Alumni profile

Ciara McKenny

PME in Post-Primary Education



St Mel's College, Co. Longford


Bachelor of Arts Degree via Maynooth University


Outstanding Performance in School Experience and Professional Practice Prize

Why did you choose teaching and why Hibernia College? 

I chose teaching as I have always wanted to help others. I have always enjoyed working with those aged 12 years to 18 years, as these teenagers experience a lot in their personal lives and educational journey. Consequently, I wanted to assist them, guide them in striving towards success in their education and in their personal lives, while also educating them. To become a post-primary teacher has been a dream come true. I have always wanted to become a teacher since my childhood. I am a passionate, enthusiastic and caring person. These are all characteristics that I have learned are essential for teachers to have to help students progress in life. I chose Hibernia College as I heard wonderful things about it. The tutors and lecturers do not just do the job of lecturing or tutoring, but they also become your friend, your support and your guide. I have had no bad experiences with Hibernia College. They are helpful and they always want you to do your best.

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

Post-primary teaching as a substitute teacher and a sales-assistant in a pharmacy.

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

As a student learning languages in school, I always wondered why could more creativity not be included in the lessons. I am a student who has to digest the material to learn it, who stays up late studying and panics on the day of the exam. Therefore, I always thought that if more creative methodologies in learning and assessment were included, my school experience and learning would be much easier. Therefore, as part of the PME, when I got the opportunity to complete a research project, I followed my heart and proceeded to research the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating various creative methodologies in teaching, learning and assessment, for both teachers and students. I learned new material from doing interviews during this process, which I am now incorporating in my new school, St Mel’s College in Co. Longford. These are working exceptionally well for all my Irish and French classes. Finally, I thoroughly enjoyed completing the research project, investigating theories, ideas and experiences.

Now that you have graduated, what are your plans? 

My plans are to continue working as a French and Irish teacher. I wish to obtain a permanent post as soon as possible. I also wish to further educate myself. I wish to go travelling around the world, teaching in various schools.

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

For anyone starting the PME process, go ahead. Jump right in and do not be afraid. Do not doubt yourself. Everyone is capable once you apply yourself and once you are enthusiastic to join the teaching profession like I was as a 21-year old starting the PME with Hibernia College. You will not regret it. Join in in the cohort groups on social media and get involved in the fun. I was very shy at the start of the PME and was afraid of contributing to the online Zoom discussions and lectures, but once I did, I never looked back. I really enjoyed getting involved, chatting among my peers and colleges. These online and face-to-face days were a fantastic way of getting to know the other people in my cohort. I made several new friends from my PME experience. On face-to-face days, organise having a lunch together with some of the group.

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