What Irish teachers say
“People who have travelled and worked in remote and challenging communities will often tell you that ‘you get so much more back than you give.’ Soon after beginning work in Umkiang, a small jungle village in remote North East India I came to know and understand this deeply. The dedication and interest shown by the Indian teachers was inspiring. The insights and experiences within this intimate community were as special and unique as one could ever hope for. It was an incredible opportunity for me professionally and personally. So now I am one of those people who say, ‘you get so much more back than you give’, and it’s true.”
“Our journey in education was to take us to many locations rarely visited by people from the West - the hot, humid plains of this tea and rice growing region rise into the Jaintia hills and border Bangladesh and Myanmar. For many of us this would be the highlight of our careers in education. Our task was to work with teachers and technical trainees in developing skills best suited to their working environment. Their tremendous dedication and belief in the value of education inspired us and reconfirmed our commitment to educating young people, both Indian and Irish”
Clare McCarthy, a Secondary School Teacher
“This is the most important thing I have done in my 25 year teaching career.”
Maurice O’Mahony, a Primary School Principal from Cork
“I was a member of the Global Schoolroom Team in 2010, and was involved in the first year of the three year programme developing the teaching skills of Ugandan secondary school teachers. The Global Schoolroom Programme ticks so many boxes for me:
• It is extremely professionally organised and volunteers’ health and safety needs are paramount;
• The pre-departure training is rigorous;
• GSR works with the Ugandan Ministry of Education ensuring that effort is not duplicated;
• It offers the local teachers something of real and lasting value – an internationally accredited qualification;
• It aims to build in sustainability and a mentoring programme so that in due course the teachers can pass on the knowledge gained on the course to their peers;
• It allows Irish teachers to develop professionally and personally by giving them an opportunity to live and work within a Ugandan or Indian community, sharing their skills and experiences and bringing home to their classrooms an insight into what happens in schoolrooms in other corners of the globe.
The assignment I undertook with Global Schoolroom has been a truly positive, memorable and valuable experience for me both professionally and personally.”
Cathy Geraghty - Member of GS Team 2010
“I qualified as an English and Religion teacher in 2007. My passion has always been to travel, so volunteering was something I had planned to do at some stage. From the moment I found out I had been accepted to take part in the Global Schoolroom programme I was excited. The organisation was very professional and the fact that they have backing from UCD and Cornmarket was a huge bonus. I did feel slightly nervous about the task ahead, however through the workshops beforehand and the personal link with people who had’ been there and done it’, all my queries were answered and I was put at ease.
I would say to anyone thinking of volunteering for GS to go for it! There is so much to learn from this experience both professionally and personally. India is an amazing country. Although the experience can be challenging at times, it is manageable. You will see just how little we really ‘need’ things, and come back appreciating the luxuries we have. I can appreciate the many opportunities we have that others in India do not.
As Nelson Mandela said ‘Education is the most powerful weapon with which we can change the world’.....with Global Schoolroom you really feel that is true.”
Emma White (ASTI) - Member of GS Team 2010
“When I was chosen to go to India as part of Global Schoolroom in December last year, I wrongly though that I was going to be teaching the Indian teachers. When I got there, I realised that the programme was so much deeper than this and we were actually able to share ideas, strategies and concepts with the teachers there. Yes they may have learned from me but I also learned a lot from them. We have a lot more resources in our schools, but often it is the simple teacher-student time that is the most valuable teaching tool. Global Schoolroom made me more appreciative as a teacher and also humbled me. It was a brilliant experience. I will never forget my time in India and both my teaching and my life have been enriched by this experience.”
Helena McSorley (INTO) – Member of GS Team 2010
“The Global schoolroom initiative is making a real difference. It is impacting on how school communities work and how pupils learn in North East India. It is an enabling and empowering tool for participants, a tool by which Indian teachers can evaluate and improve teaching and learning. This has been and continues to be a life changing process for participating teachers from the East and the West. It respects the power of education to break cycles of injustice and inequalities, thus providing opportunities for all. I feel extremely privileged to have participated in Global Schoolroom. The preparation was thorough, the support was unfaltering, the commitment was inspiring, the learning is long-lasting and the memories are unforgettable.”
