Наш Ирландский друг о классе и гимназии
Visit to Gymnasium/School, Domodedevo, March 4th & 5th 2015
To whom it may concern,
I, Brendan Molloy, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, and a member/graduate/doctor candidate of University College Cork, Cork City had the honour and pleasure of visiting your school, at the invitation of English language teacher; Lyudmila Agaryova, on the dates; Wednesday March 4th and Thursday March 5th 2015. What will follow is an outline of my impressions and experiences.
Wednesday March 4th: I arrived at the school at 11.00 am with Lyudmila. My first impressions, on seeing the school were how big and how bright it looked! On entering the school, I sensed straight away that there was a positive and happy atmosphere, within the school building. Lyudmila brought me to her classroom and before we had even entered the classroom, a large group of students had gathered outside, in anticipation of my arrival. I was greeted with, in perfect English, ‘good morning’ or ‘hello’. I felt quite humbled and overwhelmed at such a positive and courteous reaction to my visit. On entering Lyudmila’s classroom I was highly impressed at how bright and spacious it was and the warm atmosphere it portrayed. One particular poster caught my eye, amongst all of the informative posters that were displayed around the classroom. This particular poster was related to the dangers of Social Media sites, a poster which carried a very clear, concise, and powerful message in relation to the dangers of Social Media sites, for children and young people. This type of poster should be on display in all schools/classrooms throughout Russia. As a Youth worker and educator I cannot stress enough, how important it is to educate children and students as to the dangers of Social Media sites.
Throughout the day I had the pleasure of meeting and working with a lot of English language students, of different forms/grades and ages. What was very noticeable was the respect and courtesy that was shown first of all to Lyudmila, as soon as the children had entered the classroom, followed by a warm friendly welcome towards me. My first day at your school was to be a never forgotten experience. I was highly impressed, in awe really, of the standard of English of the students. They were clearly interested in me; my life in Ireland, hobbies, my family, my work, Irish food, Irish weather, sport in Ireland; they asked me umpteen questions. At the end of each class, the children were eager to have their photograph taken with me.
In the afternoon, a young student, whose name now eludes me, took me on a tour of the school; a student who will be travelling to Ireland as part of a larger group, later in the month. She brought me, along with Lyudmila to the English language resource room, the school museum which I took a particular interest in, as I am very interested in Russian history, the Russian language resource room, the student ‘relaxation’ room, the music room/theatre and the drama theatre. At all times she spoke to Lyudmila and me in English. It was noticeable, that as our tour progressed, and her English got better and better as she clearly grew in confidence. A big thank you first of all to Lyudmila for arranging this tour and also to the student who took us on the tour. The facilities of the school overall impressed me greatly.
Thursday March 5th: Just like yesterday, today was a very memorable, never to be forgotten experience. Many of the students brought in various items to show me, that relate to their respective hobbies and interests. They also spoke about their own lives; family, holidays, pets. Many questions were asked of me again and many photographs were taken. Just like yesterday I was afforded the utmost respect and courtesy. Today was a bit more special compared to yesterday, so to speak. I had the honour and pleasure of meeting the students of 7th grade, four of whom had visited Ireland as part of a larger group, in January 2014, Veronica, Victoria, Daniel and Mikhail. Unfortunately the time passed so quickly, as our questions and answers session became more and more interesting as our lesson and discussion progressed. However, I had the pleasure of partaking in their ‘International Women’s Day’ party, in the afternoon. It was great to see all of the students play and work together as a team, a very close-knit team, in my opinion. The respect and friendship between the boys and girls was clear for all to see. Indeed, I must add, that yesterday, a group of the female students worked together, as a team, for a few hours putting together a beautiful piece of art work together, so as to present to the male students, today, during the party along with various other presents.
Other comments. It was quite clear to me, that Lyudmila, apart from a teacher who is much loved and respected, is not just, an ‘English language teacher’ in the mainstream, formal education sense. Her relationship with, and understanding of, children and young people goes beyond the ‘classroom’. She has a thorough understanding of the challenges and obstacles young people face in their day to day lives. She has the ability to connect with young people, adopts a pragmatic approach and uses common sense when dealing with problems that may arise. It was a pleasure for me to work with her, during the two days.
Interesting topics that arose: Reflecting back on the two days, and as expressed earlier in this piece, many issues and topics were discussed during questions and answers session. I just want to highlight a few topics which are of a major interest and importance to me in the work I am involved with in the Russian-Irish project, I first started in June 2011, with an idea of bringing Russian and Irish citizens together especially our respective youth.
· Mutual respect & understanding.
I stressed quite strongly that stereotyping is a dangerous and negative ideology that is currently prevailing in many parts of our world. It undermines the creation of friendships, the positives of multi-culturalism in our globalised world of the twenty first century, which in turn ultimately leads to the break-down of mutual respect and understanding between people of different nations and cultures. This leads to bitterness, fractious societies, broken communities and sadly war between various nations. My visit to your wonderful school, certainly proved and highlighted to me that co-operation, friendship, multi-culturalism, and mutual respect and understanding is possible between people from different backgrounds and cultures. This is why, back in June 2011, I developed the idea, belief in fact; that Russian and Irish people, young and old, student and adult, could form friendships and create mutual respect and co-operation between each other. The visit to your school was another positive step in the right direction, for the future of our mutual co-operation.
A big thank you to Lyudmila, the students, and the Director for giving me the opportunity to visit your school.