Week 8:
Goodbye, Farewell, So long

International Fellow in Elementary Education

Holy Family Junior School | Ennis, Ireland

December 15, 2018

One Girl

Two sets of visitors

Three new countries

Four forms of public transportation

Five new family members

Six hours of time difference

Seven different classrooms

Eight weeks abroad

What an incredible journey this has been. It feels like a couple weeks ago I was sitting down to write my very first blog.

I would be lying if I said my journey abroad has been all rainbows and sunshine, figuratively and literally (it does rain quite a bit here in Ireland!). However, I would not change any of the rainy days or moments of this trip. I am a strong believer in everything happening for a reason and have learned to cope with the unknown throughout this experience.

Traveling abroad and teaching in another country has made me much more cultured, and helped me gain a deeper understanding of education, but has also helped me find myself.

During these eight weeks, I have become much more independent. Before beginning this experience, I would not have gone to lunch or dinner alone ~comfortably~. However, after eight weeks in Ennis, I have found comfort in having a meal to myself, brainstorming ideas for my next lesson, or reflecting upon my previous one. Not only have I enjoyed a nice plate of bruschetta reflecting and brainstorming but I have found a happiness within myself that I did not even know was absent. Engaging in the life happening around me, rather than staying locked inside my comfort zone (aka my phone) has been so beneficial.

The final days of my teaching experience were busy, making them quickly slip away. This week we had the two Christmas Concert performances, one during the day for the Holy Family Senior School, and the other a night for parents and families. These shows were brilliant, and all the hard work and practice paid off!

Holy Family Junior School. All the classes in the hall for the finale of the Christmas Concert.

Most importantly, the children enjoyed themselves and sang with smiles spread across their faces. The school had an amazing turnout and The Hall was packed with an audience that was as happy with the children’s performance as the staff.

Set of the Christmas Concert.

The students made Christmas wrapping paper this week in room one to decorate the corridor for the Christmas Concerts. The abilities of students’ art always amazes me, as somehow, they always come together and it ends up creating a masterpiece of artwork. The students in room one are excellent artists.

Masterpieces by the artists (students) in room one.

This week, I also had the opportunity to see The Nutcracker at the Glor Theater, thanks to my home-stay host, Bríd. This show was absolutely fabulous. A grand performance by the Professional Irish School of Dancers. The dancers were amazing, and I was very impressed with their storytelling through intense movements.

The Nutcracker at Glor.

I am thankful to have gotten to grab a coffee and talk with a couple teachers whom I have been working with the last couple of weeks, in order to get to know them on a more personal level before departing this weekend.

School Signs

I cannot believe my journey home begins in a few hours. I will never forget this amazing adventure or any of the students at Holy Family Junior School. The impact this experience has left on me can never be erased.

Room One at Holy Family Junior School on my last day student teaching in Ireland.

Tegan Shelton '19

Tegan is an elementary education major from Spring Grove, Illinois.