Alumni profile

Ciara Mc Grane

PME in Post-Primary Education



Blackrock Educate Together Secondary School


BA in English and Sociology, Maynooth University; Higher Diploma in Psychotherapy and Counselling, DBS


Hibernia College Student of the Year Award

Why did you choose teaching and why Hibernia College? 

Before teaching, I was training in adult psychotherapy. I felt I wanted a sense of liveliness from a career and to be able to utilise my skills in a different setting. Hence, I decided to take my career on a path of teaching and interacting with young adults. Hibernia College were able to facilitate my needs and wants — the College best suited me at the time with regards to lecturing hours and the continuous assessment style of learning.

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

I worked as a Trainee Psychotherapist for two years and also worked in claims handling for insurance for seven years.

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

My research project was titled An exploration of the classroom-based strategies used to motivate students in socio-economically disadvantaged schools. My findings included the importance of teacher-student relationships and creating a classroom environment whereby students feel a sense of belonging — this evidently improves their motivation in the classroom. I focused on this area because of personal reasons. I attended and carried out part of my placement in a school from an economically disadvantaged area. It was curiosity on my behalf to explore this topic, and I wanted to identify key strategies to help improve my own teaching.

Now that you have graduated, what are your plans? 

I am working full-time in a new school called Blackrock Educate Together Secondary School. I work as an English teacher, and I am a Wellbeing Co-Ordinator in the school also. As a newly qualified teacher, I will continue to build on my learning as I am very much enjoying my time teaching! Perhaps in a few years, I will look to study guidance counselling.

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

For individuals who might be looking to change careers and would love to start a PME, I would strongly encourage you to do so. The Hibernia College lecture timetable is evening based with two Saturdays a month, so it can be beneficial to those who lead busy lives during weekdays. It may seem like a daunting process at the beginning, but they have been the quickest and most enjoyable two years I’ve spent studying. It will all work itself out in the end, and it’s a leap of faith into the world of teaching that, in turn, you will be happy you made!

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