for the struggling students. If the objective is to write an organized, persuasive, letter – then they should allow the struggling students the opportunity to show their ability to write an organized, persuasive letter. We have included more modeling, more use of graphic organizers, and the opportunity for some of the students to use computers to type their letters, rather than writing the persuasive letters into notebooks. Although the students still struggle with their writing, they have shown improvement in their ability to organize structured and persuasive letters.
This weekend was amazing because my family was here! I missed them so much, so I was in such a great mood all weekend while they were here. On Thursday after school, Emily, Briana and I met up with them to do the Guinness Factory Tour, which was really neat. We learned how they make their beer and how they get it to be as dark as it is, as well as pour our own pint at the end of the tour. We then got to drink the pint at a bar at the very top of the building with a beautiful view overlooking Dublin.
On Friday, my parents and my sister came to my school to meet my teacher and my girls. The girls were so funny all day because they were so excited that they were going to be able to meet my family and were asking me every 5 minutes when they were coming. My parents also brought some American candy with them to hand out to the girls so that was a lot of fun! Then we ate lunch with my teacher and had the thanksgiving dinner that was postponed until today for lunch. It was absolutely delicious. Then my parents and I and Emily and Briana got to see a sneak peak of the song the girls were going to be singing on the Late Late Toy Show later that night! They blew me away! Then on Friday night we all had our own Thanksigivng Dinner in the Constitution Room of the hotel that my parents were staying at. It was one of the best dinners I have ever had! It was so neat to be eating in the room that the Ireland constitution was signed in!
On Saturday we got up bright and early and did an all day tour to see the Cliffs of Moher, another breathe taking place in Ireland! Then today I had to say goodbye to my parents, which was hard but I will see them again in 20 days! I cannot believe how fast the time is going by!
So this weekend was amazing! On Friday the school cooked us a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. Nole, the caretaker, used to be part of the Navy and was a cook. He mad a delicious turkey and ham, with stuffing and mashed potatoes. He also made fresh veggies and fried mashed potatoes. It was so good. After lunch, I taught a review lesson on multiplication and division. It was n in prompt lesson, but it went very well. After I completed the lesson two of my girls came up to me and said “good job Ms. Bloomstein”. It was a great compliment to hear. After school, we headed back to the hotel to get read for Thanksgiving dinner with Meghan’s family.
Meghan’s dad rented the Constitution Room at the Shellbourne Hotel. When we first walked into the dinner, we were brought to Michael Collins’ room. Michael Collins drafted the constitution for Ireland as it gained its independence from England. When we first walked into his room, we were offered champagne and a wonderful appetizer of steak and chips (fries) with Bolognese sauce. It was a great appetizer, but so weird to be in his room. Then after cocktails, we went into the Constitution Room for diner. The chairs were the same chairs used during the drafting of the constitution. They hung an American Flag out the window. I thought that was so nice and respectful of them. The diner was six courses of soup, champagne sorbet, turkey and ham dinner, Creme Brûlée, cheese dish, and small cakes with white wine and Port wine. It was just a fabulous night that I cannot fully describe with words.
After dinner, I headed to Galway to meet up with my sister and friend. On Saturday morning we got up and headed on a tour to the Cliffs of Moher. The Cliffs of Moher is breath taking. It is one of those moments of life that you cannot explain or capture the beauty in nature. We took pictures and they do not even come close to what the real thing is. As we were getting to leave, it was a beautiful sight. The rain was coming in. It came in like the wall, with a rainbow following along. It was just spectacular. On Saturday night we ventured to the King’s Head. It was a pub with a live band. They played great music from classic Irish music to rock and roll to punk. It was a wicked fun night!
This week has been review week. Students have completed review exercises and played different games. It has also given me more time to work one on one with some students and incorporate my ipad in to the class. When students finish their review exercises, there is not usually work for them to do. I spent one sleepless night downloading all kinds of appropriate applications including math games, English language learning games, story books, and other various educational exercises. Using this as a supplement for review worked great. It keeps the students engaged and excited and I have never seen them so well behaved as when they were given the opportunity to use the ipad.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving. This year, thanksgiving was very different. I started the day with a Celi’s breakfast burrito. Luckily, we still had our golf cart so Justin was nice enough to give me a ride. This saved me from walking in the 4 inches of thick mud that I normally have to trek through due to construction outside of the school. When I got to school, I said Happy Thanksgiving to the students and tried to explain a little about what Thanksgiving is and how I celebrate at home.
At lunch time, Mrs. Diana, the woman who cooks at school, made me turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and stuffing. She said she made it for me so I could have my Thanksgiving! That was very nice and the teachers all got a taste of Thanksgiving while the students ate pizza. It was funny to watch all the other teachers pour hot sauce over their mashed potatoes and stuffing!!
Wednesday was Township Day in San Pedro. Township day is essentially the date that the town was founded or it’s birthday. On Tuesday morning, the school was called to assembly so that the principal could tell us about the activities planned for township day. All students in standards I through VI would report to the San Pedro High School Auditorium where there would be guest speakers, performances from each school on the island, a parade, and refreshments and would have a half day. Infant I and II had the day off but the teachers should still report to the auditorium.
On Wednesday morning, I got up and went to the auditorium. Isla Bonita was all sitting together by class. I sat next to some boys in Standard I class which was nice because I don’t always get to see the other students. The performances began with the preschools then the elementary schools went. There were some dances, some songs, and some poems read by the different schools. It was nice to see all of the students and teachers in one place! The mayor gave a speech and excused all the students from the parade because it was very breezy out so they could go home after the performances and he instructed all of the students to make use of the parks and to go swimming!!
In the afternoon, we took the mayors advice, rented a golf cart and headed to palapa bar to do some swimming! It is a bar on a dock and they have tubes for people to hang out in. It was pretty breezy but not nearly as cold as it is at home so we jumped in and got a bucket of Beliken lowered to us!
It’s been cooler than usual the last few days (high seventies or low eighties). It still feels pretty warm to me but all of the children are walking around in long pants, heavy sweatshirts, and winter hats! The teachers are complaining to me that this is their winter and it is too cold. One of the teachers told me it is supposed to get to the high sixties at night. This cold front has not stopped me from wearing my flip flops and sleeping with the windows open!
This is the first Thanksgiving that I have not been with my family. But, everyone here has been amazing! Today I walked into my class and my girls were hiding under their desk. They jumped out from under their desks and yelled “Happy Thanksgiving Ms. Bloomstein”. I was so surprised. It was unbelievable. One student had made a card and had the rest of her peers sign it for me. Another one of my students wrote me a card stating, “I know you are far from home, but I hope this card helps. Happy Thanksgiving”. This was my favorite. It goes to show you that even at a young age, children can understand how important family and friends are. On top of all that, the Mrs. MacMullen, the principal, bought Meghan, Briana, and I a hot water bag. It is used to keep you warm. You put hot water into the container and cover it back up with the blanket that goes around it. On top of that, the school had planned to cook us a Thanksgiving meal, but Nole was sick and wasn’t able to. So the school went out and bought deli meats, pasta salad, and apple tart. It was delicious. The school has just been so generous and thoughtful to us. I also went into one of the third grade class to talk to them about Thanksgiving. They were very intrigued about it. They had just done a lesson on it and had made turkeys.
In my fourth grade, we are doing a unit on space. The students each took a planet, the sun, or the moon, and researched about it. This was only for the students who are not in the choir. Next week, the students who have not been in the choir will be presenting the information to the rest of their class. So the students are able to present their work they have been working on for the past three weeks. They are so excited to share what they have learned about Space, Nocturnal Animals, and Van Gogh to their peers. In math the students are learning long division. Some students are excelling and some are struggling. It is divided between the class, as to who understand and who is struggling. It is quite interesting. Hopefully once the choir settle down, the students may feel more confident with it.
Tonight we are heading to the Guinness Factory with Meghan’s family. They flew in today, so it will be nice to meet them. After we plan to go to O’Neill’s for dinner and make a pit stop at Madigans for a drink. Tomorrow night we are going to the Shellbourne Hotel for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner I cannot wait! There is a tree lighting event going on at the hotel, which is supposed to be fantastic. Then it is off to Galway and Connemara for the weekend! Looking forward to the next couple of days!
Still having a great week here in Ireland! Emily’s family has been here all week so we have been doing loads of shopping, eating a drinking with them, which has been a blast! Today at school everyone as amazing! I got so many card from my girls saying “Happy Thanksgiving,” and I was asked to come into another class in the school to talk about Thanksgiving and why we have it and what we do to celebrate the holiday. It was a lot of fun to be able to share this with another class, as I talk about all of these things daily with my girls with all of the questions I answer.
Our principal also organized for the staff to have a Thanksgiving day lunch! It was so thoughtful of them! Unfortunately the main cook of this event unfortunately got sick this morning and needed to go home, but they got some other food for us and we were still able to all sit down together during break and enjoy a meal together. It totally brought a little piece of home to us☺ Then our principal also gave us a gift! She gave us all hot water bottle bags with adorable covers on them to keep us warm in this cold weather. Everyone at this school is so amazing and thoughtful and I feel blessed to be there.
I am now off to meet up with my family, as they landed in Dublin this morning! We are going to do a tour of the Guinness factory and then spend the night in a few pubs! I am so excited to see them as I miss them more than I imagined!
Yesterday was the first day of review week. Students will be spending most of the week reviewing what they need to know for exams next week. There is one student with cerebral palsy in the Infant I class that will not be taking exams next week. I discussed with her mom that review week would be a good time for me to do some one on one work with her daughter. Last week I spent some time making a communication booklet, a sand and water box for some fine motor activities & occupational therapy, researching proper stretches and movements for physical therapy, and making some modifications for pencils and eating utensils. I was all excited to start working one on one with her on Monday but she did not come to school. Instead, I helped the students review. I also had to leave at lunch time to go to the immigration office for 1:00 to renew the stamp on my passport. Good news: I can stay another month here in Belize!
At school the students were continuing with review week. They record notes in a new notebook and complete exercises similar to ones on the test then take the notebook home to study (these are 5 year olds I must remind you). Thankfully, the special needs student came to school so I got a chance to work one on one with her. Her mother comes to school with her and sits with her. It is great that she is there for her child and wants to bring her to school and make sure she has what she needs at school but this can also be unhealthy for the child and I’m almost positive the mother could really use a break once in a while! I really wanted to work just with the student and not have the mother there (for a number of reasons) but the mother came out to the area where we were working and I figured it would be helpful at first to get some background information about the services she has received in the past. While this was very helpful, I think it was also sort of distracting for the child. She would throw objects on the ground and her mother would get upset with her for throwing it on the ground but to me, that was perfectly acceptable. I asked the mother what short term and long term goals she would like to set for her child. Her long term goal is to develop her child’s speech and the short term goal is have the child work on feeding herself or potty training. Unfortunately there is only 3 weeks of school left so I don’t know how much I will be able to do with the student but I am optimistic that I can provide the mother and teacher with some tips and accommodations/ modifications that can help her to be more successful at school and to continue her path towards independence.
