Teaching practice time

Friday March 7th 2014

Hi everyone!

I’ve swapped my lie ins for early mornings, my usual attire of an O’Neills jersey and hoodie for a shirt and tie, and my last minute assignments have turned into well prepared (I wish!) lesson plans. This can only signal one thing – Teaching Practice has finally started! After 6 months of the student life the time had come to be “Mr. Barrett” for a full 6 weeks.

After a great week off at home, due to my primary school having their mid-term break (the small perks of teaching!), it was finally time to put all the lectures, classes and preparation to good use as I began my first lesson last Monday morning. Thirty excited and enthusiastic children staring up at a nervous student teacher seemed like sending a lamb to the wolves! Thankfully, once I got started into the lesson things went according to plan! As a good friend of mine said “A good start is half the work” and to be fair she wasn’t too far wrong!

With the first week finished and well into the second one the paper work seems never ending. Evaluations, reflections, schemes, resources and plans are all part of the job, and all have to be kept on top of to ensure the ‘School Experience File’ is ready and up to date for tutor visits! Even with all the preparation and lack of free time I’m really, really enjoying the whole experience of teaching! To see the children engaged, interested and enjoying what I teach makes the hours of work beforehand all worth it. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a child give you the right answer after you’ve taught them – if they can do that, then maybe I’m on the right track!

With 5 more weeks of teaching practice left and University holidays further down the line, it means I’ll be away from St. Mary’s and the daily routine of Uni life for a full 10 weeks. I miss the banter and craic of class, nights out and seeing friends everyday in Belfast, but placement is vitally important and simply has to be done! When you put the paper work to one side and leave the stress behind, I’ve no doubt it will turn out to be the most enjoyable and rewarding part of my course.

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With all this talk of teaching practice you’d swear my life has been engulfed by it! In a small way it has but you always need to find time to enjoy everything else! With sport being a huge passion of mine, many nights have either been spent running the roads as part of our scholar marathon training or sticking on the football boots for the GAA club’s pre-season. I feel like I’ve done the full 26 miles already and hit the wall but I know it will all be worth it in the end!

As part of our marathon training I decided to help set up a Running Club in my student halls, Elms Village. This gives students the chance to stay healthy, get fit, and work towards their own personal goals. It also gives me that extra little motivation to head out training on those cold and wet nights! Running can be a lonely sport but when you have a group supporting and encouraging each other it makes everything a lot easier!

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I couldn’t let this month’s blog pass without mentioning a very important and inspiring event. Last Friday night over 150 young people, along with their families and friends, attended the annual Pope John Paul II Award ceremony, which was organised by a youth group I’m involved with called Clogher don Óige (Clogher for the Youth).

For those that don’t know, the Pope John Paul II Awards allow young people to take an active role in their communities by partaking in activities both in Parish Involvement and Social Awareness – these can include reading at Mass, coaching under age Gaelic teams or helping out in the local charity shop. You can achieve a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Papal Cross Award levels depending on how many hours volunteering you have put in. I completed the last stage of the award in 2012 and I can’t recommend it enough to students currently in 6th year, as it can provide you with enjoyment, the satisfaction of giving something back and many new experiences and opportunities.

Our special guest speaker for the night was Ryan Cinnamond. Ryan told his incredible story of how in November 2010, when he was 15 years old, he suffered a ruptured aortic aneurism, which led to the loss of both his legs to his knees. His harrowing ordeal, his long road to recovery, and his experiences of how important his family, friends and community have been to him truly inspired each and every one of us. It was an absolute privilege to meet him and he is a shinning example of how to lead a Life Without Limits. Watch this little video to find out more about Ryan’s inspirational journey. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLs27gg6ibw

I hope everyone’s enjoying teaching practice and I’ll talk to you’s all soon!

Killian