Photo of Aideen O'Hanlon

Alumni profile

Aideen O’Hanlon

PME in Primary Education



Scoil Naomh Colmcille


Bachelor of Commerce, University College Dublin


Hibernia College Student of the Year Award

Why did you choose teaching and why Hibernia College?

I completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree, specialising in Marketing, from UCD in 2008. After graduating, jobs in this sector were relatively sparse due to the economic downturn. Therefore, I emigrated to the UAE and taught Kindergarten in an international school in Abu Dhabi for a year. I absolutely loved every second of it and went straight from teaching in the UAE to teaching in South Korea for nearly two years. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed teaching, I felt like I had to pursue my marketing career, so I returned to Ireland and secured employment in both Dublin and Tullamore before finally relocating to work in marketing in London. I knew it was not the lifelong career path that I desired, and I ended up going back to teach in China for over two and a half years. On my way to Asia, I spent the summer in Switzerland teaching at a summer camp. Upon my return from teaching abroad, I knew it was time for me to acquire the correct credentials to teach in Ireland, so I started researching my options. Hibernia was perfect for me due to the fact that it was blended learning. It was tough, but worth it in the end!


What field of work or study were you in before you started your PME?

Before embarking on the PME, I held a mixture of both marketing and teaching jobs. When teaching abroad, I worked in a variety of school settings and taught all class levels. My marketing positions have enabled me to work in various industries ranging from the travel industry, to radio, interior design and digital media. I left my most recent marketing position in August 2020 to start teaching Junior Infants in Scoil Naomh Colmcille, Durrow, Tullamore.


Can you tell us a bit about your research project and why you focused on this area?

My research project was titled “Motivational Paradigms in DEIS Settings”. I used a mixed-methods approach to research which motivational theory — behaviourism, cognitivism or humanism — had the greatest impact on learning, behaviour and attitudes in DEIS settings. I focused on this area as motivation affects students’ level of enjoyment in school and can trigger either disruptive or constructive behaviour. It is therefore vital that we, as teachers, utilise appropriate motivational strategies that facilitate constructive learning environments and have a positive impact on students’ behaviour and attitudes.


Now that you have graduated, what are your plans?

I am currently teaching 22 lovely Junior Infants in Scoil Naomh Colmcille, Durrow, Tullamore. I love teaching in Ireland but I would never rule out teaching abroad again!


What piece of advice would you give to any person considering starting a PME?

For the mature students out there, as Earl Nightingale once said, “never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”

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