Teaching Abroad in the Emerald Isle: Education Majors Serve as Student Teachers in Ireland Tuesday, April 30, 2019
“My time in Ireland was epic. I can’t thank my professors enough for this opportunity, and I am beyond grateful to Point Park University for giving me the chance to study abroad in Ireland."
Seven Point Park University School of Education students — Madison Gray, Mary Isaac, Alexis Kitchen, Abby O’Connell, Megan Oleksa, Daniel Strickland and Madeline Walstra — had a once-in-a-lifetime experience completing their student teaching practicum abroad at SEK Dublin International School, Kilcoole Primary School, Greystones Education Together National School and Glebe National School all in Wicklow, Ireland.
“Ireland was one of the most wonderful experiences I have ever encountered in my life. I taught MYP2, which is equivalent to eighth-grade English,” explained Strickland, a secondary education English spring 2019 graduate with a dual certification in special education grades seven through 12.
“It was so rewarding, yet challenging due to language barriers. However, my training at Point Park made me feel prepared to take on this challenge,” added Strickland, who graduated from Keystone Oaks High School in Pittsburgh.
“The trip was quite cost effective and it allowed me to explore a piece of the world in which I admire so dearly,” Strickland added.
When they were not teaching, the students explored a variety of cities from Galway and Dublin to Cork and London.
“My time in Ireland was epic. I can't thank my professors enough for this opportunity, and I am beyond grateful to Point Park University for giving me the chance to study abroad in Ireland,” said Isaac, a Pre-K through fourth grade and Pre-K through eighth grade special education spring 2019 graduate from North Allegheny High School in Wexford, Pa.
Prior to the mid-February through mid-April eight-week experience, School of Education faculty members Darlene Marnich, Ph.D., professor and chair; Virginia Chambers, Ed.D., assistant professor and Kamryn York, M.Ed., part-time instructor and Ed.D. in leadership and administration student, traveled to Ireland in October 2018 to finalize details for the students’ school placements.
Marnich and Chambers then returned to Ireland in April to do a final student teaching evaluation of the students.
“The students did an amazing job student teaching abroad, continuing to foster our positive relationships with schools in Ireland. They all really exceeded our expectations for this experience,” Chambers said.
Issac added: “I have had the ‘luck of the Irish’ on my side and got blessed with an amazing school, cooperating teacher, staff and host family. My biggest tip for those who are looking to come next year and do this, is to have an open mind to everything. Be willing to jump out of your comfort zone and be one with the Irish!”