Author Archives: Kathryn Gesser

Teaching Frost and Plath to Irish students

BY KATHRYN GESSER, SECONDARY TEACHER EDUCATION’18, CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE

Kathryn Gesser'18, Education, Champlain College

This semester I was one of ten Champlain Abroad students enrolled in the Community Advocacy and Inquiry class (EHS 300) provided by Champlain Dublin’s curriculum. Part of the requirements for the class was to complete a semester-long placement in a community facility. Some students volunteered at after school programs or other youth-centered organizations. As a Secondary Education major, I was placed in Mount Temple Comprehensive school in Clontarf, Dublin (where U2 went to school) to teach three classes and help facilitate a Literary Magazine editing team of students. Though it was a requirement for both the class and my major to complete these hours of student teaching, I was able to end the semester with a feeling of not only an academic gain and added experience, but a personal accomplishment as well.

 

Mount Temple Comprehensive SchoolAfter speaking with the head of the English department at Mount Temple, I was placed with the responsibility of teaching American Poetry – Robert Frost and Sylvia Plath – to Irish students. Being two of my favorite authors, I was initially excited to hear I would be teaching their work, while at the same time, intimidated by the challenge. I was sure that, being American, these students would have high expectations of me to know all about these American poets. The task came with the added notion of their knowledge being imperative to passing the English portion of their national Certificate Exams which all but dictated what colleges they’d be accepted into. The concept of these exams was brand new to me upon my joining the Mount Temple community. I must have spent an entire weekend in Starbucks going over lesson plans and analyzing poetry.

On my first day, I was introduced to many of the teachers in the English and Language Arts department. They gave me a true Irish Welcome, which I’ve learned by now includes many smiles, an offer of Tea, food or sweets of some sort, and a “You’re very welcome here!” The students, to my happy surprise, were just as warm and welcoming. They were genuinely interested in where I was from as soon as they heard my accent. I told them about myself and what we’d be doing for the next few weeks together, looking over poets, getting them ready for their exams at the end of the school year.

In the following weeks after that first day, I began to look forward to my early Wednesday mornings at Mount Temple. It was even a relief to me when the weekend came, not only because it was a small break from my own classes, but because I knew I’d once again be able to sit in one of the many amazing Dublin cafes and plan the lesson for the coming week. I thought to myself several times, ‘Can I really be having so much fun doing this? Isn’t this supposed to be my actual job someday?’ I was presented with a new perspective on what it could actually feel like to live each day in my career field of choice.

Mount Temple Comprehensive SchoolAfter looking back at my time in Clontarf, I am now also able to look forward on my future with less wincing and churning in my stomach at the sheer inevitability and closeness of next year’s graduation date. I have a better idea, thanks to my experience at Mount Temple, of what I’d like to do as a next step: continue my schooling and work with students who wish to be writers, in a college setting. This was a conclusion I may not have come to as easily, or at least not have had so much fun coming to it, had I not decided to study abroad in Dublin this semester. It made the trip over the ocean worthwhile, and I would recommend the class to any future study abroad students who are looking for a way to get fully immersed in the surrounding community of Dublin.

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4 of my favorite book shops in Dublin

BY KATHRYN GESSER, SECONDARY TEACHER EDUCATION’18, CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE

1. The Gutter Bookshop

Named after the famous Oscar Wild Quote, “We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars.” The Gutter Bookshop is an independently owned haven of new books and old classics. There’s a bookshelf for every genre, including children’s stories and Irish history texts. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, the owner has no problem ordering your next read for you.

Location: Crow’s Lane, Temple Bar

The Gutter Book Shop in Dublin The Gutter Book Shop in Dublin The Gutter Book Shop in Dublin The Gutter Book Shop in Dublin

2. The Winding Stair

This quaint bookstore is tucked away near Dublin’s City Center. Here, you’ll find many new as well as used books which makes this a great place to find your favorite books. After buying, feel free to stick around and order off the fixed menu available everyday or for a pot of tea. Sit by the window and people-watch, or lose yourself in one of the thousands of titles available.

