Scoil Chormaic CNS, Balbriggan
BA in English with Drama from UCD, MA in Theatre Practice from UCD and GSA
Hibernia College Religious Education Award
Why did you choose teaching and why Hibernia College?
As the saying goes, ‘What’s for you won’t pass you by’. I have wanted to be a primary teacher since I was in primary school myself, but my journey to teaching had a few diversions along the way. When I left secondary school, I graduated with a BA from UCD in English with Drama, before completing an MA in Theatre Practice from UCD and GSA. During my studies, I met some of my closest friends and had absolutely amazing experiences in theatre. Following my studies, I taught children’s drama classes while also teaching at third level. This work reignited my love for teaching and showed me that my gut instinct all those years ago was right — that primary teaching was the path for me. I chose Hibernia College due to the flexibility of the blended learning model. I could live at home and work part-time as a substitute teacher while I completed the course, allowing me to gain invaluable experience and maintain a stable working environment.
What field of work or study were you in before you started your PME?
I worked as faculty in the UCD English and Drama department, teaching on their undergraduate drama courses as a tutor. Alongside this work, I was a director and an assistant director on stage shows and devised performance projects. I also taught drama in after-school clubs and stage schools. These jobs taught me so much about teaching and even more about people, which has ultimately benefitted my work as a teacher at primary level.
Can you tell us a bit about your research project and why you focused on this area?
Having such a strong background in theatre and the performing arts, my interest in this area made it a natural avenue of curiosity for my research project. Ultimately, I chose to research the pedagogical frameworks of Paolo Friere as enacted through Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, with a particular focus on global citizenship education. I examined how Freire and Boal’s work may be used in diversity education and in the teaching of effective democratic dialogue through drama. This research has not only benefitted my work in terms of diversity and inclusion education but has also given me practical skills in the classroom, allowing my students’ voices to be heard through democratic dialogue.
Now that you have graduated, what are your plans?
At present, I am extremely lucky to be working in a fantastic school, Scoil Chormaic CNS, Balbriggan. I teach Senior Infants in the same classroom where I completed my second block of school placement! I was absolutely thrilled when a job opportunity came up there and am so grateful to be working with such a wonderful and supportive team. Completing my Droichead and working with such fantastic, hard-working teachers is all I could have asked for in my first year after the PME.
What piece of advice would you give to any person considering starting a PME?
The PME is one of the most challenging and rewarding things you will ever do. Be organised, stay calm, and take it one step at a time. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help and advice — giorraíonn beirt bóthar. Other teachers and your regional group will be your greatest resource — teaching is a sharing profession! Be prepared to rope your family and friends in too; they will be your proofreaders, laminators, cutters and your greatest supporters. The course is hard work, but it is all so worth it in the end!