Week 2 of observations are done and what an interesting week it was!
Monday and Tuesday were spent in a secondary school. That was ‘insightful’ to say the least. I noticed something in the secondary setting that I hadn’t seen in the primary. In the primary school I have been observing in, the children who aren’t necessarily interested in being there tend to stay quiet and just not try. In the secondary school however, the teens who have no interest in being there aren’t simply disinterested but disruptive aswell. I was stunned to see these teens put a huge effort in to ensure nobody in the classroom could learn anything. Perhaps I’m naive but I couldn’t believe the extent of this disruptive behaviour. I hope this does not come across as patronising but I genuinely hope those that want to learn get the opportunity to do so or at least are not put off by those that try to stop them.
Wednesday – back to the primary school. It was quite an experience to see the children excited to see me back. They all had a big hello and asked me where had I been. It wasn’t long before I was asked for the answer to last week’s riddle (What word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it? Short) and for some new riddles too. I asked them “What’s as big as an elephant but doesn’t weigh anything?”. I got some pretty amazing(ly wrong) answers and again, told them they’d only find out the answer if they did their work and behaved.
Wednesday was also the day that I introduced the puppet (whose picture I believe should appear above if I’ve uploaded it correctly) to the nursery groups. Towards the end of each nursery group’s day, I landed down to perform a puppet show for them. The nursery staff were very appreciative when I offered the week before and told me there was no need but I reassured them that even if I didn’t have an audience, I’m still such a child that I’d probably still play with it around the house (To be honest, I’ve even replied to a wedding invitation using the puppet by making a ten second clip and emailing it to the bride and groom-to-be).
The first group liked the puppet show but were stunned at the puppet’s appearance more than anything else. The second group LOVED it. It was such a nice experience. The puppet was called Mr McDonald, and he was old. And he had a farm. Naturally, we moved on to the nursery rhyme and the puppet asked them what they knew about farm animals and what type of things happen in farms. I had known from the week before that the nursery staff were planning on covering farm animals for this week so I thought an Old McDonald puppet would complement their work nicely.
Thursday – Back to reality – no puppet shows today! Thursday I spent my final observation day with the group I will be teaching in November. I was plagued with questions all day long – “Are you moving back to Ireland?, Are you coming back to us?, “Can you stay and teach us?, “Why do you have to leave?”, “Can you give us one more riddle before you go?”. The riddle I gave them was a visual one. I lined nine pencils up on a table and told them they weren’t allowed break any but they had to make ten. The whole class looked puzzled until a girl who had never appeared to be bothered with the previous riddles walked up and rearranged the pencils in to the word ‘TEN’. She looked at me nonchalantly and said “Mister, that was easy” and walked away. When I asked her had she seen it before she said “Nope, but you said you had to make ten; not ten pencils”.
No school today. I’ve caught up on some sleep, on some reading (James Rollins – The Devil Colony), some Breaking Bad and I’m typing this! This afternoon I’m dedicating to getting my house in order for next week – the return to the lecture theatres.
This Sunday sees my beloved County Mayo take on Dublin in the All-Ireland Football Final. Here is a Youtube link to the highlights to last year’s meeting between the two sides http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9AOY7-JVyA. It’s a long clip but if you haven’t seen Gaelic Football before, you’ll witness what I see to be the second best sport in the world (behind hurling).
And that’s my summary of the week that’s been. I’d better make a start on putting my notes together and getting some work done ahead of next week.
Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work I go….