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Alumni profile

Nicola MacDermott

PME in Primary Education



Mount Anville Secondary School


PME Primary Education

Degree in  Psychology,  UCD


Research Prize Winner

Why did you choose teaching and why Hibernia College?

I chose to become a teacher after my experience of working in the children’s charity sector. I really enjoy working with children and I was drawn to teaching as a profession that can be vibrant, uplifting and inspirational, as well as extremely challenging, all in one day. Additionally, I was motivated to pursue teaching as a means of making a positive difference to a child’s life each day in the classroom.

I specifically chose Hibernia due to the flexible nature of the course. I have two young children and I required a course that would enable me to combine my role as a Mum with that of a student completing a Masters in Primary Education.


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

I previously studied Psychology in UCD for my undergraduate degree and worked in media, business and the children’s charity sector for 13 years.


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

My research project investigated teachers’ perspectives on the effectiveness of the ‘FRIENDS for Life’ programme in a DEIS school. A DEIS school is one in which the students are from a socially or economically disadvantaged background (DES, 2016). The ‘FRIENDS for Life’ programme is an anxiety-prevention and resilience-building programme. It has been made available to teachers in Irish primary schools as a supplementary programme to fulfil the aims of the SPHE curriculum in enabling children to build self-esteem, regulate behaviour and cope with challenging situations (NCCA, 1999).

I chose this topic as a means of understanding the ways in which teachers can support children to maintain positive mental health and emotional well-being. Specifically, I conducted this research to investigate the effectiveness of the programme in achieving these aims and its capacity to foster resilience in children in a DEIS school.


Now that you have graduated, what are your plans?

I am currently working as a Mainstream Class Teacher in Swords Educate Together National School. Presently, my plans are to complete the Droichead process which I am participating in this year as a Newly Qualified Teacher!


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

One piece of advice I would offer a person prior to considering a PME is to gather as much information in advance as possible. Seek out students currently engaging in the course or past students who can provide insight into the level of work and time that is required to successfully complete the PME. Similarly, talk to teachers to gain insights about the profession and consider if teaching is the right fit for you. It is a significant undertaking, so I would recommend being as informed as possible. On a personal note, I would advise that while the course can be challenging at times, it can also be an engaging, fulfilling and ultimately rewarding learning experience.

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