Special education is next to nonexistent here in San Pedro. I cannot speak for all of Belize because I do not know for certain but from what I understand any services a child would receive (physical therapy, speech, or occupational therapy) are located in Mexico at a large facility called CRIQ. From what I understand, this a long trip and the therapy can be very expensive. With this particular student, her mother told me they used to travel 6 hours for 20 minutes of speech and the trip became tiring. From speaking with the teachers at my school, I have been told that they receive no training on special needs or special education and if they do get a child who has a diagnosed special need they use the parents and the internet as a resource for help. There are no aids for students and if a student is very severe, they often stay home from school. Both the parent of the child I am working with and the teachers have told me that the benefit from of a child with special needs coming to school is to socialize them with their peers.
I think the first step is to create awareness of special needs for parents and teachers. The teachers don’t know what to do with students with diagnosed special needs but the ministry claims that the teachers are able to fill out a referral for help. If this is true, this needs to be communicated to the teachers so that both the teachers and students are receiving the resources they need and deserve. It is very frustrating for me because all students whether they have special needs or not have so such potential (especially this young girl in this class) but sometimes just need a little extra help to reach their true potential and be successful. I know all of the resources that we have in the United States to help people with disabilities and it brings tears to my eyes to see that so many of those resources are inaccessible to people in other parts of the world.
The week started off great! Yesterday, was a normal day in school, finally. The girls did not miss anything for choir. For the first time in two weeks we and the whole class for the whole day. It was nice to see them all together. However, many of my students have been out sick. Within the past week more than five students have been out for two or more days. Just like at home, when there is an illness it goes around to everyone. Many of the teachers are catching it as well, however they have still been in school. They do not have substitutes. If a teacher is out, the children in that class get split up and put into another classroom for the day throughout the school. The only way a substitute can come in for a teacher is if they have a doctors note. I found this to be quite different. I have never seen it done this way.
This school week is going great so far. The girls are getting ready for the Late Late Toy Show on Friday, so they have been practicing a lot before and during school this week. My teacher and I have been taking this time to test the girls for their reading ages and put them into leveled groups. They do not have anything like guided reading here in Ireland, but it is very interesting to me that my teacher is kind of taking it upon herself to develop a program in her room much like a guided reading program back home. She found reading tests online that she liked, has been testing all of the girls as I have been too, then we have been putting all of the data we are finding into charts to make the level groups. It is amazing to see the results we are finding. We have girls with reading levels ageing from seven years only to fourteen years old. All of the girls in my class are 9 and 10. The problem that we are running into now is that the school is very limited on resources. My teacher wants to get books for the girls that are at the appropriate instructional level for their reading ages but doesn’t have the resources to do so. It is hard for me to watch her struggle with this as I can see how much she cares about these girls and wants to provide them with the best instruction possible but it is hard to do so without books, in this case. So girls are struggling with the class anthology that we have and others are completely bored. This is where differentiated instruction would be key, and my teacher and I are trying to provide this for the girls, but with the little resources they have, it is extremely difficult. As a whole, this class has around 20 leveled reading books, and that’s it.
Other than that frustration everything else is going really. We are introducing space this week and the girls seem extremely interested in it. My parents and sister are coming on Thursday, which I am also extremely excited for. They are going to be coming into the school on Friday to meet the girls and meet my teacher. My teacher wanted to have an “American Tasting Day,” so my mom is bring over lots of American candy, which the girls cannot wait for. We are also trying to see if my parents will be able to see the girls do a run through of their show for the choir. My mom sings in 2 choirs so I know she would love that!
This weekend we took a water taxi from San Pedro to Belize City. We then took a taxi to the Belize Zoo where we got to see that national animal, tapir, the national bird, toucan, and the national flower, the black orchid. We also got to see some resuced jaguars and a black jaguar. We had a great time at the zoo, the staff was very friendly and it was nice to see the national symbols that are posted in every classroom, I would highly recommend people to visit there in the future!
Today we went to New Horizon for Harvest, an Adventist celebration. We got to see the school that Melissa is at and meet the teacher she is working with, the students, and the principal. It was nice to see the classes put on performances, it was evident they worked very hard to prepare! The rest of the day we relaxed by the pool. This evening we are preparing for review week this week in school since exams are coming up the first week in December.
This weekend has been great! Yesterday, my sister and my best friend arrived from home. Once they got to the school, we hoped on the bus and headed to Croke Park for the skywalk. The skywalk was amazing. The view was breath taking. We could see all of Dublin from up there. We were also able to walk up and over the field. The field is three football fields long. Croke Park hosts GAA (Gaelic Football) and Hurling matches. After the tour we grabbed a bite to eat at Eddie Rockets and got some delicious milkshakes. After that we went back and took a much needed nap.
Today we had to woke up early and headed to Blarney Castle. On our way we stopped at the Rock of Cashel. The rock is based upon St. Patrick duel with the devil. It was said that there was so much supernatural powers that a rock flew up and landed. At the Rock of Cashel there is many interesting carvings. There is also a church of St. Patrick, with a graveyard. The Graveyard sits on the hillside overlooking the village below. The views were spectacular. Then we ventured further to the Blarney Castle and of course the Blarney Stone. In order to kiss the Blarney Stone we had to walk up a winding staircase that was very narrow. At the top, you could look down to the bottom. The castle was amazing. Once at the top, we laid down on our backs, slide backwards, held on to guard rails, tilted my head back and kissed the stone. It was beyond words the thrill you got. We then walked back down the castle and ventured around the grounds. I wish we had more time there. You could stay a whole day, if not more at the Blarney Castle, there is so much to do. Unfortunately, we had to get back to the bus.
We then headed to Cork City, were we went a pub for some great food. During lunch, the Irish Rugby team was playing New Zealand. It was really cool to see how the locals enjoy their sunday sports game. It is just like how we are with the Patriots. It was so cool. We walked a little around Cork and headed back to the bus. Overall the weekend was spectacular. I would love to go back to that area and explore it even more!
Friday was my first day on my own with the girls! It went extremely well and I was reminded over and over again why I cannot wait to have my own classroom. I gave the girls their tests in the morning, which was slightly interesting because they have both English and Irish spelling tests. The English was no problem, but the Irish was challenging. I had to practice with my teacher many times the day before and the girls were extremely helpful and I could tell that they studied because as soon as I said a part of the word they would all say the correct word in Irish and then write down the spelling. It was a very neat experience for me. Then we had our time for math stations and art. During art we made candles because November is the month of remembrance. This was extremely difficult for my girls, and for me to deal with on my own, because of a tragic event that happened to this class in kindergarten. There was a student named Abbie who had cerebral palsy. She came back to school shortly after an operation, caught the flu, was coughing in class and unfortunately choked and passed away in class. This was obviously a very hard thing for the girls to deal with at such a young age. They keep an angel in their classroom, as all of the girls still feel that Abbie is a part of their class. There were many tears when making the candles because all of the candles included Abbie’s name and brought up a lot of harsh memories for the girls. It was difficult for me to deal with but I did the best I could. I tried to shine a positive light on the situation and tell the girls that they were making Abbie happy by making these candles with her name on them. It seemed to help most girls but still a difficult situation after all. As for the rest of the day, most of the class went to choir rehearsal and the 9 girls that I had left performed a talent show for me, which was absolutely amazing!
Our weekend was also filled with great things. My best friend Lauren came to visit and so did Emily’s sister and family friend. On Saturday we all did the sky walk at Croke Park, which exceeded all of my expectations. We were able to see so many amazing views. Croke Park is bigger than Gillette Stadium, and the sky walk is like a cat walk that goes around the top of the venue. We had to wear harnesses to walk around the sky walk. It was all outside so we were able to see where different places were in relation to other places in Dublin, which was extremely helpful. Then we all regrouped and napped before meetings up for dinner at Madigans, of course☺
Today we did an Irish Day Tour out to Cork City and to see the Blarney Stone and Castle. We got to kiss the Blarney Stone, which you had to do upside-down and backward! It was a little scary but totally worth it! Cork was beautiful and we ate at an amazing pub there, where we got to try a new beer called Murphy’s! Overall a great weekend!
This week was a wonderful week at school. Dr. MacMillan came to observe and we worked with a small group on some creative writing. These students all have better oral expression than written expression, and it was great to at least begin to put their ideas into writing. Dinner was great, and our trip into Nantwich was wonderful! It is a really beautiful area, and I can’t wait to go back in the daytime and get a better chance to view the village.
At Leighton, the mornings are dedicated to Literacy and Numeracy and the afternoons are more of a “prep” time for the classroom teachers, where the TAs, and other professionals take over lessons, usually including Music, Art, Geography, Science, etc. While I have been here, I have been concentrating on the Year 4 students in the mornings, working on lessons in Literacy and Numeracy (we have been working on persuasive writing in Literacy, and place value and muliple-digit multiplication in Numeracy). In the afternoons I take 2 small groups for writing (a “speech to writing” group, 2 times a week for each group) and I work daily with guided reading groups.
I really enjoy all of the guided reading groups, but one in particular is absolutely amazing. They all want to show off, and on Friday they were all begging to be the first to read. This is a group of students that REALLY don’t like to read, especially not out loud. N, a boy with cerebral palsy, was one of the students asking to read – he did such a wonderful job- I was amazed! Usually, when N reads, he reads about 1 in 4 words clearly, mumbles 2 words and completely omits 1 word. Friday, he read clearly, at a good pace, and with intonation! At one point, when the character was yelling, N did such a good job it started a whole conversation where all the students tried reading the passage and discussing what manner the passage should be read in and why.
Saturday I went into Manchester with a group of Swedish students who are new to the Crewe area. I had a wonderful time exploring the Christmas Market (which has a lot of German influences; including the decoration, food, and drinks- steins for beers and mulled wine) and meeting different people from the area.
Visited Kayla Sweed at the Leighton Academy on Thursday afternoon. An excellent school with a dynamic staff . Kayla taught a lesson with six identified students …… ‘Twisting’ fairy tales …
All the students were engaged and truly enjoyed the lessons. They actively participated by drawing and/or writing on the white board their own stories. Later we went out to dinner with Julie Scanlon, Andrea and Vicky. Very nice. And later still we went to Duke of Bridgewater pub in Crewe and then to beautiful Nantwich to the Crown Hotel and the Boot and Shoe…. Fun!
Today was sport’s day in honor of the Children’s Day Celebration. This year the theme for children’s day is stop violence against children. Children’s day is a United Nations celebration designed to honor children around the world. There has been activities going on all week at school in honor of this celebration. This surprised me because this is not a celebration I remember ever acknowledging in the United States.
Sport’s day at school today is similar to field day at home. All of the children in the school were divided in to teams. Teams were identified by colors. Two teachers were in charge of each team. I was in charge of the white team with the Standard I teacher. The teams competed in games such as a sack race, lime and spoon race, egg toss, wheel barrel race, free throw contest, toothpick and fruit loop pass. The teachers even competed in a sack race! The students all seemed to be having a lot of fun. My only suggestion would be to have some other activities going on such as face painting or washer toss games for the children who were not currently participating in the games. While the older kids were going, the young children were running around and racing and playing games so giving them some planned activities to do might be better.
I feel very much apart of the school community at Isla Bonita. Students from all different classes greet me in the morning and say hello. When I am walking down the streets, children yell “Teacher Sarah!” or “Miss!” from their golf carts. I was even included in a teacher K.K. (Kris Kringle) so we exchange small gifts Monday and Friday until the last day of school when we have a teachers party and exchange large gifts!
Teacher Sarah! Sounds like you are having a great time and doing well!
