Aonghus Ó hEochaidh
Gaelscoil an Chuilinn
BA in Gaeilge and Geography
INTO Vere Foster Medal for Outstanding Performance in School Placement
Why did you choose teaching and why Hibernia College?
It was always my intention to become a teacher, but since graduating from the University of Galway in 2007, I pursued a successful career working in the media. Teaching is in my blood, and when I got married in 2018 and started a family, I decided to pursue teaching in search of a better work-life balance. Hibernia College was the right fit for me because it allowed me to work part-time and attend lectures in the evening and at weekends.
What field of work or study were you in before you started your PME?
Before starting in Hibernia College, I worked with some of the biggest broadcasters in the country, including TG4, RTÉ and Virgin Media as a sports producer and commentator. I gained incredible life experience, but I always felt drawn towards education. Creativity, excellent communication skills and leadership are all traits required to progress in the media, and I feel the same can be said for teaching.
Can you tell us a bit about your research project and why you focused on this area?
I grew up in a Gaeltacht area and always had a ‘grá’ for the Irish language. My research project highlighted how a positive attitude towards Gaeilge can be developed among learners in English-speaking primary schools using the Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) approach. When implementing this approach, teachers teach other curriculum subjects, such as Physical Education, through Irish. My research suggests that there is a greater emphasis on oral language and communication when this approach is adopted.
Now that you have graduated, what are your plans?
Since completing the PME in April 2022, I have been working in Gaelscoil an Chuilinn in Tyrrelstown in Dublin 15. I started working in the school as a substitute teacher in December 2021, and I did my final placement in Senior Infants there with Múinteoir Fiona in the spring of 2022. I am now working in the school full-time, teaching Fifth Class. I am very lucky because the principal, Fergus Ó Conghaile, and the excellent staff there have been very welcoming and are always on hand to provide much-needed advice on a daily basis.
What piece of advice would you give to any person considering starting a PME?
The PME is a very challenging course. It is time-consuming and stressful at times, but the payoff is massive. If teaching is what you really want to do, I would recommend the PME with Hibernia College. Now, more than ever, schools all over the country are struggling to find substitute teachers. This blended approach gives you the option to work on a part time basis in a school, gain valuable experience and complete the master’s in the evenings.
The most significant piece of advice that I would give to someone who has signed up for the course is to keep communication channels open with your tutor group, The Midlands group was and still is a lifesaver.