Alumni profile

Mary Horgan

PME in Primary Education

New Zealand


Currently working and travelling in New Zealand


Bachelor of Arts in Nua-Ghaeilge and Music, University College Dublin


Religion Prize

Why did you choose teaching and why Hibernia College?

Growing up with an emphasis on the importance of education, especially from my mam, a primary school teacher, inspired my love of learning in school and university. Upon completing my undergraduate degree, I knew that I wanted to further this passion through education. I realised that primary teaching was the path I wished to pursue, as I wanted to translate my enthusiasm into a positive teaching and learning experience for children at primary school level. I chose Hibernia College as this PME afforded the opportunity to work part-time and complete my Teagasc Distance Education Green Cert. The blended learning experience offered was the perfect solution to create a study schedule that was flexible and suited me.

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

I graduated from UCD with First Class Honours in Music and Nua-Ghaeilge in 2021. During my time at UCD, I was a scholarship recipient of Bord na Gaeilge UCD and Gaeltacht UCD. Over the years, I worked in dairy farming, a veterinary practice and pursuing my musical career as a harpist. I gained so much from these experiences, that helped me to realise I love working and communicating with people and children.

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

My research project was titled ‘Teachers’ Perspectives on Teaching the Primary School Music Curriculum: Experiences and Methodologies’. As a harpist, pianist, and Irish dancer, I was immersed in musical education growing up. This passion for music, alongside education, motivated me to conduct a research project in this area. The aim of my research project was to determine teachers’ previous experiences in musical education and its impact on their competence and confidence to provide valuable music experiences. Findings confirmed that while teachers valued the benefits of musical education, there was a strong correlation between their previous musical experience and their levels of confidence and self-efficacy in delivering the primary school music curriculum, particularly in the teaching of a musical instrument. I focused on this area to gather insights into the current practices and hope that the findings may be used as a basis for future research in the area.

Now that you have graduated, what are your plans? 

Upon fulfilling my goal of qualifying as a primary school teacher, I took the opportunity to travel and pursue my other interests. Since completing my studies at Hibernia College, I have been living and working in New Zealand on a dairy farm. I am looking forward to my teaching career in the coming years, where I hope to contribute to a positive learning environment for all in the school community.

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

I would encourage anyone that is considering starting a PME to spend some time in a primary school to help gain some valuable experience working with children. Being prepared and organised with a study schedule will help keep you on track with online material, onsite days and assessment dates, especially during School Placement. Embrace and enjoy the many opportunities for learning throughout the two years from the tutors, your cohort and the school communities.

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