It was crazy day at school so the students paid $1 and got dressed up in wacky outfits. There was only two subjects taught this morning, language arts and math. In language arts, the students wrote down their spelling words that will be on their exam, which took about an hour. Next, the students played a trivia game to start reviewing for their exams. I ran the trivia game and tried to get students to work together in groups, but this is something they have never really done before so it took some getting used to. I also did a read aloud with the students. In the past when I have asked students who reads to them at home, they told me that they do not read at home regularly. The class also very rarely does read alouds. The students LOVE doing read alouds in school and they all did so well sitting criss-cross applesauce and following along. In the afternoon, the standard 3 class came in to our room and practiced their dance for the Christmas play. The infant I students spent the hour sitting and watching standard 3. By the time the bell rang, the entire class knew the dance!
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week we had observations from Dr. MacMillan. My lesson Monday was a phonics lesson on the letter M and how to write the letter M. I think my lesson went well. I got some good feedback about using different techniques to keep everyone on task; which is defiantly a challenge with a group of 25, four year olds. I used many different things within the lesson, in order to keep everyone interested. I used songs, the interactive whiteboard, movements, and drawings. There was something for everyone. The second day I taught a lesson on the number two. The class was a little more off task this day and I had to use a few more classroom management techniques, which seemed to work. The third day I was continuing my lesson on the letter M, and took Dr. MacMillan’s advise about bookmarks for their workbooks. The students seemed to like them and were excited to each have their own. Tuesday night me, Emily, Meghan, Dr. MacMillan, Lisa, and all of our cooperating teachers went to dinner, and it was really fun. I had a Cajun chicken wrap and it was delicious. Meghan and Emily had a Guinness beef stew, which I tried and was also really tasty!
The days seem to be flying by, as they turn into weeks and we have so much planned! This weekend Emily and Meghan have friends and family visiting, and Sunday we are all going on a tour of the Blarney castle and Cork city. Monday I will get to take over the class on my own, my teacher will be absent, so this will be my first experience here, teaching the girls on my own and ’m looking forward to it. It should be a busy fun filled weekend. I’m sure ill have many stories for my blog post on Sunday!
It has been a very exciting week here in Ireland. Dr. MacMillan was here to visit and complete all of our observations. So the weekend was busy preparing for them to come, but it was pure fun when they were here. My girls presented oral presentations on Boston for Dr. MacMillan and were more than excited about it. They did a phenomenal job and I was so proud of them! One little girl came to me on the second day of the presentations and told me that she made a poster for me. It was an informational poster about Ireland. She said to me, “Ms. McGuire because you taught us so much about Boston with these projects, I wanted to teach you about Ireland.” My heart absolutely melted.
On Tuesday Dr. MacMillan took us and our teachers out to lunch, which was extremely thoughtful! I got this amazing steak and Guinness pie, which I have not been able to stop thinking about for the past few days!
Yesterday my girls started working on pen pal letters to the kids in the class I was placed in last quarter. The girls worked on organizing their letters yesterday and writing and decorating them today. They are coming out so good! They are putting so much effort into them and drawing so many pictures for their pen pals and writing much more than I asked them to. It really is amazing.
Tomorrow my teacher is taking the day off for personal matters and is leaving the class with me. I am very excited for this opportunity! I will let you know how it goes!
Yesterday, I finished my unit on nocturnal animals. The girls did an amazing job on making a poster with their animal and information about that animal. They had so much detail and information. While working of the project, one of the girls came up to me and said I like this. I asked what she liked. She said that she like having a smaller class size. She enjoyed how we were all able to interact and talk about everything. I thought this to be quite interesting. Today in the word we are fighting for smaller classrooms. This problem is not only going on in Massachusetts, but over in Ireland as well. The girl are squished into a small classroom everyday that does not allow for much movement. The teachers does her best to get them up and moving. She uses a lot of songs that integrate music with movement. She also has the girl do the movements of vocabulary words for Gaelic. It was just interesting to me how students are aware their own conditions in school. They can see a difference and want to also have that way of learning that we fight for.
Today is Garifuna Settlement Day here in Belize. This morning I had a very slow start. It was VERY hot out today. I couldn’t even sit on the lounge chairs because they were scorching. I did some reading in the pool and all of the sudden I heard this noise. I looked up to see a very small boat filled with about 6 people drumming along the coast. They were banging on their drums and singing Garifuna music and waving the Garifuna flag. There is a small celebration that goes on here on Ambergris Caye because the main celebrations are on the mainland where the Garifuna people originally settled. I noticed that when I was at the pool at about 10:30, everyone here had already started drinking. The people next door were cooking out and people were walking by with their Belikin beers.
At lunch time we walked down the beach and stopped at Lily’s Treasure Chest for lunch and some frozen cocktails. After lunch we continued walking and stopped at the Garifuna Settlement party at the Central Park. People were playing drums and doing a traditional dance called the Punta. Next we continued walking down the beach towards Ramon’s Village for some swimming off the dock. The water was absolutely gorgeous and the weather this week has been fantastic.
At about 3:30, Allison and I decided to go jet skiing. We rented one jet ski for an hour (an got the local rate since we’re locals now!!!!). Allison drove first and we went all the way down to the end of the island on the southern point. It was awesome!!! We were flying and we got to see a lot. We then switched and I drove up towards the north all the way up to Captain Morgan’s Retreat. It was so fun and I was flying over the waves! We switched back one more time and after a while, I was thrown off the jet ski in to the water. Allison thought it was absolutely hilarious watching me struggle as I was swimming in the ocean because A. I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe and B. I was shouting how these are shark infested waters (lucky, I was not shark bait today). Once I got back on, we rode around for a while more then returned the jet ski. The guy who rented it to us was very nice and even let us borrow his waterproof watch while we were jetskiing so we would know what time it was.
Today at St. Brigid’s Emily continued her lesson on nocturnal animals – she took her kids to the computer room so they could research ‘their’ animal. Briana reviewed the number ‘2’ with her Junior Infants. Although her kids were ‘lively’ Briana did a great job with them.
Meghan’s students continued and completed presenting their informative posters on the ‘Pilgrims’, the American flag, Boston weather (!!??), and two posters on our sports teams.
A highlight was an incredible solo presentation on Ireland. Thanks for that!
Another good day at St. Brigid’s!
Today is only Tuesday, and this week has been fantastic compared to the weekend! I walked in Monday morning with the news that my passport has been turned in. A garbage man found it in the trash and turned it into the police. I could not be more thankful to that gentleman, who did that. Marino has been great in helping get it back and offering any services they could to help me. After finding out about my passport, Dr. MacMillan came into my class to observe a lesson on nocturnal animals. I originally planned the lesson for a whole group, but on Monday I found out that the chorus was having rehearsal past my time of observation. So, I made the instruction for small group. We had to cut out reading the chapter in their book that corresponded with nocturnal animals because not all the girls were there to listen. Instead, we talked about it and I turned the lesson into teaching about nocturnal. I then told the students they were going to have to explain it to their friends, who were in choir, that I was going to pair them up with to research a nocturnal animal. After lunch, I found out that the chorus was meeting again during my observation, so now I turned it into a small group setting. However, tomorrow, the chorus will not be practicing till the afternoon, so Dr. MacMillan is unable to be their for a final product of my unit lesson. Luckily, because of technology I can show what they made.
This past two days just go to show how much you have to be flexible as a teacher. If you cannot be flexible, then it is nearly impossible to survive as a teacher. There is always things that come up and you have to be able to just kind of go with it. My girls are enjoying learning about nocturnal animals and being able to tell their friends all about it.
Tonight Dr. MacMillan was extremely nice and took us out to dinner. It was a lovely meal at the hotel that Dr. MacMillan is staying at. I had Guinness and Beef stew. It was to die for. It was delicious. Then for desert we had the most scrumptious hot chocolate and cookies. So far the pubs have been amazing over here with a great atmosphere.
Yesterday Dr. Marvelle came to visit me at school. It was very nice to see a familiar face on the island. I taught an hour and a half lesson on multiplication. I stuck to the basics of grouping numbers. The first part of the lesson, I focused on counting and reviewing numbers because this is a pre-skill many of the students are still working on. I was happy with the results of the lesson and realize now that the work needs to be hands on with 5 year olds and also the students need to be up and moving in order to keep them engaged and focused for that long period of time.
In the afternoon, it was cultural day at my school. Teacher Rienny’s cousins were supposed to come to a drumming performance in the afternoon but they did not make it so the students sang different songs and used drums. Allison came by since she did not have class in the afternoon! After school, Allison and I took a quick dip in the pool since it was VERY hot! Then we went to go to see what was going on at the Central Park. We had missed whatever was going on at the center but ran in to Dr. Marvelle and Ms. Codd leaving the Education office. We sat down with Ms. Codd and talked with her about some different things. It was very interesting to see what the education officer is looking for when visiting/ observing the teachers. The main focus is classroom set up and lesson planning but not necessarily the execution of the lesson or execution of classroom management skills. In other words, the paper work is carefully examined but not the actual execution of these ideas.
We met Dr. Marvelle for dinner at Carambas, which was excellent. They gave us a complimentary conch ceviche while we chatted. I was relieved to voice some of our opinions on different topics to Dr. Marvelle and hear some valid feedback. Through this conversation, I decided that I would like to focus less on taking over the classroom and more on working individually outside of the classroom with some of the special needs students and try to make a difference with them in the time that I have left here. I think that I have really become a model for my classroom teacher and she told Dr. Marvelle that she is learning a lot from me, which was very nice to hear. This experience for me has became about learning about myself and how to be resourceful and deal with difficult situations than it is about learning new teaching techniques. There is so much that can be taken away from this experience!
In the evening we had an excellent dinner in a Pakistani restaurant. Anne O’Gara, the president of the Marino Institute, Patricia Slevin, the Director of School Placement, Julie Ui Choistealbha and two other faculty members came together for conversation. One important topic that was discussed was expansion of our relationship with Marino. We would very much wish to have Marino students coming to Bridgewater State and Bridgewater schools.
Well it was a busy Monday in Dublin and at St Brigid’s. Upon arriving at St. Brigid’s I met our three ladies and was introduced to the principal, Jane McMullen. Jane was a lovely and gracious host and made me feel very much at ease in the school. (St. Brigid’s is a 400 pupil all girls school with grades PK to 6. The building was built in the 1920s) I observed the ladies in their classrooms. Emily, Briana and Meghan each taught excellent lessons. Emily (who found out at the start of the day that someone had turned in her passport and wallet) taught a stirring lesson to her 4th graders
on nocturnal animals. She employed DI in her lesson!. She made excellent use of the interactive board (yes, excellent technology at St. Brigid’s). Then after tea I observed Briana teach one of my favorite letters, “M”. Briana had her class of ‘Junior Infants’ (4 year olds) on task and engaged. An excellent lesson. And after more tea and a bit of lunch I observed Meghan’s 4th graders present their Boston and Massachusetts research projects. Presentations were on Boston, the Commons, Cape Cod and one on Massachusetts. The students were totally engaged and very proud of their efforts. An excellent day at St Brigid’s.
