Photo of Ann Whelan

Alumni profile

Ann Whelan

PME in Primary Education



St. Anne’s National School


Bachelor of Arts in Music and French, University College Dublin


Hibernia College Religious Education Award

Why did you choose teaching and why Hibernia College?

My decision to become a primary school teacher stemmed from my own love of learning. I am very lucky to be surrounded by many family members who are primary school teachers and could see first-hand how rewarding the job is. When the opportunity arose to retrain, I knew that I wanted to be able to instil the same love of learning in future generations.

I chose Hibernia due to the flexibility of the PME course. I was able to continue working part-time in the career I was in.


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

In 2015, I graduated from University College Dublin with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and French. I wanted to take a break from education, so I worked as a retail assistant and visual merchandiser in the local clothes shop, KODE Clothing and Footwear. I really enjoyed this career as I loved working with the community and it also provided me with many opportunities. However, I always had it at the back of my head that I would like to further my education and become a teacher.


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

The title of my research project is ‘A Study of How Music Can Help Nurture the Personal and Educational Development of Students with Special Educational Needs in Irish Primary Schools’. My personal interest in music, stemming from my own experiences, influenced my research project. From my studies, I discovered that there are numerous educational and personal benefits of music but that a lack of knowledge, interest and confidence in teaching music hindered these benefits from happening. Therefore, I hope my research project may possibly help change the perspective of primary school teachers and inform them of the academic and personal benefits of music in the inclusive classroom.


Now that you have graduated, what are your plans?

I have been extremely fortunate to have secured a maternity leave job in St. Anne’s National School in Tyrrellspass. I am teaching Senior Infants and feel that it has been very rewarding so far. While my focus is set on further developing my teaching skills, my main priority is that the children are being provided with a fun and safe learning environment especially during these unprecedented times.


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

My advice to anyone considering starting a PME would be to get experience in a local primary school to see if it is definitely what you want to do. If this is the career path you want to take, then go for it. It is very challenging but most importantly very rewarding. Surround yourself with a good support system and look after yourself. Keep up your hobbies and ensure to make time for your family and friends.

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