Redden Court School, Romford
Bachelor of Arts International
Overall Student of the Year
Outstanding Performance in School Experience and Professional Practice
Why did you choose teaching?
The million-dollar question! So, why did I choose teaching? I first considered teaching as a career when I myself was in my Leaving Certificate year., I always had a keen interest to work with young people, although I can’t really say why? Ultimately, if I can inspire even one child to achieve their full potential in either of my teaching subjects, thereby growing in confidence whilst also realising their own potential, I can honestly say that I am happy to have chosen the profession that I am in.
What field of work or study were you in before you started your PME?
Until I became a teacher, I worked in both hospitality and retail throughout my years at university. As I was growing up, I worked for almost ten years in the family business, my father owns a pub in the West of Ireland, whilst in addition, I also worked seasonally in hospitality for approximately eight years. During this time, I studied a Bachelor of Arts International at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) where I travelled abroad for my third year to complete my Erasmus year in Nice, France. I graduated from NUIG in October 2015 and whilst I was considering my options for beginning the PME in 2018, I took a job in retail. I began the PMEPP with Hibernia College in April 2016, during which time I continued to work all three jobs until my second year of the programme where I decided to focus more of my energies into ensuring that I completed the PMEPP to the best of my ability.
Can you tell us a bit about your research project and why you focused on this area?
The title of my research project was ‘Why is no one celebrating the Applied Leaving Certificate Students? A study of the benefits and the challenges of implementing the Leaving Certificate Applied Programme within a mainstream school setting’. There are a number of reasons why I chose to focus on this particular topic, however, in particular, I had always wondered how and/or why The Leaving Certificate Applied Programme (LCAP) had gained such a bad reputation nationwide, particularly in more recent years.
In sum, my findings were that on the one hand, the LCAP has the ability to better cater for not only the academic, but also the practical needs of students, and thus, the development of a wider variety skills can lead to an increase in student confidence. However, on the other hand, the LCAP currently faces many challenges in modern-day Ireland. In particular, the stigma surrounding the LCAP approved most problematic for candidates, whilst in addition, many alluded to the need for not only a programme review, but also the need for less emphasis to be placed on all students attending third-level institutions after having completed the traditional Leaving Certificate in Ireland.
Now that you have graduated, what are your plans?
I always had a keen interest in travelling abroad for work initially, and so on graduation, I began researching how to secure a teaching job in London. Within two weeks, I was flying to England where I did two interviews, both of which were on the same day, before later flying home with two job offers on the table.
At the moment, therefore, I am definitely enjoying my time here in London, although initially, the transition had been quite tough. Despite this, however, I could definitely see myself staying here for at least another year as I really feel in the past three months alone, I have already gained invaluable experience that can only help me to learn and to grow even more in my role as a teacher of languages. Obviously, however, my long-term goal is to return home to Ireland at some point and hopefully, the teaching experience that I will have gained abroad will help me to secure employment in both English and French at post-primary level, preferably in the west of Ireland.
What piece of advice would you give to any person considering starting a PME?
The one piece of advice that I would give anyone considering starting the PME, particularly if they have just recently finished university like I had at the time that I was considering starting the programme, is just go for it! What have you got to lose when in fact, all there is to be gained is more time to grow and develop in your chosen profession. I do find myself laughing when I say that though, because amongst my family and my friends, I am known for being the queen of procrastination; I always put things on the long finger, however, this was one thing I was certain I wanted to do as soon as I could. When I finished my undergraduate degree, so many of my friends took some time out to go travelling, and although travelling does interest me too, something told me to get my career sorted first, for peace of mind if nothing else. Right now, therefore, I can honestly say that I am so happy to be able to say that I am a fully qualified English and French teacher at the age of twenty five, despite the fact that I spent six years almost one after another in full-time education, and thus, I will never regret having made that decision because it has got me to where I am today.