The students are required to practice their “mental math” 2-3 times per week. The teachers play a voice recording that asks students to mentally calculate math problems (1-4 step problems involving distance, time, money, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and/or division- basically all kinds of math w/questions starting easy and getting progressively more difficult). At the end, the students grade themselves on how well they did. I struggle when watching this session. A couple of the struggling students in the class have different needs that make the oral processing of this information really difficult. One of the students has double hearing aids and really struggles to maintain attention and to process verbal instructions. It was heartbreaking for me to see these students participate with the class in the practice and then have to mark themselves with big “X” marks all down the side of the paper. When I asked the teacher if there is any lee-way or adaptations available for struggling students she said there is not, because that is how it is given to the students when they are tested (their SATs are tests to our MCAS, but involve more sections regarding phonics, mental math, oral expression, etc.). The teacher said that it is better that the students get the exposure so that they know what to expect when testing, even though it is unlikely that they will show progress (looking at the results throughout the year so far there has been no progress for the students I am talking about, on average getting 4-6 correct answers out of 20). I felt like it must be completely aggravating for students to have to take these tests 2-3 times per week and have to see myself continually failing the tests.
Looking forward to seeing you Thursday at1pm!!
This weekend did not turn out as we had expected. Unfortunately, I was pit pocketed on my way to the airport. With no identification, we were not allowed to fly. It was a terrifying experience that I do not wish upon anyone. I was always cautious about my belongings, but even then they knew more than me. So we turned around and went back to Dublin. Briana and Meghan have been great, helping me get through this. They took me out for a few beverages on Friday night at Madigans, our favorite pub in Dublin.
Saturday we took to Henry Street. We did some walking around a little bit of shopping. We also stopped for some hot chocolate, which was delicious. It was very thick and I could not finish it all. With your hot chocolate they gave you a piece of chocolate from their case. The store was clued Butler’s Chocolate. It reminded me a lot of Godivia. Then we came back to the dorms and got ready to go out. We went to the Dubliner. It was great fun. There was a live band that played Irish Folk Music, as well as modern rock and modern pop songs. It was a blast.
Today we went to the zoo. There zoo was set up so nicely. You were able to see all the animals by following one central path. They also put animals together as if they would be in wild. I thought that was great, considering most zoos keep animals apart. The lions, tigers, and hippopotamus were all kept separate, as they are more likely to attack other animals. The zoo was great fun, and a relaxing way to spend a Sunday evening.
So I know I left the last time I posted saying I had to pack, but our weekend ended up being much different than expected. Unfortunately on our way to the airport, Emily was pick pocketed. Passport, money and cards gone. We were unable to fly to Paris without the passport, but have been looking at it like there was just some reason we were not meant to be in Paris this weekend.
Instead, we made the best out of a bad situation, and went to our favorite pub Madigans and had a few of my new favorite beer Creans and listened to live Irish music all night!
Then on Saturday we made a big breakfast for ourselves, and did some Christmas shopping for the day. I am trying to get it done early this year for one. Last night we went out in the Temple Bar area to a new place and loved it! There was live music there as well, but it was all music that is played back home, which was so nice to hear. My favorite was when the guy decided to sing “Sweet Caroline!”
Today we went to the Dublin Zoo, which is in Phoenix Park, which is the largest park in Dublin. We saw so many amazing animals and it was supposed to rain today but didn’t. So all in all, we had a horrible start to our weekend but it ended up turning out to be a really good one☺
So sorry to hear that Emily lost her passport – so sorry.
I am in Dublin to observe the ladies. I’m here for three days and then to Crewe on Thursday.
But, tomorrow and the next three days
I’m at St Brigid’s!!!
This week feel alike it has flown bye. I cannot believe it is already Friday. On Wednesday I was able to go with the students to Dublinia. Dublinia is a historical museum that explores Viking, Norman, and Medieval Ireland. The students thoroughly enjoyed the viking section of the tour. After that they became bored and uninterested. There was not a place for the kids to sit down and eat. As a school tour, it did not go as I would have thought. The museum did not stop and separate a section for the students. Instead they just had them sit throughout the museum stations. Back home, I feel like when I went on tours in Massachusetts, the places tried to make sure we were all set up and ready to go. As a tourist attraction it was quite interesting to learn the history of Ireland’s growth and resilience.
On Thursday, we had Jungle Dave. The students loved him. He came in a shared his animals with the school. He had an alligator, an iguana, a tarantula, a scorpion, a huge lizard, and a snake. I was able to hold all the pets, except I refused to hold the snake. The girls loved it and he talked about how a scorpion was a nocturnal animal, which was great. My first lesson I am teaching is on nocturnal animals. Without knowing, Jungle Dave tied his presentation into my lesson! I also did my assessment today. The girl who took the assessment was very willing to participate. It was great.
Today at school was quite interesting. The girls had their assessments, but the teacher did it as partner quizzes. The girls tested each other and then talked about it as a whole class. That was quite different from what I have seen back home. We were not able to do a lot of academics, but over half the class had to go to choir practice for the Toy Show. So we did an art project. We made owls with crayons, felt, fabrics and more. They came out amazing and the girl really into it. Overall the week was great and quite enjoyable.
This week at school has been a great week, but very interesting because it was a very unusual one. On Wednesday we had our trip to Dublinia, which is a historical museum about the Vikings coming to Ireland and medieval Ireland. I thought the tour was some what interesting and I think the girls enjoyed it, but the overall tour was a bit rushed and it was a lot of listening the girls had to do. They were so well behaved and I was very impressed with them, but they had a lot of facts just kind of thrown at them. There were also a lot of hands on things to do throughout the tour but the girls weren’t allowed to try them out because of the time restrictions we had. I enjoyed going on the tour but wish it could have been less rushed and the facts geared more towards the girl’s ages.
On Thursday we had “Jungle Dave” come to our school! This guy was amazing! He brought in all types of animals like a boa constrictor, which he convinced me to put around my neck!! He also brought a tarantula, a snapped turtle, a crocodile and other huge lizard things! The girls had so much fun and so did I! We were allowed to touch or hold most of them. I touched everything except the spider, which was just too much for me. I actually got to hold the snake and the crocodile! It was an amazing experience.
Today was another crazy day! I gave my first assessment to two girls in my class, which felt great to get that done. Then for the morning the girls worked on their Boston projects and posters to get ready for their presentations for Dr. MacMillan, which they are beyond excited about! The girls made me feel awesome today as we were cleaning up from working on the posters, many girls came up to me and thanked me for letting them do these projects because they had so much fun doing them. It was unbelievable for me to hear that from them. They really took it on their own and without me even asking to do so, came in the last few days with extra information for their topics and printed pictures from home to put on their posters. It was truly amazing! Then for the rest of the afternoon, after big break, all of the girls had choir rehearsal until the end of the day, which out of 26 girls there are only 9 girls left. So my teacher and I only had 9 girls left in the last for the last hour and a half of school. We had the girls put on a talent show because of the areas the teachers here need to cover is music. The teacher found music videos with lyrics on them and the girls both in pairs and solo got up in from of the class and sang songs and did dances. It was beyond fun! I had a smile on my face the entire time! One girl who has a lot of reading disabilities and self-esteem issues really amazing me today. She asked to sing 3 times in the talent show! I was so happy for her. She couldn’t read the words on the screen and I could tell she was a little embarrassed but she just kept pushing through and trying her hardest, and then still wanted to do more songs. All in all it was an amazing week and today was extra special being able to build closer relationships with the 9 girls!
Now Emily, Briana and I are off to Paris for the weekend! I will leave it at that as I now have to pack!!
This week was our first full week in our placement and it was a very exciting week! On Monday the Sam McGuire cup visited our school. It would be like our version of the World Series trophy except its for soccer. Dublin won the cup this year and it was making its way to the different schools for everyone to see. The whole school piled into the gym and all the girls were screaming and cheering so loud. Then on Wednesday a man named jungle Dave came to visit. He brought all kinds of reptiles and spiders and other scary animals. We got to touch them all and the girls even put the tarantulas on their heads, I was so shocked at their bravery. Some how I ended up with a giant Burmese Python around my neck and a tarantula in my hand. I hate snakes and I hate spiders so needless to say I was terrified; but I’m very glad I got to face my fears. This week I also taught my first phonics and math lessons. We were working on the letter n and the number 2. I actually feel that the lessons went very well, and my teacher seemed to think so as well. I’m still working on some classroom management techniques and I’m trying to make the lessons as interactive as possible for my girls. They are only 4 and 5 years old so I’m using a lot of songs and dances to try to keep them engaged. This weekend we are off to Paris! We leave in just a few hours! I’ll have to blog about our adventures on Sunday!
Yikes; like we speak of in DI kids need to be taught. They need to learn. They need to be assessed. They need more than to be exposed and for teachers to ‘assume’ the students have learned and are ready to move on. This is why we have kids with splinter skills – skills that are half learned and not truly mastered. Students who do not have a solid foundation in the basics to learn the next skill. Good luck!!!
Today I had a moment of frustration. The teacher asked me to prepare an activity on pronouns. I did some research and came up with a few ideas for activities and thought of a lesson for the afternoon. I began my lesson by discussing with students what they already know about nouns. It turns out, they did not remember anything about nouns. The teacher had previously taught this but I decided I had to review it first. Once the students seemed to have some knowledge about nouns, I decided to introduce pronouns. The lesson did not go well at all. I felt like no one had learned anything. At the end of the day, I reflected a lot about what I could do differently. I realized that it is very hard to teach grammar and the parts of speech to students who have not yet really even began to learn how to read. Some of them are still just learning English. I am starting to realize that this is very common. There does not need to be any level of mastery before a new topic is introduced. The teachers do assess, but it seems as if whether the students do well on the assessments or not, the topics move on. The teachers have a very specific guide that tells them how many weeks are to be spent on each topic and there is no wiggle room.
Even earlier in the day, the students were working on two digit addition. However, most of the children do not know the two digit numbers from 10-20. I worked with small groups on recognizing, naming, and counting the numbers from 1 to 20 and doing some one to one correspondence using bottle caps. This is frustrating me the most. The teacher asked me if I could introduce multiplication next week. I wanted to scream. I know it is not her fault. Every topic is introduced at every level, just in different depths. This means that on Monday, every level will start working with multiplication, but in different ways. The students seem to do well without mastering each topic before moving on but this really bothers me. This is something I need to get used to fast!
The past few days have been quite interesting. Over the weekend we ventured to Northern Ireland and saw the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge and the Giant’s Causeway. It was an amazing trip. The scenery is just beautiful and no matter the quality of picture you take, you cannot even come close to the beauty this island exhibits. The bus driver had unmatched knowledge of all the historical and interesting landmarks both in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland. He had stories of his own survival and heroism that made the history of Ireland come alive. He talked to us about a time when he was visiting Northern Ireland. He decided to go in and have a cup of coffee. While in there, he witnessed a person leave a bag. He knew that it contained explosives, so he took the bag threw down a street and ran for protection. This was during the rebellion of Ireland looking for its independence from Britain. I could listen to his stories for ever. They were always engaging!
After the busy day on Saturday, we took Sunday as a recuperating day. I began working on some lesson planning and watching some movies. Later that night I was going with Briana for a walk to the store. On our way there was a hole between the sidewalk and the street that was black and of course I got my foot stuck in it. I ended up spraining my ankle. Because of that, I could not go to school on Monday. Here we walk to and from school. My ankle was too swollen to go anywhere on Monday. Luckily, today the swelling went done some, as well as the pain level. So, I was able to go to school. I was so happy. It was hiring being stuck in the room all day not being able to do anything.