Jenny Dooley Ryan (INTO) Seconded to PDST from Salesian Primay School, Fernbank, Limerick
“Visiting North Eastern India with Global schoolroom was an opportunity of a lifetime...rather than being a visitor in a new land, I felt I was seeing beyond the obvious.. My images of India include the laughter as we introduced "rock the boat! into a lesson plan, the candlelight lesson planning sessions in the evenings and the excitement of school visits. The honesty and welcoming disposition of the people will forever be with me. ”
Matthew O Connor (ASTI) – Member of GS Team 2008
“My name is Olivia and I was honoured to be a member of the first team of teachers who travelled to India to work with Global Schoolroom. I knew from the very first introductory meeting in Dublin that it was going to be an experience of a lifetime and I was not disappointed. The people I travelled with were amazing, all with different areas of expertise and talents. Everyone had a shared goal and really loved passing on their knowledge to our Indian colleagues. Whatever the Indian people and education system gained from me I believe I was the lucky one. I cherish the memories of the smiles of the people I worked with. The children's faces still make me happy when I think of them. Fr. Anthony was so kind to us and proudly wanted to show all his country had to offer from tea plantations, churches, village schools, beautiful scenery, mudslides, colour, foods, singing and dancing. I cannot praise this project enough and I am thrilled to see it grow from strength to strength. Global Schoolroom is a project to be immensely proud of. I would recommend anyone thinking of giving some time to do this work abroad to take the chance. You will always be delighted you did.”
Olivia Mc Garry (INTO) – Member of GS Team 2007
“Global Schoolroom has been the single most rewarding project I have undertaken in my teaching career. The most rewarding aspect of the programme is that it is a reciprocal learning process for both Irish and Indian teachers. I learned a huge amount about the Indian culture, formed strong friendships and examined my own teaching philosophy. Working with such an inspirational group of Irish teachers forged a deeper respect for my chosen profession and strengthened my love of teaching. In each of the last two years that I have participated, despite the considerable amount of work involved, I have returned to my job in September feeling energised, full of new ideas and with a greater understand of the gift of education.
The programme itself is hugely worthwhile to the Indian teachers. I have had the privilege of witnessing Indian teachers grow in confidence and up-skill their teaching methods. It never ceases to amaze me how much the Global Schoolroom students respect and value our contribution to their development. My lasting memories of my trips to India are of hard work, firm friendship and friendly faces. I can highly recommend Global Schoolroom to anyone who has an interest in Educational Development. ”
Patrick Sullivan (INTO) – Principal of Ard Rí Community National School Member of GS Team 2009 & 2010
“In July 2010 I had the privilege to work with Global Schoolroom in the most beautiful, exotic jungle of Umswai in North East India. To say that it was the experience of a lifetime and one of the finest of my teaching career to date is indeed an understatement. I was overwhelmed by the courtesy, enthusiasm and warmth of welcome which I received in Umswai. While in general North East India suffers from widespread poverty, the positive attitude of the teachers in Umswai was a great motivational factor in delivering the programme. The purpose of the program was to work in partnership with the Indian teachers in order to develop educational knowledge, skills and policies which could be effectively implemented in the largely under-resourced schools. As a teacher I gained far more than I contributed both from my two colleagues with whom I delivered the programme and the teachers and staff of the Don Bosco School Umswai. The Global Schoolroom programme is bringing sustainable and positive change to the communities in North East India. I would highly recommend Irish teachers to participate in this worthwhile, progressive programme. It was a life changing, sometimes challenging yet highly fulfilling experience.”
Sinead White (INTO) – St.Conaire's N.S., Shannon , Co.Clare Member of GS Team 2010
“India is an amazing country to visit as a tourist. They say it assails all your senses as soon as you set foot in the country. To spend time there as part of a community is even more amazing. To do so in one of the remotest and less visited parts of India - the north east - can only be described as a privilege. The people there are very welcoming. They are gentle, kind and so willing to make our stay a good one. Working with teachers in their unique environment is a learning curve for all concerned. I feel I came back to Ireland enriched both professionally and personally.”
Siobhan Brennan – St. Laurences Boys National School,
Lower Kilmacud Rd, Stillorgan, Co Dublin. Member of GS Team 2008
“Global Schoolroom is all about people. First there are the members of the Global Schoolroom team who begin as acquaintances, develop into colleagues, and ultimately becoming firm friends. Then there are the Indian teachers whose appetite for learning is as great as their remuneration is small, whose hospitality, friendliness, good humour and thirst for knowledge constantly energise us. There are the pupils, many of whom endure all the hardships and deprivations associated with the developing world and yet turn up smiling and enthusiastic at their schools each day.
And there are the Salesian priests, in whose parish schools we work and in whose homes we stay, attempting to provide the best possible education with limited resources constantly striving to improve the quality of teaching and learning and to upgrade buildings and equipment. Global Schoolroom has been good for me: in the many new and exotic places I have seen and experiences I have enjoyed; in the Irish and Indian people I have met and befriended; in the new teaching skills I have learned from my interaction with my Irish and Indian colleagues as part of this programme. It has given this fifty-something-year-old new challenges, new energy, new ideas and a renewed love for my career. ”
Tony O’Rourke (ASTI) Member of GS Team 2007, 2008, 2010