Location: 40 Ormond Quay Lower, North City

The Winding Stair Book Shop Dublin The Winding Stair Book Shop Dublin The Winding Stair Book Shop Dublin The Winding Stair Book Shop Dublin

3. Secret Book and Record Store

Not only will you find classic, fiction, and poetry books here, but a wide arrangement of music as well. Records, cassettes, and CDs for low prices are also available here. Tucked underground and through a hallway of music and art posters, it feels like you’re entering another world when you walk into this book and record store.

Location: 5 Wicklow St, Dublin 2

The Secret Book and Record Store in Dublin The Secret Book and Record Store in Dublin The Secret Book and Record Store in Dublin The Secret Book and Record Store in Dublin

4. Books Upstairs

Books Upstairs is on of Dublin’s most unique bookstores. Browse around two floors of books from all genres and authors. Then, enjoy your book along with a hot beverage and tasty baked goods on the top floor where a cafe awaits.

Location: 17 D’Olier Street, Dublin 2

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If you’re feeling a little peckish after the book shop visits and looking for somewhere to eat, check out this blog post on the “Taste of Dublin” by Casey Reagan’15 for some ideas on where to go.

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Irish Slang for Champlain Abroad Students

BY KATHRYN GESSER, SECONDARY TEACHER EDUCATION’18, CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE

Champlain Abroad students have been in Dublin for almost a month now. The time is moving quickly, and while becoming familiarized with the zigzagging streets and vibrant nightlife of the city, it can be difficult to grasp the more subtle, covertly charming aspects of life in Ireland, especially found in casual Irish conversation.  Thanks to the help of Champlain Abroad Dublin alumni, a list of such common slang terms has been compiled which one is likely to hear in any Dublin bar, cafe, or street corner.

 

Small Talk:

 

The Black Stuff – Guinness

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It’s one of the things Dublin is best known for.

 

Class – Cool

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Just a classier way to say it.

 

Craic – Fun

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So don’t get freaked if someone asks you where the craic is. You’re not in America anymore.

 

Culchie – Anyone living in Ireland but outside of Dublin

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Especially in the more rural counties.

 

Eejit – Idiot

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The Fear – The regret one feels after a night of heavy drinking.

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Garda – Police

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Still getting used to the idea of Irish Police not carrying guns like American police.

 

Gas – Hilarious

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Dublin Welcomes Champlain Abroad Students – Spring 2017

by Kathryn Gesser, secondary teacher education’18, Champlain College

Champlain Abroad students arrived in Dublin two weeks ago and the city has already infected them with its beauty and Irish charm. A few students took the time to share what they’ve learned so far on what will become their semester-long adventure as well as what they’re looking forward to most about living in Ireland. 

Peter Breitwieser’18 Major: Accounting

 

“The most important thing I’ve learned so far is what it takes to become a ‘Dubliner’. Being immersed is very important. I’m really looking forward to traveling. I want to see everything, both outside and inside the city.”

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Denzak

Brian Denzak’18 Major: Management of Creative Media

 

“I liked learning about how, if you want to meet Irish people and make Irish friends, you really have to be persistent and get out of your comfort zone. I’m also really excited to live in a big city and to be able to travel and get assimilated into a new culture.”

 

 

 

 

Natasha Sebestyen

Natasha Sebestyen’18 Major: Early Childhood Elementary Education, minor in Psychology

 

“I’ve learned it’s good to go out and go exploring. Regardless of where you go, you’ll always find something, and we talked a bit on the first day about finding your own ‘hidden gem’ of Ireland. I’m really looking forward to that, though I’m not even sure what mine’s going to be yet. I’m also looking forward to going out and becoming more comfortable with the city. As they say, Dublin is the ‘gateway to Europe’ and I’m really excited to travel around best I can.”

 

 

 

Jack Thomas

Jack Thomas’18 Major: Finance

 

“I’ve been learning a lot about how to make the most out of the time I have here in Ireland and how important time management is going to be for me. I’m looking forward most to branching out and experiencing the city. I want to do some new things I’ve never done before.”

 

 

 

 

Jackson Seifert

Jackson Seifert’ 18 Major: Marketing, minor in Finance

 

“I’ve learned so far that I really need to focus on making the most out of my time here. I’m here to be here, not to be on the internet. I want to experience the culture and get out of my comfort zone, which was something that got drilled down on during orientation. I can’t wait to travel around Europe. I also come from a really small town so this is huge to me and very exciting.”

 

 

 

 

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