Today at school was great. The students are getting ready for their school tour (field trip) to Dublinia. Dublinia is were you can learn about the Vikings that invaded Ireland over a thousand years ago. I think I am more exited to be going then the students. The students were given a sheet with information and questions on it. I made sure to grab one. I love learning about the history of places. I cannot wait to go tomorrow and see what it is all about!
One of my students, a reluctant reader came up to me today with big, wide eyes and said, “I read the next chapter at home, and I can’t wait to tell you what happens” – It felt GREAT.
In the afternoon today, the students worked on a “map” lesson, where they had to read, follow directions and create a map to determine where to build a school. It was a really interesting lesson. We combined the 2 year 4 classes, and picked groups of 4 for the students to work in. Jo and I took the majority of the students, including all of the students with more behavioral and/or academic needs and worked in one room, while the more independent, higher achieving students worked with a substitute in the other room.
I was amazed at how well many of the groups worked together. This included some students that have struggled to work with others in small groups. I think that the reason most groups worked well is because there were multiple papers / multiple jobs and the students that assigned each person a task worked really well together.
I just made plans to head over to Dublin the weekend after Thanksgiving, and a trip to visit my cousin in Venice in a couple of weekends. It should be exciting! I will get some pictures up as soon as I can.
I have no started my first full week at the school. The girls are amazing and I am so excited to go to school everyday. Most days I go in the girls have bracelets that they have made for me the night before so it’s a good way to start my day! I am finally starting to get used to the schedule of their school day, which is so different from home. It is hard for me to follow because sometimes they only have 15 minutes of a subject, so getting them there on time and picking them up on time is crucial, which I didn’t find as important back home.
Today we started researching different topics on Boston. The girls were so excited to find out more information on where I live. They were asking me if they could do more research at home, which brought the biggest smile to my face.
The rest of the week is going to be pretty short because the only “full day of school” we have is Friday. Tomorrow we are taking the 4th class on a field trip to “Dublinia,” more information to come on that. Then on Thursday a mobile zoo is coming to the school and most of the girls have choir practice during school for the afternoon. I know it might seem weird that they would have choir practice in the middle of the day, but the choir at our school was accepting to sing in this year’s Toy Show! This is a huge deal in Dublin. It is literally a huge toy show on the 29th of November where all of the toys that will be coming out for Christmas are premiered. All the kids in Dublin either go to the toy show or watch it on TV. Because our girls will be singing at the Toy Show, they will be performing on TV, which they are extremely excited about. They just found out that they were chosen last week so now the practicing has been swung into full gear. The school has been trying to get into the Toy Show for years, so it is great that they were finally chosen.
I am sure the week will fly by, but I am not complaining about that as Emily, Briana and myself will be venturing off to Paris this weekend! AHH! Can’t believe it!
This weekend was an amazing weekend. We finally had some time to get out of the city and explore more of Ireland, and Northern Ireland. Saturday we took an all day tour, we left at 6:30 in the morning and did not arrive back in Dublin until about 8 that night. We had an amazing tour guide for our adventure that day. He was a wealth of knowledge and was really entertaining; he made the tour just that much better. After stopping a few times to stretch our legs, our first official stop was at Carrick a Rede rope bridge. It was amazing. It is a 400 year old rope bridge which you cross to get to this smaller island with an amazing view. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking. We were right on the Irish Sea and there were cliffs and islands all around. I was so scared to cross this bridge, I tried not to look down but I just had too. After finally facing my fear though, I can say it really wasn’t that bad. The bridge wasn’t as rickety or shaky as I thought it would be, and I may or may not had my eyes closed half the time. Next we stopped for a quick but delicious lunch at this little restaurant not too far from the bridge. After lunch we went to the Giants Causeway. The Giants Causeway is a natural rock formation from a volcanic eruption. This place was amazing. We were climbing on the rocks, taking pictures, and just soaking in the beauty of what was around us. The rocks extend right out into the ocean and you can walk on them; it reminded me a little bit of the jetty you can walk on in Plymouth, but way more interesting. After climbing up all the rocks we headed back to the bus. Before heading to Belfast we stopped to take a few pictures at an old castle that had partly fallen into the ocean. After we took some pictures it was on to Belfast. We had about an hour to walk around the city and explore. We walked around hoping to find some shops but everything closes early here on the weekends around 5or 6 o clock, so everything was closing when we got there. But we did find a delicious little cookies store and we each got a cookie to hold us over until dinner. The whole day was just amazing! I loved just being able to see some of the countryside of Ireland, I took many pictures but I also made sure just to take a minute and step back to look at the beautiful sites around me. I look forward to many more upcoming adventures in and out of the classroom!
Thanks for your post. Hopefully with Brittney Foley’s help you can post a number of your photos.
See you next week!
Hi All…. Sounds like all of you are settling in. I look forward to visiting Belize/San Pedro in less than a week. Anything that you need that I can get before I head down?
Yes, I”ve been in rain storms in Mexico that were just fierce – nothing like in the US. Rain so hard it was noisey. Crazy parents think their kids will get sick ’cause of the rain.
It’s not just the parents. People in the streets think that we’re crazy for walking in the rain and will yell “you’ll get sick!”. I woke up yesterday morning with a stuffy nose so I am starting to wonder just how crazy the idea of rain making you sick is!!!!
On Friday it poured most of the day. In the morning, I put on my raincoat, wrapped my backpack in a plastic bag, and ventured out in to the monsoon. I walked barefoot to school partly because some people just go everywhere barefoot on the island and partly because the streets were flooded. When I got to school, there were only four students in the class and the poor children were soaking wet. School normally stars at 8:30 but since apparently not very many people go to school on rainy days we didn’t start until about 9:30. Most of the day was spent playing educational games with math and spelling words and having a small discussion. The prinicpal talked about maybe calling the day off. Most of the children go home for lunch so many of them left did and not return. Some parents did not come get their children and called in their lunch order because they didn’t want to come to the school to pick them up in the rain. We ate lunch together inside the classroom which was nice!
When it rains in Belize, it pours! On Friday I only had four our of twenty-five students show up for school. One of the teachers told me that parents keep their children home from school when it rains badly because they think the children will get sick. It was best that the classrooms were combined because my classroom ended up flooding. It has been raining the majority of the weekend so I wonder what tomorrow will bring.
The rain hasn’t stopped Sarah, Melissa, and I from swimming, getting street meat and burritos, or going out to our first club!
Well I am finally starting to adjust to this time difference! Woo! The last two nights I have slept through the night without wake up, which I am extremely thankful for! Also probably because we are now in the full swing of things and I am tiring myself out more!
Yesterday we went on our first tour of Ireland! It was absolutely one of the most amazing experiences I have had. We needed to be at the bus at 6:30 am ready to go. We all got on the bus with this super cute Irish tour guide who just clearly loved his job and had an abundance of information about Ireland in general and everything he took us to see. First we went on this gorgeous bus ride along the coast where we got to see just some beautiful sights. Then our first official stop was at the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge. We all got to cross the rope bridge onto a little island, while crossing over crashing water. I honestly thought it was going to be more frightening but the rope bridge was sturdier than I expected for being over 400 years old! Then we stopped for lunch at a traditional Irish food stop. The food was absolutely delicious! This tour all took place in Northern Ireland, so we needed to exchange our Euros into pounds. To say the least, we had an extremely expensive lunch!
We then had about an hour ride to our next stop, which was the Giant’s Causeway. This is a place along the coastline of Northern Ireland where there are tons or really neat rock forms that are all nature made and not man made. I had heard of this but seeing it was unreal. There were bunches and bunches or rocks all together that looked like rectangular prisms, and to know that they were not man made was breath taking. Being there in general was breath taking, and the views were to die for. I found myself standing there on multiple occasions trying not to move or walk and just take in everything around me.
I also sat next to a very nice man who was visiting Ireland for work. He was from Oregon. We talked about some really neat things for the duration of the bus ride. We met a lot of really great and interesting people on the bus. Two of them we recognized from the night before because we were at the same pub!
This weekend was amazing and I really feel like I got to see some of the parts of Ireland that everyone always talks about, as much as I love going to school everyday ☺ yesterday was beyond amazing.
“Super cute Irish tour guide??”
Did you note any differences between Ireland and Northern Ireland? I’ve been to Ireland a number of times but never to Northern Ireland. Been to County Caven which borders Northern Ireland.
and to County Longford which is just south of County Caven.
I have started to get to know the students pretty well over the past week. There are a wide-range of ability levels throughout each class. It doesn’t appear that there is much done in terms of adaptations and modifications in the curriculum for the students struggling, but it depends on the teacher in the class. The teacher I am working with most closely works hard to adapt lessons so that all students can access the curriculum. In other class though, I have noticed that there is less of an effort to do this.
All classes (Reception through year 6) are all required to have “Independent writing” time, a one hour period of time where students are given a prompt and expected to write. This is a really hard task for all students, but especially hard for struggling students. I worked along a couple of the struggling students and was able to talk out the writing with them so that they had a clear idea of what they were going to write, but I think that some graphic organizers would be helpful. Using graphic organizers, and teaching students to use graphic organizers could help reduce the amount of time that the teacher has to spend with the struggling learners, and make the struggling learners more independent in their writing.
I really like that the school uses journals to keep track of student work throughout their time at the school. The journals begin in Reception (similar to Kindergarden), and show the progress of each student. By having the students glue in each work that they complete, it saves the teacher quite a bit of time when trying to find evidence of the student’s progress (because it is all in one place and in a specific order). This would be an amazing help for some teachers in the United States. I have seen similar things used in certain classes, but I haven’t seen the journal follow the student throughout their time in school.
I really enjoy the camaraderie between the teachers here. The teachers appear to work really well within the grades. There are 2 classes within each “year” (grade). The two teachers work together to coordinate lesson plans (each planning a lesson then sharing it with the other teacher). Often the teachers swap classes so that each teacher can work with each class throughout the day. The classes can be separate or can be mixed according to ability level and the teachers can work together or separate depending upon the lesson. The teaching assistants are also mixed into this process. It took me a couple of days to figure out who was the teaching assistant in the group, because he/she is daily in charge of running lessons, and works with both classes alongside the teachers. I thought this was a great model for co-teaching and I think it could be beneficial in more classes in the United States.
The TAs do a huge amount of work in the school. On top of running lessons and implementing intervention strategies as requested, the TAs are all trained in first-aid in case a student gets hurt. There is no nurse in the school, and the teacher is often unable to leave the class to attend one student, so that job becomes the TA’s responsibility.
I have been working alongside the teachers in year 4, working to help struggling students access the curriculum. I have also been working alongside the reading specialists working one-on-one with students in reading, as well as with group guided reading sessions. The students (struggling readers) are very excited and willing to show their reading achievement to me, and the teachers are all trying to use the interest to encourage students to read. I am still a novelty in the school, the students think my accent is interesting – I was told the other day, “your accent is lovely. I like how you sound like American tv, like Phinneas and Ferb”.
Today was the third full day in the classroom at St. Brigid’s. I am starting to get a better handle on the classroom routine and the schedule. Although I think next week, having the full week will help me get a better grasp on the routine. I do want to say that I will have to take back what I said in my previous post about not having much dramatic play. Today the teacher set up a pet shop for the students which will remain in the class for the next 2-3 weeks. Students can bring in stuffed animal pets from home along with some pet supplies for the shop. Groups of students can visit the shop and make purchases for their pets. There are even order forms for each girl. I think the students will really enjoy this. Today I checked to see that each girl had all their words in their word boxes that go along with their story that they will get next week. I’m impressed that the girls know all the words, but I’m wondering if it is partially memorizing the words because I noticed that when a girl doesn’t know a word, she is not able to tell me the sounds of the first letters in the words. This will be something that will be interesting to look at during my time in the classroom. Next week I am going to start to do a little more in the classroom and I’m really looking forward to that. Later in the week I will be starting to teach some math lessons and possibly some phonics. I am also going to be working on some classroom management strategies next week as well.
