British Council School
Hibernia College Research Prize
Why did you choose teaching and why Hibernia College?
Originally, it was quite a daunting and scary decision to change career. I was working in a good job but I was not satisfied and knew there was something else I should be doing. I had to evaluate and examine what my values in life were and then decide what career aligned with those values. During this process, the idea that I kept revisiting was that I wanted to help people. In particular, I just wanted to help them to be better…both having better knowledge of a subject but also help them to be better individuals and develop skills that allowed them to live and evolve into individuals. I had experience of coaching camogie to a lovely group of girls in my local GAA club. I trained them from the age of 6-16 and I really enjoyed the time when they were around 12-14. All of these factors led me down the route of secondary teaching.
I choose Hibernia because I knew the standard of education and training provided by the college, and in particular the tutors, was excellent. It also allowed me, as a mature student, the option to continue to work a flexible schedule and support myself while earning my teaching qualification.
What field of work or study were you in before you started your PME?
I was working in the medical field specifically in Public Health in the HSE where I was a research officer and project manager for the Key Performance Indicators for the eight national cancer centres in Ireland.
Can you tell us a bit about your research project and why you focused on this area?
I really enjoyed my research project. Being sporty is in my DNA!! I have played the sport of camogie all my life and this, coupled with my degree studies in nutritional sciences, fuelled my passion for all things fitness, nutrition and wellness. In recent years, I have taken a real interest in wellness. I believe wellness is very important and has such an impact on our everyday lives. I believe it is still too often overlooked as a way to address the stress and mental health issues we experience in our everyday lives. In particular, today’s youth face more challenges than we can ever imagine. As a qualified yoga instructor and having completed one of my teaching placements in a school where yoga was incorporated into the school life to help students with the stress they experienced in their lives, I became very interested in the benefits it may have, not just on addressing youth stress but how this may affect their learning and if it would be an intervention that could be considered in the future by schools to improve learning, engagement and motivation in the classroom…something all teachers find lacking in students at some point or another!
Now that you have graduated, what are your plans?
Now that I have graduated, I have already started working on my plans. I was always interested in teaching internationally and experiencing the culture and life of a different country. As of now, I am in the middle of completing my NQT training year in a very busy international school in Madrid, Spain. I am receiving an excellent experience and also adding to my skills by adapting my teaching and methods to accommodate learners where English is an additional language. While it is challenging at times and is extending my comfort zone, there can be no growth by staying within our comfort zone!!
What piece of advice would you give to any person considering starting a PME?
I would say to each PME, while at the start the journey may seem very long…stick with it, take each week one at a time because the destination is well worth it!