Colaiste An Spioraid Naoimh, Bishopstown, Co. Cork
Bachelor of Business Studies
Why did you choose teaching & why Hibernia College?
Having worked in the wider business world for a number of years, it became clear that teaching would offer me the opportunity to have a positive effect on the development of young people at a key stage in their lives. As a parent I found that Hibernia offered me the flexibility needed to obtain a Masters in Education. It afforded me the opportunity to balance a young family and college life simultaneously.
What field of work or study were you in before you started your PME?
My previous employment was in management. I worked for a management organisation that operated and managed leisure and cultural facilities. Working with people and relationship building have always been something that i have enjoyed. I have always had a keen interest in sport and leisure activities and to have had a career in this field was very rewarding.
I have had numerous years of experience and interactions that I can bring to the classroom and in particular to the Business classroom. This experience can make education a little more tangible for my students as I share my previous career with them.
Can you tell us a bit about your research project and why you focused on this area?
My Research was entitled ‘The Impact of Extracurricular Activities on Attendance at an Urban DEIS School’. The idea came from my first school placement, where I noticed a dramatic change in two non active, introvert students. Participating in soccer training on a weekly basis, allowed the students feel more confident and have a greater sense of belonging to their school and their peers.
Resulting from this, the aim of my thesis was to examine the effects ECA have on student engagement and school attendance levels. The study’s aim was to establish any links between student participation in ECA and attendance rates. A qualitative approach was adopted in gathering data on this topic as the researcher wanted to get the perceptions and deep insights from teachers. A sample of four extracurricular co-coordinators took part in semi-structured interviews and secondary data in the form of attendance records, were used to enhance the data. The data was then triangulated with literature to provide an in dept analysis of this topic.
The results suggest that ECA has a positive effect on students’ attendance and engagement levels at school. Having an interest in this field and getting the chance to witness first hand some of the benefits of ECA, was a great starting point for my thesis.
Now that you have graduated, what are your plans?
I am currently working in a school in Cork teaching Business and computers. I am also in the process of completing ‘The Droichead Process’ at present and hope to have this completed by Christmas. As a newly qualified teacher I have been really fortunate to seek employment so soon after completing my masters. I have already had some really rewarding experiences at this school and found that my contribution to extracurricular activities have created co-operative relationships with students and colleagues alike. I hope to continue this for the foreseeable future and develop as a teacher and life long learner.
What piece of advice would you give to any person considering starting a PME.
Be organised!! The first few months can be daunting but it will be so rewarding as you reach your milestones throughout the two years. School Placement, essays, dissertation and everything else along the way can be achieved with an organised approach and a little hard work. The old saying and one I refer to in class is so applicable here, ‘How do you eat an elephant… one bite at a time :)’