Hello! I’m Aisling. I’m 34 and I teach here in Ireland, which is home to me. I grew up in Dublin and, after a 10 year career in publishing and event management, I re-trained as a teacher 6 years ago. I love teaching and often wonder why I didn’t go that direction from the beginning. I’m currently teaching 6th class. These children are in their eighth and final year of primary school. They are typically 11-12 years old. I love working with this age group and love the relationships I can build with the students and the fun I can have while we teach and learn together. I run a bilingual blog called Réalta Ranga which translates as Classroom Stars.
Primary Schools in Ireland
Gaelscolaíocht & Bilingualism
The school I teach in is also interesting in another way – in terms of language. Some of you may be already aware that while English is the most widely spoken language in Ireland, we do also have our own language which is called Gaeilge. All children in Ireland learn Gaeilge as a school subject right through both primary and secondary school. However about 8% of our primary school children attend a ‘Gaelscoil’ like the one that I teach in. Gael = Gaeilge and Scoil= school. This is a school where all subjects (except English) are taught through the medium of the Irish language. The children don’t speak any English at all for the first year and a half of their schooling as we use a model of immersion education. The children typically begin school with no Gaeilge whatsoever but by the end of their first year would be fluent to an age-appropriate level. By the time they are in my class, almost ready to move to secondary school, they are bilingual and I’m sure many of you will have read about the many cognitive benefits of bilingualism. I feel really privileged to teach in such a school and to be part of this rapidly growing movement in Irish education.
This is a short video on Irish-medium education if anyone is interested to hear a bit more about what it’s all about!
Typical School Day
Children begin school each morning at 8.50am and finish at 2.30pm. They have a ten minute break at 10.30am and a half hour at 12.00 for lunch. The subjects we teach are Irish, English, Maths, History, Geography, Science, Music, Drama, Visual Arts, Physical Education, Religious Education and SPHE (Social, Personal and Health Education). We do not have specialist teachers as I know many other education systems do and so these subjects are all taught by the one classroom teacher. We also do not have Teaching Assistants, which I’ve seen that many teachers in the UK and the US have. The only time that there is another adult in the room is in the case of an SNA (Special Needs Assistant). An SNA is there to work directly with a particular child who has a special educational need which requires them.
Realta Ranga is a teacher in Ireland, the author and owner of the Realta Ranga Blog and and store on Teachers Pay Teachers. You can also follower on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!
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