Fenor National School in Co. Waterford
Early Childhood Studies, Waterford Institute of Technology
Overall Student of the Year
Why did you choose teaching & why Hibernia College?
My decision to become a teacher was fuelled by my own love of learning and my desire to instil this passion within future generations. I have always felt that my love of learning could take me anywhere. In reality, it has allowed me to achieve great academic success and pursue the career of my dreams. In my imagination, however, it has taken me to limitless places from Shakespeare’s England to Jupiter’s moons. I would like to nurture childrens’ love of learning so that they may experience some of the freedom, wonder and joy that this love has given me. To do so, in my opinion, would be the greatest and most rewarding career imaginable.
I chose Hibernia College to make my dream a reality because of the flexible nature of their PME programme. I was not in a position to move to Limerick or Dublin and valued the opportunity to work part-time while completing my studies.
What field of work or study were you in before you started your PME?
In 2015, I graduated first in my class from Waterford Institute of Technology with a 1.1 honours degree in Early Childhood Studies. My undergraduate research comparing and contrasting the Irish and Finnish approach to education was highly commended by the prestigious Undergraduate Awards in 2015 as was my work evaluating the historical trajectory of ‘discovery learning’. In 2016, I became the Irish winner of the Social Policy category with my paper exploring the values and limitations of Irish policy, practice and legislation from a childrens’ rights perspective. This paper was also presented at the national conference of the World Organisation for Early Childhood Education and published in the national peer-reviewed journal ‘An Leanbh Óg’.
Can you tell us a bit about your research project and why you focused on this area?
My research project focused on eliciting and exploring the perspectives of primary school teachers in Ireland on Drama in Irish Primary Education. Despite its discrete subject status, research by the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (2015) has found that Drama is being taught primarily as a methodology within primary schools in Ireland. Due to my interest and experience in the area, I sought to build on existing research by adding teachers’ voices to the subject versus methodology debate through semi-structured interviews with five primary schools teachers.
Now that you have graduated, what are your plans?
I’m currently covering a maternity leave in Fenor National School in Co. Waterford where I completed my advanced school placement. I am very lucky to teach a fantastic group of fourth class students in such a positive, supportive and inclusive environment. I also have an excellent principal and professional support team that are guiding me through the Droichead process.
Now that I have a bit more time on my hands, I hope to get back into performing in musicals with my local musical theatre societies. I would also love to set up an after school drama club within my school once I have completed Droichead.
What piece of advice would you give to any person considering starting a PME.
My first piece of advice to anyone considering starting a PME is to volunteer in your local school to get a taste for what primary school teaching is like in 2019. I also volunteered with the Waterford School’s Completion Project and creative writing organisation Fighting Words to build my experience working with primary school children.
My greatest piece of advice for anyone undertaking any form of study is to look after yourself! Make the time to have a life outside of college and to do the things that you enjoy with your friends and family. Surround yourself with positive influences and lean on your support system when you need them.