Alumni profile

Margaret McCarthy

PME in Primary Education



Scoil Mochua, Celbridge, Kildare


Bachelor of Business Studies, DCU 


Overall Student Prize

Why did you choose teaching and why Hibernia College?  

I’ve always been fascinated by teaching and the learning process. Initially considering a career in teaching, I opted for a different path. However, upon having my own children, my passion for education was reignited as I witnessed their growth and learning. This led me to decide on a career change, choosing primary school teaching. Hibernia College became my preferred institution due to its blended learning model, offering the flexibility I needed as a mother of three young girls. This, combined with the chance to participate in hands-on learning experiences, made Hibernia College the ideal choice for my career transition. 

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

I initially earned my Bachelor of Business, specialising in Human Resources, from Dublin City University. Following this, I dedicated several years to HR roles within both public and private sectors. What I found most fulfilling in these positions was the focus on Learning and Development specifically, creating training content and conducting training programs. While some may perceive my move into teaching as a significant career change, I see a considerable overlap between HR and teaching — notably, the shared aspects of both people and classroom management as well as the distinct parallels between training and teaching. 

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

My dissertation explored ‘Teachers’ Perspectives on Using Play-Based Learning Approaches to Support Oral Language Development in the Infant Classroom.. The motivation for this exploration stemmed from a combination of my personal experiences as a parent to young children, exposure to Bernstein’s (1975) research on language codes and social class during the Sociology module and my observations of disparities in oral language proficiency among children during my infant placement. Given the acknowledged significance of oral language in academic achievement, I was driven to investigate the factors contributing to oral language development, particularly through the lens of play-based pedagogies. 

Now that you have graduated, what are your plans?  

Since finishing my studies at Hibernia College, I’m delighted to have secured a teaching position this academic year. I currently teach Fifth Class at Scoil Mochua in Celbridge, where I did my advanced school placement. I thoroughly enjoy being part of the Scoil Mochua staff.  The principal and teaching staff are committed to fostering an inclusive and caring learning environment, ensuring high-quality teaching and learning. I’ve begun the Droichead process, working with a really supportive Professional Support Team. My plan is to complete Droichead this year.  

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

For those considering the Professional Master of Education, my advice is to approach the course with dedication and an open mind. Recognise the significant time commitment required, but also understand that the rewards are immeasurable. Embrace the blended learning model by using the online resources and actively participating in face-to-face sessions to maximise your learning.  Take full advantage of the practical teaching opportunities. Although intensive, these periods are invaluable for immersing yourself in teaching and enhancing your skills through reflection. Establish relationships with fellow students; the support of like-minded peers is crucial. Personally, I owe much of my success in the programme to a wonderful group of women who supported each other every step of the way.  Lastly, involve your family in the journey. Completing the PME is a family endeavour over the two years, and the support of my husband and three daughters made it possible for me to succeed. 

Take the next step