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Great pic of you Meghan! As you know I’ve emailed Brittney Foley who is our grad assistant helping us do this blog. Hopefully she can help us learn how to post pictures!
I have now been in the school I am teaching in for 3 short days! The school I am in is St. Brigid’s, which is an all girls school that holds girls from junior infants, or preschool, all the way up to 6th class, or 6th grade as we say! There are 2 classes in each grade, but almost 30 students within each class! This was amazing to me as back in the states we have closer to 20 in each class, and here the rooms are much smaller. There is hardly enough room to walk around the girl’s tables, never mind have room to provide small group instruction. My teacher that I am working with is lovely and extremely helpful, I am really lucky. She is so interested in America and where I come from. Yesterday we already started a unit on Boston! We have begun to fill out a KWL chart. Now that we filled out the second column I am going to come up with 8 different topics about Boston and/or Massachusetts. We are then going to put the girls in groups and give them all a topic to research during their computer lab time next Tuesday. Then they will make posters and give oral presentations to the class. The teacher was so excited when we came up with this plan yesterday and it really made me feel included.
Yesterday during math we were learning how to tell time. The way they say time here is slightly different then we do in the states. Although they learn how to write time digitally, they would never say it like we do, digitally. They would 25 min past 9, or 14 min to 8, which would really be 7:46. This was confusing for some of the girls when they got to the “to” part. Most girls wanted to say 46 min past 7 instead of 14 min to 8. Very interesting from my side of things.
I am also extremely surprised at how little time is given to each subject. The girls are only taught English, math and Irish for 30 min a day. Very different from back home with a 90 min ELA block and 75 min for a math block. The teachers in Ireland also teach all subjects including art and music and the classes we have as “specials” in the US. It is a little crazy for the teachers trying to fit all of that into one classroom in the week, but that is when the beauty of integration comes in. The teacher was ecstatic about the poster idea with the oral presentations because that covers so many boxes for her because she needs to cover art, which will be covered in some aspects with the poster, and also work on self presence and self confidence, which can be worked on before presenting!
We are now off for a night into the city for some pub action, which I am very excited about! Then bed early tonight for us as we have a 6:30 am tour tomorrow morning! More information and pictures to come about that next time!
Today was my third day at St. Brigid’s Primary School. They girls there are amazing. They are so full of joy and excitement. The girls in my class love asking me questions about the United States and I equally enjoy asking them about their lives. It was quite interesting see in the similarities and differences between the two countries is interesting. The girl love the same type of music that most girls their age do in the States. The girls are in love with One Direction and Miley Cyrus. They also enjoy Mackelmore, which are all singers that ten year old girls like back in Massachusetts. The girls also participate in dance classes, gymnastics, and sports like back at home. Here, thou, the national sport is Gaelic Football. I have yet to see a game played, but I cannot wait to watch one and see what it is all about.
Their is also a school choir. The school choir audition to sing at the Toy Show. In Ireland the Toy Show is the biggest ordeal for Christmas. It is were all the toys an gadgets are displayed and introduced for Christmas. Everyone in Ireland watches. They allow three schools from Ireland to sing at it. This year the girl’s choir won and are going to perform on November 30th. This was definitely the highlight of the week. The girls were so proud of themselves. It was amazing to see their enthusiasm for singing and the arts.
Today was also cool because I got to see how Fridays at school worked. Like back home, the girls were asked given multiple assessments to monitor their compression of the weeks material. They were assessed in Math, which they call Maths, English, Irish or Gaelic, and sometimes Music. It was quite interesting how they incorporate two languages from an early age. I think that Massachusetts should try to do it as well. The words are similar to words I have learned in Spanish and there are some that are similar to English. I wonder if this helps them in their schooling as they get older. Many words especially in Science come from a latin base as well.
Overall, it has been great fun over here. The girls are amazing and I am loving every second getting to know the culture!
Mackelmore just played in Boston this weekend – not that I’m an connoisseur of their music!
Very interesting that you all are at a all-girls school in Dublin. I wonder if any of you, Meghan, Emily or Brianna ever attended an all-girls school.
Seems like a pretty academic environment! This is what I saw when I was in Quito at Colegio Menor. First graders using words such as ‘transparent’ and ‘translucent’. Yikes! Strange that for me, growing up in north central Pennsylvania, Williamsport, I did not go to kindergarten. Isn’t it true, even now, in NH that kids are not required to go to kindergarten??
Today was the first day at St. Brigid’s. It is an all girls, catholic school and I am in the Junior infants class; which would be similar to the last year of pre-school. There are 25 students in the class and they are ages 4 ½ -5 years old. I noticed many things that are similar, but also some things that were different. Junior infants is something that is mandatory in Ireland. I found this interesting because, although most do, not everyone in the united states goes to pre-school. The teaching style in the class is very similar to the way we would teach in the United States, although I was very impressed with the subject matter the girls were learning. Some of the things that we were doing in class today were things we were doing in the first grade in my previous placement. The girls were reviewing previously learned words in order to get ready to receive their books tomorrow. They were reading words that I don’t even think we had gotten to yet in first grade. I was very impressed! If I didn’t know these were pre-school aged children I might have thought it was a first grade class. One of the big differences that I noticed about the class was that there was no real time for free play or dramatic play, which is commonly seen in pre-schools back home. This could be though, because the class size is large and space is limited. However the teacher does make sure to get the students out of their seats a lot, and we do a lot of dances and songs that go along with the lessons. I am looking forward to my time here at St. Brigid’s and I can’t wait to see how much I learn from these students.
Today I finally started in my placement in Ireland. I am in a fourth grade class at a school called St. Brigid. It is an all girl Catholic school. Every morning students, who participate in the choir, come in at 8:15 to have choir practice, then they head to their classroom when class starts at 8:35. then at 10:30ish students have a mini break. This mini break, the older students go and “mind” or watch over the younger students in the school. At this time the teachers go to the staff room for a break and for some tea. This is compared to a teacher’s prep tim back home. Here in Ireland they do not have a prep time. In fact at the early childhood and elementary level, the teachers teach Music, Art, P.E., Health, and Library. All of which we have specialist for at home. The teachers here teach everything. They spend about a half hour everyday teaching English, Math, and Gaelic. The teachers also incorporate religion class time everyday. The school as a whole prays every morning and before leaving to go home. It is quite different from what we see over in the state with a complete separation of religion and state. Today I was able to observe and get my feet wet on what they do as curriculum and as a school. At St. Brigid, the teachers follow along with curriculum books similar to what we use back home.
The class had about twenty eight students in it. The room, however, was very tiny. It was quite difficult to walk around and check in with all the students. It was easier at points to just go to the table and have a table conversation over an individual or small group conversation. The teacher did not have any small group activities today. It will be quite interesting to see how small groups are done with such a small room. It makes me think how lucky we are to have space to move around in back home. On Monday, we went to visual arts class at the college. The teacher mentioned the three things students are lacking are sleep, attention, and space. Students need space in order to succeed. I wonder how much impact this has on the larding of the students?
The students in the class I was in, had a great sense of what was expected of them. I found that the students were diligent workers and strived to complete the work assigned to them. Many of the students were eager to see what was next for them to accomplish. This was almost a class mentality, as the majority of the students strived for more information and work.
Throughout the week, the teachers will incorporate lessons on SESE, which incorporates History, Geography, and Science, and their “specialist” courses. Like back in the states they have students partake in these courses once a week. The difference is that the teachers stay with their students and are the ones administering the lessons.
In order to get to the school, we are to take a bus. The bus stop is about a ten minute or so walk from the college that we are staying at. Then we take a bus from their to the school. It is quite different from at home. At home I would just get in my car and drive to school or wherever else I may need to go.
Here in Dublin they have great public transportation. I find it pretty easy to move around the area. The buses bring you into the center town. Once into Dublin city, we are able to access anything we may need. It is a lovely city and I cannot wait to explore more of it.
Overall, today was quite interesting and I cannot wait to keep learning more about how Ireland uses its curriculum. I am eager to find the similarities and differences.
Emily, great to hear from you. Amazing that I will see you in just eleven days! Tell me about St. Brigid’s. It is a public meaning a Dublin school, correct (I know is England public means private and private means public)? St. Brigid’s does not charge tuition? It is a neighborhood school? Correct? Hope you and Meghan, and Brianna are great!
Good to count your (and our) blessings.
I now realize how lucky teachers in the United States are. Here at Isla Bonita, there is one copy machine and it is in the principal’s office. The principal makes all of the copies for the teachers and copies are very rarely used. If a teacher needs paper, there is no supply closet they can run to. There is no color printer. There are no computers in the classroom for the teachers to use or computer labs. The classrooms here are lucky to have dry erase boards, let alone smartboards. If a teacher wants to use technology in the classroom, they need to supply their own. Many of the teachers borrow the standard II teacher’s personal lap top and speakers to show a video. I see this lack of technology and how it particularly impacts special education students. There are no communication boards for students with speech and language difficulties. Deaf students do not have the advantage of a headset or a microphone for the teacher to project their voice. There is no computer available for a student with deformities that cannot write. There are no elaborate manipulatives for students to use in math. The teachers collect bottle caps and the students use those for counting. For science projects, parents must bring in the supplies and if they cannot afford a poster board the students work in groups.
My first reaction to this is to feel sad. The last school that I was at had everything they could ever want and more. If teachers needed something, they could ask for it and more often then not, they would get it. They had more supplies and manipulative than space. It makes me sad to see how some schools can have so many resources and supplies but yet other schools in different countries have the bare minimum. Yet I know from past experiences that some of the children here in Belize have more than other students around the world just by having paper to write on and enough books for each student. My second reaction is to feel grateful. This makes me grateful for all that I have access to and most of all for this experience. With less, I am learning how to be more imaginative and creative. I just finished unwrapping straws and cutting some straws in to 10 pieces as a way teach place value similar to base 10 blocks. I hope that in the future, I can find more ways to use everyday objects and incorporate those resources in to my lessons rather than spend thousands of dollars on manipulatives.
Today was a comfortable day and the first day I felt like I was actually getting to know the children in both schools better. Some are shy and either don’t like to talk or know little English but I am really trying to make connections. I also had conversations with both of my cooperating teachers for the second time about my role. Apparently the Ministry of Education in Belize told them that I would be giving them a “vacation”. I was quite surprised and again told them about my transition from assigning to taking over for a week. I do not know where the lapse of communication happens but it is difficult when they have other expectations. On the up side, I was able to pinpoint my takeover weeks so I can plan.
Sarah, Melissa, and I were just talking about how resourceful we are becoming and I am excited about planning.
I meant to say “assisting to take over”
What are the church services like?? And yes, a long day. Yikes! 45 students!!?? I’m sure a wide range of EVERTHING – abilities, behaviors, temperments!! Yikes!!
