Day 3: Observation Day

Today marks the day that all 26 student teachers are given the opportunity to observe and make notes of the classroom(s) they will be teaching in while staying in Dublin.  After going through the daily routine - showering, dressing, and eating breakfast, my roommate and I made our way across Ballyboden Way to Sancta Maria College, a private school for all girls.  Ron the previous day showed us the back entrance to the school and helped show us around the area.  That helped a lot for the first day.  We went the same route as we did then and eventually after going through most of the school we found the main entrance.  (It was hard to determine where it was because they have construction of a new part of the school occurring.  The Principal and Vice Principal met us and introduced themselves while also prepping the teachers we were going to be working with.  After sitting down and hearing the guidelines and the schedules which of course included the annual 15 minute break of tea and coffee, we then commenced into our separate classrooms to observe the teachers.

The first teacher I worked with during the observation process was Rachel.  She seemed very nice and was willing to help me in all ways.  For the first couple classes, including 1st years, 2nd years, and 3rd years, Rachel introduced me to the class by saying that "we have a special guest from the states in the back.  His name is Brad and he will be observing and eventually teaching some classes.  If you have any questions involving the math in the classroom you may also ask him." and then continued with each class (instead of grade levels, the school goes by years in high school, so 12-13 year old students or 7th graders would be 1st year and so on).

While observing these morning classes, I noticed that almost all the curriculum lined except for a couple things, literally just wording and notation.  For x's, instead of just making to lines crossed, the make two loops that don't really touch.  For the order of operations, instead of PEMDAS they use BIMDAS (Bracket, Indices, and so forth).  Also, they use highest for GCF and lowest for LCM.  Finally, instead of the letter z, they say "zet" and use bracket notation for geometry instead of using lines or arrows above the points.  All these differences though made very subtle changes to what was being taught.

During our lunch break, Rachel told me that Monday and Tuesdays are the schools Math Assistance Days during lunch and that after I ate lunch I could join the teachers in helping the students.  I gladly accepted and finished my food and joined the teachers.  At this time, I also got to meet the other teacher I would work with named Jenny.  In the afternoon I observed her classes even though they were 5th year and 6th year students that I would not be teaching.

At the end of the day I met back in the staff room with my roommate and started to trot back home.  As we stepped out the door, the weather took a turn for the worst.  Just after a good hour of sun and 60 degree weather, it became rain, sleet, and wind around 30 mph in seconds! Literally we were being blown away down the street.  After being drenched and getting a good workout trying not to fall over due to the breeze, we made it home safely.  All our clothes were soaked through and through and needed to be hung up to dry.  I doubt that they will ever be dry again!

The day came to a close when we met up with the family to eat dinner and then sit down for a bit of tea and conversation with the parents.  The daughter, Ava, had piano lessons with Ron's cousin during the evening and Jordan and Evan were supposed to go a night walk with the school, but that was cancelled due to the weather.  Apparently people lost power and eve had warnings for the weather.  Anyways, we then decided to head up and work on finalizing any paperwork or material we may need the next day.  I know for myself I most likely won't be able to teach till the following due to an inspector coming in and going through the entire math department.  So for now I will be helping the teachers, the staff, the students, and observing from afar.  It's getting dark so fast here...literally around 16.00 it's pretty much dark outside.  Night life adventures will have to wait for another day.  Till then.