At Student Teaching Placement in Ireland, Paige Fichte '22 Explored Teaching Methods and Culture Student Profile
Meet Paige Fichte '22
- Education Pre-K – 4th Grade
- College Activities
- Strong Women Strong Girls mentor and advocate
- Oakmont, Pa.; Riverview Junior/Senior High School
- Now Living In
- Pittsburgh, Pa.
- Dream Job
- Second grade teacher
- Hobbies & Interests
"In Point Park's School of Education, you make personal connections with faculty and staff, and they provide you with all the support you need. The professors genuinely care about you and want you to succeed. I have made connections with professors that I will have for the rest of my life. The School of Education is like a family – everyone is rooting for each other."
Why did you decide to complete your student teaching abroad in Ireland?
I have wanted to go to Ireland since I was in high school. The idea of seeing where some of my family and ancestors came from has always appealed to me. Once I learned that I could go to Ireland and teach through Point Park's study abroad program, I knew there was no way that I wasn’t going to go. I love teaching, and my whole goal in teaching is to change the world one child at a time. What better way to do that than by traveling the world, working with amazing kids and making an impact on them!
Paige Fichte visited the Grafton Street shopping
district in Dublin.
What subjects and grades did you teach?
At Rathmichael Parish Church of Ireland National School, I taught kindergarten, first, second and fourth grade classes, and I was a classroom assistant in third and fifth grade classes. I spent most of my time with second grade, where I was able to teach math, reading, science, history, geography, drama, visual arts and social, personal and health education.
I enjoyed how much freedom the school's teachers had to plan and teach. Here in the U.S., we have a set timeline of what to teach and what part of the year we need to teach that topic. In Ireland, they are able to teach what they want when they want to an extent, as long as everything is covered by the end of the school year. I loved having the freedom to teach subjects that I am passionate about. I also loved how much joy the children found in learning. They asked me every day what I was going to teach them. They had so much love for being at school, which was so refreshing. As a teacher, it sustained my excitement for finding interesting lessons to keep their joy of learning alive.
How has your study abroad experience impacted you professionally and personally?
It has shown me that, as a teacher, you truly never stop learning. I had to navigate a new language, Gaeilge, which was implemented throughout the school day. I discovered ways to improve my lessons every day. The experience also gave me the chance to create who I am as a teacher. It instilled a confidence in me that I don’t think I would have as a person or an educator if I did not study abroad.
Another key benefit to teaching abroad is you are exposed to methods and styles of teaching that differ from those we learn about in the U.S. There is a completely different education system in Ireland, and that is an alternative viewpoint I can bring to my future teaching roles. I learned how teachers in Ireland make learning engaging and keep the kids excited to come to school. They have a very student-led learning environment.
Aside from allowing me to develop my skills as an educator, my experience in Ireland really helped me find my independence. I traveled there by myself, so if I wanted to do something, I had to go and do it alone. It was difficult at first, but by the time I came home, it was a new normal for me.
Why would you recommend Point Park's School of Education to a prospective student?
In Point Park's School of Education, you make personal connections with faculty and staff, and they provide you with all the support you need. The professors genuinely care about you and want you to succeed. I have made connections with professors that I will have for the rest of my life. The School of Education is like a family – everyone is rooting for each other.
What are your career goals, and how is Point Park helping you to reach them?
My career goal is honestly just to teach. I would love to teach second grade. One of the great things about Point Park is that the professors have connections and are there to help you achieve your career goals. Professors Christal Edmunds, Kamryn York and Virginia Chambers have been amazing mentors and educators throughout my entire journey at Point Park. They have helped me grow into the teacher I am today.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
“If you can dream it, you can do it.” –Walt Disney
View highlights from Fichte's time abroad in the video below:
The School of Education also offers student teaching placements in Spain. Click the link below to learn about Samantha Elliott and Haley Stephenson's experiences teaching at El Castillo SEK International School in Madrid.