The church services start with a prayer, we then sing several simple songs (I don’t know any of them but I think I will learn quickly), a teacher reads a passage from a book and gives their interpretation of it, followed by morning announcements, and finally another prayer before we are released to go to our classrooms. I’m not a religious person but I find this to be a nice way to start the day. Some mornings the final prayer includes “Dear Lord, may you give the teachers patiences to deal with the children.” This always makes me smile.
I agree, a nice way to start the day.
I’m really enjoying my time in Belize but have a much longer school day than I anticipated. I get picked up at 7:20 am and don’t get back to my room until after 5 pm some days. I’m attending church services with the staff in the mornings which is followed by a brief staff meeting. Today I started my second week in the school in Belize, my 4th day in my permanent classroom. My focus for now is on classroom management. My classroom includes students ranging in age from 6 to 8 years old…there are 45 students! It is quite challenging attempting to manage behaviors of 45 students who are a bit disobedient. They are very sweet, loving students but are all over the place in the classroom as far as behavior as well as skills. This is going to be an interesting 6 weeks and I hope I can help the teacher to have better control of the class so that the students may learn more and the teacher isn’t so stressed all the time!
Last week, I spent most of my time in the classroom getting to know the students and the routines. Towards the end of the week, I tried to establish some routines and classroom management. I taught the children how to sit criss cross applesauce during a read aloud. I taught them to raise their hand rather than yelling out or running up to the teacher whenever they had something to share.
While I am teaching them some things, they are also teaching me a lot of things. I am learning a lot about the Belizean culture through the children. I see how children are children no matter where they live or what language they speak. I also see a lot of how the culture impacts their schooling. For example, everyone always says “don’t worry” or “take it easy”. They move at a much more relaxed pace. It has taken me some time to get used to this particularly at school. I am so used to being early and having everything ready beforehand. At home we expect transitions in the classroom to be quick and for students to get started on their work immediately. It is actually very nice to not constantly feel rushed and be racing against the clock.
Today, I started to do some small group instruction. I worked with small groups on subitizing. Last week I was noticing that particular students have trouble generalizing in phonics and math. For example, they can identify the numbers by counting but they can’t identify a number of objects or know they the letter sounds but do not understand the relationship between letter names and letter sounds. Today, I held up a card and asked the students to look quickly at it and determine how many objects were on the card without counting. After they took a look and gave me their answer, I showed them the card again and broke it down in to groups. For example, a card with 6 stingrays, a student could identify the 6 when they see 3 on the left side and 3 on the right side. This also starts to build a foundation for addition.
One thing that I am really struggling with is the rate of how the topics are introduced. Sometimes I feel that the teacher is moving on but a lot of the students have not fully grasped the previous topic. As a result, a number of the students are lacking foundational skills. For example, they are now learning addition but many students do not yet have enough number concept or number sense and still need practice counting 1 to 10. As always, there are a number of other factors involved such as absences or possible learning disabilities. What do you do when you have a class with a very wide range of skills? I think that in all inclusion classrooms, whether in Belize or the US, teachers need to make important instructional decisions such as: Do I review and reteach or do I move on?
Not good to go too fast! You using your DI skills??
I don’t think I am ready for that quite yet with this group… hopefully by the end of this week! I have just started working with small groups and the whole group towards the end of last week. I am still trying to establish effective management techniques with the students. However, DI will likely be effective because students do not normally raise their hand, they are used to calling out. Establishing a signal for the proper time to answer out loud and together will be very helpful!
I am excited to write my first post for this blog! We arrived safely in Dublin, Ireland on Saturday! The sweetest woman Patricia picked us up! I loved her from the very first moment. She was so welcoming, nice and friendly. She brought us to the school that we are being housed at, which is the Marino Institute of Education, in the St. Mary’s building. This school is located right outside the city of Dublin. After we brought all of our bags to room, Patricia took us into the city of Dublin to show us where to get some essential things and took us out to breakfast at an adorable café called the Avoca Café. It was located in the top of a precious store that you had to walk up a very large spiral staircase. The café was decorated with white Christmas lights and it had the nest atmosphere. I had pancakes and bacon and tea of course, because that is the thing to do here!
After we finished in the city, Patricia brought us back to the college, and was so sweet and bought us a case of water and some groceries to get us started. There is no meal plan here like there is at Bridgewater. We have been given vouchers to use to get breakfast and lunch at the campus restaurant, but it is not open for dinner as many students by groceries and cook dinner, which is what we will be doing! When we got back to our room we all too a nap and relaxed the rest of the night.
Sunday morning we got up and went grocery shopping at the store down the street from the school to get a few more things. When we got back we made breakfast and did some booking of tours we will be doing next weekend as well as booked a hotel for when we go to Paris in two weeks! (which I am BEYOND excited for) I then had a chance to Skype with some close friends and family back home, which felt better than I could ever imagine! After relaxing for the morning and afternoon we ventured into the city of Dublin on our own! We took the bus into the city and got off on one of the main streets called O’Connell Street. We then got a map of the city and went onward from there! We walked past Trinity College and through an area of the city called the Temple Bar area. Here I saw the cutest thing I have ever seen. A man was sitting on a stone was playing his guitar singing the song “I’m Yours” by Jason Maraz, with his young son standing next to him jamming out on his own miniature guitar, binky and all! Everyone who was walking on the street stop and took out their cameras and phone to record what they could, it was so cool! We then went to our first official pub called Madigans. The food was amazing and I had my first Guinness draft beer! So far I am a fan! The bartender was a teacher in a primary school so she talked to us for about a half an hour about the school systems here and different things. She also told us to come back and see her if we needed anything at all. It was so comforting!
Today we had breakfast with some of the staff from Marino, who is amazing. We then had a great tour of the school and learned a lot about its history. Also, we had a chance to sit in on a Visual Arts seminar, which was extremely interesting. We had lunch with a few students we met in the seminar and was shown around the library and how to use all it has to offer. We ended our afternoon with tea, coffee and hot chocolate with the staff from Marino of course! Patricia got to have coffee with us, which was great to see her familiar face! Emily, Briana and I are currently relaxing before we prepare our first meet together, which I am sure will turn out great!
Great to read your first post. Sounds like you girls and adjusting nicely. Yes, I think Guinness is pretty tasty (looks alot heavier than it is). I am very much looking forward to seeing you and Emily and Melissa the week of November 18. Probably do your classrooms and observations that Monday and Tuesday. We will all go out for food and a beverage (or two) one night … either Monday or Tuesday night (Wednesday I fly back to Manchester). You girls scope out the pub that we should go to. Keep blogging!
Peak of the weekend: Friday night we listened to live music and enjoyed some rum punches right on the beach (Allison opted for her favorite: orange fanta). We spent Saturday afternoon hanging out on the dock, swimming in the ocean, and relaxing by the pool!
Pit of the weekend: After having mosquito bites that have turned in to large welts, I have some to the conclusion that I am allergic to mosquitos. From now on, I will not be leaving my room without insect repellent!
A rum punch in one hand and insect repellent in the other – you need to post pictures!!
Today is our second day in Dublin. We arrived yesterday at 7:30am Ireland time, which was 4:30am Boston time. It was crazy dealing with the time difference. When we first arrive the program coordinator, Patricia, met us at the airport. It was awesome meeting her at the airport. She made me feel comfortable and excited to be here. She always had a smile on her face, which helped with the nerves.
After she met us at the airport, we put our luggage in her car and she got us a taxi to go the college. The taxi driver was awesome. He had visited the States, so we were able to connect with him. He told us stories of America like trying to travel to the Cape on a Friday late afternoon, during the summer. He also talked to us about how he grew up in Dublin and how when he was born the area he grew up in was a village. Now, he said, it has been more modernized. It was amazing listening to his stories.
He dropped us off at Marino, were Patricia met back up with us. We are a dorm all together. We then took a trip into Dublin Center, which is about a fifteen minute drive from Marino. It was cool to see how much an area can change from one point to another in a fifteen minute drive. Marino is a gorgeous area with trees and beautiful old architecture. Then you walk five minutes away and it starts to turn more into a city with only cement buildings and no greenery. Driving through Dublin, it felt like being in Boston. It was cobbled stoned, crazy street directions, tall brick buildings. It was a cool experience.
Today we are planning to go explore O’Connell Street and she what Dublin has to offer! Tomorrow we are meeting with the college’s President and taking a tour of the college. We will also be taking a gaelic course and art seminar. On Tuesday we will be meeting with our teachers and on Wednesday we will begin our student teaching. I cannot wait to being all the new adventures coming our way!
Great to hear from you! Yes, Marino is in a beautiful area. Are you in the residence hall or are you in the main building – where the offices and classrooms are? And yes, Dublin is similar to Boston!
Today we had a wonderful discussion at lunch time about the numerous cases of allergies in the US school system. I was amazed to find out that very few students at Leighton Academy are diagnosed with allergies. In fact the teachers told me (and there is a list in the teachers room) that in the whole school there are only about 5-6 students known to have allergies and another 4-5 that can’t eat certain foods because of religious and/or cultural reasons. Only one student has an epi-pen and it has never had to be used.
The teachers were shocked to hear how common allergies are in the US. They had never heard of “air born” allergies, and didn’t realize that some students could be affected by particles of allergens in the air.
I think it must be nice to not have allergies be a constant source of worry for a teacher. Also, it got me on the conversation with the other teachers about what causes allergies. I have considered this topic before, but it makes me wonder if the US’ crazed view upon germs/dirt and their obsession with hand sanitizers really is affecting student health. Also, are students in the US overdiagnosed? Or is it a combination of the two?
Well, I always say ‘dirt is my friend’! Yes, I do think we have gone a bit overboard in the US but then again in the early 70s we had 50,000 some people die in car accidents and I think now it is some 35,000. A huge drop. Don’t know about the allergy thing ….. too many perservatives in American food??
And Kayla, we will go out Thursday night, dinner with Julie and your cooperating teacher, then
stop at the Duke of Bridgewater pub and go into Nantwich! Fun! Thursday, 21 November!!
That sounds like a lot of fun! I just thought that was a large difference in the number of students with allergies – The teachers here were shocked, and have asked me (1 week later) what other students thought about that.
This morning as soon as I arrived at school, I was greeted by one of the cutest little boys, Johnixon. He came over and said “HI TEACHER SARAH!” and gave me a huge hug!
During break I got to know the standard one teacher and her intern, Yasmire. They were telling me what one needs to do to become a teacher in Belize and how hard it can be to find a job. They both said they would like to go to school in the United States but you have to know someone to get a scholarship and it is not easy. It made me think about how easily people in the United States take things for granted. I know how lucky I am to have the chance to get an education but I think that college in general has become so common that people don’t realize that it is a luxury.
In the afternoon, I taught a very basic lesson on phonics and identifying letter names and letter sounds. The students seemed to really enjoy it. I tried to use some classroom management skills that I learned in my previous teaching experiences and it was starting to work but the class has a lot of different habits that I am not used to.
I came to learn that Halloween is celebrated very differently here. Parents send candy to the school and the school delivers it to a nearby neighborhood. Tomorrow, they will be dismissed at 12:00 and instead of returning for an hour of language arts, they will come back with their parents and dressed in their costumes. As a class, they will go to the houses that have the candy (in the daylight). After trick or treating, students will come back to the school for a fair with games and food. The parents pay a fee to get in to this fair but the way everyone talks about it, it should be a very good time!
So when in Halloween celebrated in Belize? Have you not had the holiday there??
