College News


Student Teacher Tips from an NQT

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We welcome the newest cohort of student teachers to Hibernia College this month. They are beginning an exciting journey that will shape their professional lives as teachers. Between now and the end of the PME programme, they’ll encounter many opportunities for growth and learning  — from school placement to online events and assessments to the research project. In this post, newly qualified teacher (NQT) Katie Guinan offers student teacher tips for success.

Managing the requirements of the PME programme demands focus, organisation and support. Who better to light the way than someone who has travelled the road?

Katie is a recent graduate of the PME in Primary Education from Kerry. She was the 2020 recipient of the INTO Vere Foster Medal for Outstanding Performance in School Placement. She studied Applied Social Care at IT Tralee and taught in a primary school in the United Arab Emirates for three years prior to completing her PME. Have a look at Katie’s student teacher tips below.

Create a study space and get organised

Invest in a good diary, have a copy for each module, organise schools for placement early, start assignments well in advance and don’t let the workload build up.

Create a routine/timetable and stick to it

Every Monday, I used to log onto MyHelms (the College’s virtual learning environment) and write down everything that was on the calendar. The content varies each week, from online sessions to webinars, assignments, forms to upload and face-to-face classes. Give yourself a reminder of deadlines a week before they are due, and make a list each morning of what you need to get completed that day.

Get to know your fellow students

Working online can be lonely at times so make sure you get to know your class and keep in contact with them. Support from your peers is crucial during the course and classmates will become a very important support system. The online forums, face-to-faces classes, WhatsApp groups, the Facebook group and Instagram are all great ways to get to know students from different counties.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Friends, family, the College and your fellow peers are there for you. The College has fantastic support services available to students: email, telephone support, a live chat function, technical support, forums and live webinars. The College is very understanding when it comes to dealing with different issues that students might experience, and the online forum is always open to ask questions relating to the assignments.

Organise your placement schools early and make it a positive experience

Try to complete your placements in three different and diverse schools, if possible (e.g. teaching in a small, multi-grade class, large city school, all-girls school). Make positive connections with staff and principals while on placement. This is important for subbing/job opportunities when you finish. Invest in a good printer and start picking up resources early.

Give yourself breaks and days off

Self-care is crucial during the course!

Katie reflects, ‘The PME is not an easy undertaking and it requires a considerable amount of sacrifice and hard work. The workload can become overwhelming at times, especially during placement and when assignments are due. However, with good organisation skills and a support network (and lots of coffee!) it is certainly manageable.’

Thank you, Katie, for sharing these excellent student teacher tips. We hope you still have your cuppa for the classroom. 😉

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