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Alumni profile

Gillian Rice

PME in Post-Primary Education



St. Mary's College (The Marist), Dundalk


Research Prize Winner


Research Prize Winner

Why did you choose teaching & why Hibernia College?

I had always wanted to teach – I had an excellent experience of school myself, at both primary and secondary levels, I love children, I love learning, and my grandmother was a school principal, so it seemed natural to follow in her footsteps. When I completed my undergraduate degree at UCD, I decided to take a short break from formal education, and I went to work as a drama camp counsellor for American teens at an overnight summer camp in Akron, Ohio. It was the most difficult, yet rewarding thing I had ever done, and I made the decision then and there to pursue secondary teaching as a career. I made enquiries to various colleges, but didn’t feel able to commit to returning to full time education just yet, so I went to Australia for a couple of years. It was only when I returned home that a friend suggested Hibernia College – she had just finished her PME there and thought that the lifestyle would suit me better, given that I now had a baby boy, and was averse to the idea of travelling to Dublin every other day to attend college. Hibernia allowed me to spend precious time with my son, but pave the way for our futures at the same time.

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

Before I applied to Hibernia, I was working as a Trouble-shooter for an internet payment system called PoLi Payments, based in Melbourne.

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

My research topic came about as a result of human error – I had grown up with computers, and had worked intensively with them in PoLi Payments, and I felt extremely confident in using them. Yet, when uploading my first assignment with Hibernia, I was at loss as to how to create a zip file. I could create and install a working checkout for your website, but I had never needed to learn one of the most basic tasks on a computer, as I’d never had any formal computer training. As a result of my preoccupation with uploading and creating a zip file, I only copied half of my assignment into the file before it was sealed – resulting in me only receiving marks for half of my grade. I was so gutted – I couldn’t believe I’d made such a simple error. It was then I began to wonder how other teachers fared with the technology end of modern day teaching and learning. As I mentioned before, I had a background in computers, so felt quite confident in my usage – what about those teachers who went straight into teaching from school or college, or the older generation, who did not grow up around computers? From this, I decided to pursue that area of research – to understand the impact of ICT on teaching and learning in the classroom, and teaching competence/confidence with such. I focused on history, as I am a history teacher and was where my interest lay.

Now that you have graduated, what are your plans?

I have been very lucky – I had multiple jobs offers after I completed Hibernia and I chose a job in a school which really goes above and beyond for the students, and I love being part of that.

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

There will be nothing so daunting as the first day, and you will worry if you are doing everything or anything right – just have faith that if you are worrying, it means you care, and if you care, then you’re doing it right.

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