Photo of Yvonne Thornton

Alumni profile

Yvonne Thornton

PME in Post-Primary Education



Douglas Community School


Bachelor of Commerce


The John O’Connor Award for Excellence in Business Studies Teaching
presented by Business Studies Teacher’s Association of Ireland (BSTAI)

Why did you choose teaching and why Hibernia College?

I have always been a passionate believer in the importance of education and loved my own time as a student. I thoroughly enjoy working with children of all ages. After many years working in the Financial Services industry, I was keen to retrain to be a teacher in order to pursue my interest in working in an educational setting. I wanted to assist students to learn and develop to the best of their ability while also relating this learning to their lives and future careers. 

I chose Hibernia college as it offered me the flexibility that I needed as a mum of three small kids ranging in age from 10 months to 4.5 years. For the most part, I was able to set my own learning time around the demands of a young family.


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

I had over 15 years’ experience in the Financial Services industry prior to commencing my PME. I have found this to be an asset in the classroom where I can offer students real world knowledge and experience. This helps to ignite their interest and enthusiasm as well as giving them a more meaningful sense of how their learning translates to life beyond the classroom.


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

My research project focused on the transition that students undertake in moving from primary to post-primary school. I had a personal interest in this area as it was a time in my own education that I found difficult and I wanted to explore the challenges that students faced during this time and what could be done to make the transition easier. 


Now that you have graduated, what are your plans?

I am now working full-time in a post-primary school, close to where I live, teaching Business, Accounting and Economics. I am currently also going through the Droichead process. I am really enjoying being in the classroom full-time and taking the students through a full academic year and preparing them for the exams ahead. It is a challenging time to start, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic but the staff and students have been great and it proves how resilient we all can be. I am, however, looking forward to what will come in the next academic year, one that will hopefully be without face coverings where relationships can be developed in a more normal setting.


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

My advice to any person considering doing the PME is to follow their instincts and if this is something they really want to do, go for it. There will always be concerns in pursuing the commitment of 2 more years of study, be they financial concerns, managing other work or family during an intense time of study and change of career or wondering how long it would take before getting a job once you qualified. I knew I wanted to teach for many years before commencing my PME. I had many fears and tried to put it to the back of my mind. But eventually I realised I had to just do it, or I would always regret it. My only regret now is I didn’t do it sooner. A PME is not easy, it takes commitment and determination but this can all be done and has been done many time before by people who are passionate about teaching and the reward is certainly worth the effort that the PME requires.

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