Photo of Susanne Dempsey

Alumni profile

Susanne Dempsey

PME in Post-Primary Education



St Mary's Knockbeg College, Carlow


BA (Hons) in European Business Administration and Language


Hibernia College Outstanding Performance in School Placement and Professional Practice Award

Why did you choose teaching and why Hibernia College? 

I have always been passionate about teaching and the learning of languages, ever since I studied through German during my undergraduate degree. I entered into the Hibernia College PME programme as a mature applicant after raising my family. However, during this period of time, I was able to continue to share my love of the German language by teaching grinds. My four children inspired me as they progressed through school and followed their own academic and professional dreams. After much encouragement from all of my family and the principal of the school where I was working at the time, I decided to apply for the post-primary education course with Hibernia College. The blended learning approach gave me the flexibility to have a work-life balance and allowed me to work part-time whilst also studying to reach my goals of gaining up-to-date skills and knowledge, which ultimately allowed me to develop as a teacher. From a course standpoint, the lecturers were all professional, supportive and understanding. Communication channels were open between students and lecturers throughout the programme, which meant that if there were any questions or concerns, these could be promptly addressed. When commencing my journey with Hibernia College, I never dreamt that two years later, I would be graduating with a first-class honours master’s degree!

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

I was a full-time parent for a number of years whilst my four children were in school. However, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to keep up to date with the rapidly changing German curriculum by giving grinds to students and working part-time in an evening and weekend grinds school.

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

My research project focused on exploring different strategies to address students with learning difficulties in acquiring a second language in the classroom. With the emphasis on inclusion, I aimed to improve my understanding of the topic and ultimately help, in a practical way, inform and improve my future teaching practice.

Now that you have graduated, what are your plans? 

Thanks to the completion of my PME, I had many teaching opportunities available to me, and I felt confident in my skills and knowledge when entering into the interview process. I have secured a fixed-term, full-time position teaching German in Knockbeg College, Carlow. I am learning new things every day and have met some wonderful, inspirational teachers there. Knockbeg is an all-boys school, which is a new experience for me, but I absolutely love it and look forward to the challenges and rewards that each day brings.

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

Just go for it! If I can do it at my age, anyone can do it! Follow your dreams — the hard work will all be worth it in the end. The PME is hard work and challenging at times, but, at the same time, it is extremely rewarding. I particularly enjoyed the placements, as they gave me the opportunity to put everything I had learnt into practice. My only regret is that I didn’t do the PME earlier!

Take the next step