Third day of student teaching in Belize! At the end of the day I joined a meeting between all of the preschools in the area. They meet once a month to discuss their plans for the following month. I’m sure it was interesting but they only spoke in Spanish. At least I know what the themes are for the next two months- five senses and shapes. Here we go!
Here you go Allison! Good to see you (and reading) blogging!!
30 Oct (Wed)
Today I got the opportunity to meet some of the lower achieving students at Leighton. I shadowed Vicki Robertson and got the chance to getting to work with and develop a relationship with some of the students. Vicki uses Reading Recovery as an intervention program and running records to monitor student progress. The students usually “warm-up” by doing independent repeated readings at the beginning of each session. Two of the students I got to meet and work with today have limited verbal communication, but they are very good at getting their points across. Beyond these two students there does not appear to be a very diverse population among the students at the Academy. I have been told that the population is becoming more diverse each year, with more Eastern European settlers arriving in Crewe (many from Poland). Their system for working with students whose first language is not English is called “EAL”, similar to our “ELL” program. I do not yet know how the Academy teaches these students (if it is full English immersion), but it will be something to consider and ask questions about.
Similar to there being little diversity in the language, there is appears to be less diversity in the variety and range of students needs. There are certainly struggling students at the school, but the needs do not appear in as common as I’m used to seeing in the States. I wonder if this is because Leighton is a semi-private school or if this is seen throughout the schools in England (are substantially separate facilities common)? I was told that “T” had no verbal communication (year 1- 5 yrs old), but his skills were higher than some students I have worked with in the past. In reading a leveled story at an early level, T was able to pick out and say the |a| for “a” and could mimic the other words in the story (not clearly, but enough that I could understand them). When a sentence was cut up, T could arrange the sentence into the correct order so that it made sense (with some redirection to focus).
I have also. Noticed a very competitive culture here in the UK. All activities involve some sort of competitions: “Isn’t line one behaving better than line 2” “line two loses this game”, singing competitions, academic competitions, etc. I think that it is nice to see some competition, but it is so far different from the US education system that I am sometimes thrown off-guard. Parents in the US are so overly sensitive to these things that they would be completely off-limits.
Parent sensitivity in our culture brings me to my last observation of the day- almost all classes have individual academic objectives posted in the room for all students and adults to see. I like that the teachers are open about the objectives because I think it can be beneficial for the students to know what they are attempting to work towards. I do not like that the objectives are visible to everyone though, because it feel that as students get older (especially in a school that places an emphasis on competition), some students could be ridiculed or ostracized when their objectives are not at as high of a cognitive level as other students. I think there could be a compromise where objectives could be posted in the students journal for the student to see, and discussed with students individually, but not posted in front of the classroom. I like when general objectives are posted and discussed for the group, but it makes me uncomfortable to see each student’s individual objective posted.
Overall, there are some really fun things going on, and it is interesting to discuss the differences with some of the Austrian and Swiss students that are working at the same school. It is interesting to compare and contrast with the US education system, the UK education system and the other education systems.
31 Oct (Thurs)
All the students are so excited about Halloween, it’s almost like being home. Students have been discussing their costumes during the breaks. I have found that the students are very well behaved at Leighton- polite behavior is ingrained in English culture (rarely will a student not hold a door for you, or forget to say “please” or “thank you”). The students are very well behaved during classes and Are held accountable for heir actions at all times.
I worked with Vicki again today and met a wonderful student in year 2 named “A”. A struggles with oral processing and verbal communication. He also struggles with gross and fine motor skills. During the session, A began to complain about P.E., how he disliked it and it was boring, and it was very apparent that A had a lot of anxiety when it came to P.E. A asked Vicki to go to P.E. With him, but winces hew as busy she volunteered me to go, which I gladly complied with (he’s a really adorable kid with a funny, funny personality). Vicki told me that A cries everyday before and after P.E., but he seemed to get along very well, just knowing there was someone around to support him. He participated and was smiling and interacting with his friends -I loved every second!
After, I got the chance to see how the Speech and Language Pathologist spends the day. Jo explained to me that currently there are substantially separate buildings for students with profound and multiple needs, but students with more moderate needs are part of every school system.
Some of the apps used in the Speech Therapy:
That’s silly app- shows pictures that have just one thing wrong and students have to touch what’s wrong. Students tell the teacher what is wrong with the picture. (Ex. A dog with bunny ears)
Busy scenes/ busy business- looking at picture of a scene and recognizing What is out of the ordinary and describing what is different, what should be there instead, why it is not supposed to be there. For example, a fish swimming on the land.
Splingo- gives directions in 1,2,3, or 4 steps and students must follow them (place the pen on the large blue bed) and students have to find where the pen is supposed to go. Seems like a good app for prepositions, nouns and adjectives. It can be customized to include specific directions (for example, just prepositions) as well as for degree of difficulty. It also gives immediate feedback if a student gets a direction wrong.
Kayla, wow, lots of interesting observations in your blog. Guess I need to take notes in order to craft an insightful response to your post. I have never been to Leighton so that’ll be interesting to see in contrast v our ‘old’ school, St Mary’s.
The story that I have heard is that the priest (one of them in Crewe), and this is years ago, was from Poland. So when the UK and other countries expanded the EU to form the European Community Poland became a member – like in 1993 or so …. maybe later ….. and hence one has freedom of movement over most of central and western Europe. Hence the Polish kids in Crewe.
Sarah, Sounds like you had a full day. Interesting about ‘p3nis’ (that they are teaching the word and our blog won’t accept the word). Seems you’ll have to “figure out” the classroom organization and management system. As we say, when in Rome we act like Romans! Good luck ….
Did you know Allison before going to Belize? Hope is housing?? My thought is that you are in a small town on the island?
Thanks for the posting!
I only met Allison once before coming. Housing is very nice. We are right on the beach and have a pool! It is a very nice family owned hotel where everyone is very friendly. We are just north of the center of town in San Pedro. It is a small town but the island itself is best explored by golf cart! Ms. Codd pointed out to us where Dr. Marvelle will be staying it is a very extravagant resort… you should try to make the trip with him!
We’ll, I’m off to the cold and damp of England and Ireland at the end of next week to visit with Emily, Meghan and Kayla.
I didn’t know that Dr. Marvelle would be treated so well. He deserves good treatment!
Today was my first day being at my placement in the Isla Bonita School. Miriam came and picked us up at our hotel and took us to our schools which was very nice. I was the last one dropped off so I got to see where the other girls are teaching. I am placed in the Infant 1 room with 17 students who are 5 years old (the equivalent to kindergarden in the U.S.). The room was very nicely decorated with cartoon curtains, a colorful alphabet, and a number of other colorful posters. There were 18 desks, one bookshelf, and one short table for the teacher’s desk. The desks are wooden chairs with desks attached. On the back of the desks, the students hung their backpacks and kept their books inside.
When I first arrived, the classroom teacher was out at a doctor’s appointment and a young girl, Yasmine, in her internship was filling in for the teacher. She was reviewing letter names with them and rewarding the students who got the letter name correct with a marshmallow. The students were so excited to get marshmallows!! I got a chance to talk with her and discuss what she had learned in school and what type of work is required for her to become a teacher. She had some questions about the teacher preparation programs in the United States too!
The teacher came right around 9:30, when the students get a half hour break for snack and some time on the playground. After that, they were reviewing the body parts of males and females. They were given a blank paper and told to write their name and I am a male/female and I have a p3nis/vagina (this blog does not accept the word when I click to submit!!). I was totally surprised by this because this is not something that we normally discuss in schools at that age. I guess it makes sense as it is parts of the body to start discussing this early on using the correct terms.
The classroom experience was very different than what I have seen in the United States. Many of the students were constantly moving out of their seats. Students were throwing pencils and bottle caps across the room. At one point, two boys were wrestling in the back of the room. When the students want to get the teacher’s attention, they yell out “teacher!” and go over to her so that she has a swarm of students around her. It was very interesting to see the classroom management used in this room. I started to think that some students who misbehave are seated in the back of the class… this is something I need to remember to ask the teacher!
After school Allison and I spent some time walking around town. We went to the bank and stopped at a local pastry shop. We sat on the dock and talked to some locals who told us that some restaurants on the island serve Thanksgiving dinner! I was pleasantly surprised to hear this! Once Melissa returned, we ate some dinner, talked about our days, and went to get some homemade ice cream to finish off our first day of school in Belize!
I just spent 45 minutes typing up a solid amount of information about my trip on this blog, and when I went to send it – there was a communication error and all was lost. So instead, I’m going to summarize because I’m wasting valuable non-raining time.
I got to Crewe yesterday, and Julie has been doing everything possible to make me feel comfortable here. Julie introduced me to other students in the area that are part of an exchange (mostly from Austria and Switzerland) all have been extremely nice.
I went with them to Leighton Academy today (where I will be working) and I am going to a Halloween party Wednesday and Friday with other students. Apparently Halloween (the Americanized version) is a hot topic around here, people have been asking all kinds of questions (some really enjoy the holiday, others not so much). November 5 is a big holiday around here, Guy Fawkes day should be a big celebration with bonfires and fireworks – though the story is a bit gruesome, it should be fun to see the festivities.
At the school, everyone was extremely nice to me. Hospitality is embedded in the culture here, and I’m a bit of a novelty being from the States(which helps). The principal spent the majority of the morning showing me around and introducing me to the school. He spent time to discuss the differences in the administration system here and how the school is run (similar to a Charter school but not quite) as well as making general small talk. I can’t imagine an administrator in the US being able/willing to devote that much time to a student teacher.
Andrea is wonderful as well. I met with her and Vicki (similar to what I guess would be a special education director but is also responsible for assessments as well as interventions). Reading Recovery is very popular here, so I plan on doing a bit of research to get to know it better. By the end of the day, we discussed my having the opportunity to visit the different years and different teachers to see how things are run and to get to know the students. Ultimately, because my degree is in Special Education, they would like for me to run a guided reading group to help struggling readers as well as be a part of mathematics intervention when it is possible. I’m really looking forward to working at Leighton for the next couple of weeks!
I am off now to look into the “travel club” which should be off next weekend to see stonehenge and hopefully they still have room available. Also, I need to see if there are any more tickets to the Manchester United game tonight, which should be extremely fun!
I am living in a small house with two adjunct professors who are extremely nice. I have a room to myself, but we do share a kitchen. They gave me a double room, in case anybody is interested in visiting. I will take this opportunity to let students know the room is available, especially since I know there are some students from Dublin which is so close. Theres not much directly here, but the train is a 2 minute walk and can bring people into different places across the country for the day. The only problem with my housing is there is no internet, which means my access to the internet is only at the library. I may not get the chance to post everyday, but I can type up the information and post one big blog every chance I get.
Anyways, I’m off now to look into the different tickets I will be needing for tonight. I hope everyone is having a wonderful time – Good luck this semester.
Great to read your posting. I was just emailing Julie. Yes, I have stayed at Halfway House a number of times. (of course, in the US ‘halfway house’ has a different meaning). I’m looking forward to seeing you the morning of 21 November (Thursday) and hopefully for dinner that evening. I’d like to take you to Nantwich – a beautiful village just outside of Crewe. Keep blogging!!
Sarah, So good to hear that you and Melissa and Allison are safe in Belize. Seemed that there were many there in Belize to assist you. Great to hear that everyone worked together as they did. Blog away.