Day 9: First Day of Teaching Abroad

Today marked the first day that I was actually teaching in the classroom.  Today involved two classes - teaching first years (Jenny's class) and teaching second years (Rachael's class).  I was so eager to finally introduce myself properly to the students and finally convey my knowledge of mathematics and listen to their responses and reactions.

For both classes, I went and gave the students note cards to write down their name for me to take attendance while also getting to know their name.  On the back of the card, I had the students write down any questions they had for myself, for SRU, and any questions about the American culture.  Both classes were back-to-back at the end of the day (14.25-15.05 and 15.05-15.45).

The first class I taught was the first years in Jenny's classroom.  I first started the class by introducing myself to the class and then carried out the note card process.  Afterwards, I then began to teach the concept of Factoring.  The topic involved prime factorization trees or the process they use a list of factors by division.  This then led into the discussion of multiples of numbers - this was discovered by several ways including skip counting, actual multiplication, and even the concept of adding the number to itself.  Each of these ways were very helpful for the students to understand and comprehend the information.  Lastly, due to the first day of introduction, I did not assign mathematics which made the students really happy.  Before they left, I collected the note cards and then moved onto the next class.

Just as I was leaving the classroom, Jenny came in and asked how it went.  I told her it went very well.  Before I left, she asked me if I could make a copy of a test she was giving out the next period that she forgot to make it larger (A3 to A4 size) because one of her students is visually impaired.  I said sure!  However, the struggle was real - It took myself and three other teachers to learn how to "blow" up the page on copier to make the copy.  I then rushed back and gave Jenny the copy to give to the student.  Because of this delay, I was late to my next class by about ten minutes.

I met up with Rachael in her classroom where she started teaching the next class.  I apologized for the tardiness and explained why I was late.  She was perfectly fine and was willing to introduce me to start the class "over."  Finally, I was teaching my second Irish class alone.  The topic being taught involve currency and exchange rate.

The class started similar to the previous class, where I introduced myself and passed out the note card.  The class really liked the idea of a note card to the extent that if not all, most of the cards were decorated and colored.  Afterwards, I started teaching the class about currency and different selections there are around the world such as dollars, Canadian dollars, Euro, Sterling or pounds, and so forth.  From there, I explained the concept of currency and exchange rate - how banks are used to exchange money from one type of unit to the next.  Some of the students even had their own type of money with them of euro, pounds, and some even had dollar bills!

After explaining the different types of units, we then used certain formulas to determine exchange rates and touch basis with interest.  The way I taught exchange rates was VERY different from that of Irish teachers.  I explained the process of using a conversion rate or conversion factor where they set up the conversion via fractions.  Whatever value they gave you in units would then cancel out or divide out and the result would be the different unit.  Some students had trouble with these examples at first, but eventually the students caught on with the concept.  Some even preferred the way of teaching the concept that they said they would share it with their parents - awesome!  The class finally ended with me collecting the note cards from them before the left.

After teaching both classes, I then met up with my roommate John and then headed for the convenient store to drop off his letter and then to the barbershop so that I could get a haircut.

When we got to the barbershop, the place was very similar to that in the states and the barber himself actually cut my hair just like my barber in Portersville.  He did a great job.  And the price was very similar too!

After getting my haircut, John and I then wondered off to the local shopping mall specifically called Pennys (Yes just like our J.C. Pennys, they have a Pennys - just "J.C." less as I call it haha).  This again was a little bit of a journey - just like before we somewhat got lost and did not know the direct route to get there.  We had actually walked all the way up to a place called Rathfarnham, a little town right about Ballyboden area.  Sure enough we were about 45 minutes away from home.  We then finally decided to turn back and just head for home and see if we would meet up with Pennys on the way back.  After climbing hill after hill, we finally reached an opening and saw a tunnel of light between all the tress (yep that was reference to the song Neon light by Shelton).  We had reached Pennys!!!!  This entire time, we had walked around the area that Pennys was located and when decided to walk back straight, we came across the shopping mall.

We can now see why the American students loved heading to this shopping mall.  Even though it wasn't extravagant, it literally had a good mix of everything - from clothing, school teaching supplies, food, restaurants, and even medical centers.  We finally also had a good supply of wi-fi and was relieved to see we were about only 20 minutes from, being that it was already 17.30.

After walking back through the Sancta Maria College area, we had finally reached our host house.  Catherine had just made dinner so we made perfect time walking back.  Dinner was a great mixture of beef and graving and potatoes and some greens and vegetables - reminded me so much of home (Missing your home-made cooking mom!!!!).  Right after dinner, we then went upstairs and situated ourselves for evening work with lessons.  Ron came back upstairs and said he was going to watch the new episode of "The Walking Dead" on the television with his boys and invited us if wanted to - of course we both did!

The episode FINALLY explained the fate of the character of Glen (I will not spoil) and the beginning of the fate of the rest of the characters in Alexandria.  I am so sad that next week is the season finale, though I do have to get caught up on a lot of other shows during this time.

Tomorrow is another day of teaching, especially early.  Two of my classes occur in the morning, with one being at 8.30.  I am so excited to share the typed responses to the questions the students had asked me. Till then.