Donal O'Shea

Alumni profile

Donal O’Shea

PME in Primary Education



Cork Educate Together National School


BMus, CIT Cork School of Music


Hibernia College Student of the Year Award

Hibernia College Research Prize

Why did you choose teaching and why Hibernia College? 

Before beginning the PME, I had been working as a technical writer and had been doing some violin teaching on the side. When I was trying to decide what to do next, I realised that teaching was something I really enjoyed, so I spoke to some friends who were working as teachers and they recommended spending time in a primary school. Having observed in a primary classroom and done some research on the options available, I decided to apply for the PME programme. The reason I chose Hibernia College was that it gave me the flexibility to study mostly from home while still having the time to gain experience working and subbing part-time in schools.

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

Before starting the PME, I had been working as a technical writer and a part-time violin teacher. My undergraduate degree was a BMus degree from the CIT Cork School of Music.

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

My research project focused on exploring the literacy attainment gap correlated with socio-economic disadvantage, and the current interventions and initiatives aimed at addressing this gap. I chose this area because literacy is one of the pillars of primary curricula around the world, and finding ways to deliver inclusive literacy education that gives all children a chance to succeed is something that will be relevant in every classroom throughout my career.

Now that you have graduated, what are your plans? 

I was lucky enough to secure a job in Cork Educate Together National School, teaching Senior Infants. I’m really enjoying it and am currently in the middle of my Droichead process, so my main plans are to get through that while learning as much as I can.

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

My main piece of advice to anyone considering starting a PME would be to go and spend some time in a primary school, if at all possible, to make sure it is something you’re really interested in. Once you’ve started, my advice would be to try to stay on top of the workload as much as you can while making sure to take time for yourself as well.

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