St. Patrick's N.S., Calry, Sligo.
Overall Student of the Year
I studied Commerce in NUI Galway for my undergraduate degree, and chose a career in accountancy after graduation. I always enjoyed any opportunities I had to be involved with staff training and felt that I would find a career in teaching particularly rewarding. I spent a lot of time considering if I would pursue primary, secondary or third-level, but after spending a few days observing and helping out in the local primary school my decision was made. Shortly after that I completed my application and haven’t looked back.
I worked as an accountant. I enjoyed the work and it’s a great career. However, I see the opportunity to be a key part of a child’s learning and development as a privilege. I get to spend the day exploring an array of different topics alongside some incredibly inquisitive minds. We have discussions which open my mind to new perspectives and I always come away having learned something new.
My dissertation focused on Entrepreneurship Education, exploring the perceptions of Irish primary school teachers’ who have implemented entrepreneurship programmes in the classroom. The research found that the participants viewed the goals of these initiatives as compatible with those of our child-centred curriculum, and promoted a range of skills that fostered whole-child development. I chose this topic after noticing the growth of school involvement with the various programmes offered by external agencies in recent years, and I was interested in finding out why so many teachers were opting to implement these programmes at a time when curriculum overload is a hot-button issue in many staff rooms. I found completing the dissertation to be a very positive component of the PME and I learned a lot that I will bring with me into my teaching career.
There’s nothing like being in the classroom. It’s a hive of curiosity and every day is packed full of so much activity. I’m looking forward to working in that environment and a career full of learning.
Ideally you should spend a few days in the classroom before applying for the PME, as sometimes peoples’ perception of teaching doesn’t reflect what the job actually is. It’s a vocation and you need to love it. You need to be patient and energetic. You need to be enthusiastic about everything that you teach and have fun teaching it. You get be the one to lead those children as they learn about long division or the words to Amhrán na bhFiann. That’s a privilege and if you see it that way, then you should give the PME some serious consideration.