I wish I could record all the moments students have said funny things, whether intentionally or unintentionally. I would already have so many, even though I’ve never even had my own classroom! And for some reason, the children are even funnier here perhaps because of their adorable accents (especially when they say dammit…it’s become so commonplace that I don’t flinch anymore or feel shocked, but it’s still hysterical to hear a little boy smack himself in the head and go “Oh, dammit!”)
As I mentioned in the previous update, I was with the first class boys on Monday because their teacher had to be out and I stayed with them on Tuesday as well. Then yesterday (Wednesday), today, and tomorrow, I am doing my Senior Infants class by myself because my cooperating teacher went to Paris with the 6th class boys for four days…it’s like an annual trip they take. I was SO nervous to have this class to myself…they’re definitely known as the most difficult in the school and it already is a tough school. However, I have fared quite well and feel like I am truly a teacher in that I can control them! (For the most part. You can only manage 5-6 year olds so much…they’ll still roll on the floor. :))
Several things happened yesterday that made me laugh, but of course, I cannot remember them anymore. (Early Alzheimer’s?? Eek.) Today though, we start off the day with our prayers and date/weather type of stuff. So we were discussing seasons and started talking about Christmas in the winter months (oh, and one boy went on and on about putting out muffins for Santa…guess they don’t leave cookies! Or they would call them biscuits. Oh! Side note: they have like shortbread, buttery cookies/biscuits, and they’re called Digestives. hha. I thought they were special things for the first month I was here, for people who had digestion problems…nope, just cookies! haha) Anyways, so we’re discussing winter and so I was asking the children what happens when we change over from December to January. I was beating around the bush and trying to jog their memories by saying things like, “When people stay up real late, like till 12 in the nighttime…” etc. One little boy, who actually is quite smart and mature, shoots his hand into the air and gets this excited look on his face. I call on him and he’s like “What happens is people stay up real late in the nighttime and then they go to the pub!” Hahahah, I couldn’t help but laugh a bit because he knows so well…that’s actually what I did on Christmas Eve this past year with my older brother in the only pub of South Whitley! But I got to explain New Year’s Eve to them, as well as Thanksgiving a bit later since we got on the topic of holidays.
Also, these children are hysterical as they “practice” in the halla for their day of races at the end of the school year. It’s similar to a field day, I think, and most of the older boys do actual races but the Junior and Senior Infants clearly don’t do this. So we’re preparing them to do this group “race”, where they are placed into groups of 4 and stand inside hula hoops. Then they have to walk together from one end to another. Let me tell you…it is quite the sight to see all these little boys in their uniforms trying to move together in one hula hoop! And to move them into place, it’s easy because you just pull their hoop. ahha. But the first day we tried it, they were loving it (mostly) and so many of them were tripping and falling over each other, then the group couldn’t get back up because they were stuck. It was quite comical. Today though, as I was taking my class to the halla to go practice with the Junior Infants, I had one of my littlest boys come up to me absolutely sobbing with red eyes and everything. He was tugging on my skirt going “Teeeacher, hiccup, teachhhherr…”. I was shocked to see him crying so and when I enquired as to what was the matter, the poor boy asked if he had to do this ‘game’ and that he hates it because he gets pulled. I tried to explain to him we were changing it so no one could run and fall, and we might change the groups so he isn’t with the same boys, but he started crying anew and begged me not to do it. He was shaking with fear from this ‘race’! I wasn’t going to force him, and it absolutely broke my heart to see him like.
Another note: I’m terrible at some of the Irish and we were playing this body parts game while waiting to leave at the end of the day and the children always correct me. One little boy who is so precious and hysterical told me “Miss Woodward, you don’t have it. But you’re catching the hang of it.” It was funny to have him reassure me. And another dreamy little boy was singing “Boom shakalaka, boom shakalaka shakalaka” on the way out to yard while he spun around a pole.
Haha, oh and they don’t have cursive writing here! I found this out the hard way when I was with the 1st class on Tuesday because they were copying down some sentences in their news copy. I saw on the plans they were supposed to practice their “joined writing”, but apparently it’s just print that literally is connected! I began writing in the cursive I know on the board, and I hear behind me, “Class!” “That’s so class!” hahahaha. (P.S. “Class” means “Awesome”) They were positively AMAZED by my cursive, but then of course, they all wanted to try it so I was able to use it as a motivator in a way. As they got further along, I would erase one sentence and rewrite it in cursive because they loved seeing it/me writing it. haha
I’m trying to think of other things, but it’s all failing me currently. I received some wonderful compliments over the past few days from the other teachers and principal as to how I’m managing with these difficult classes and how I fit in so well with the staff…they keep asking me to come back and teach. To be honest, I would if I could! It’s funny, too, because I”ve begun imitating the Cork accent on accident (a bit different from the rest of Ireland). I especially catch myself doing it in the classroom since I refer to things in the Irish way…I”m just hoping I stop doing some of it when I get back in the states because the kids will be like, Huh?! And I keep wanting to add ‘like’ onto the end of many of my sentences since that’s a very Cork-like thing to do, too. It’s fun though…I feel that I fit in so well. It’s truly depressing to think I leave in a matter of one week and two days. (I also have NO clue how I’m going pack everything back up, which I’ll have to then leave at Heathrow Airport while I backpack for a month. Oh well…I’ll make it happen!)
I hope everyone had a WONDERFUL Mother’s Day and are finishing up the school year in a positive manner. Congrats to all of my fellow graduates this past weekend! I’m 6 days of teaching and one large assignment/a few smaller ones to go, then I’ll have my degree as well. Cannot believe how it flew! xoxo