Alumni Story

“I can honestly say that the PME was the best investment I have ever made in myself.”

Originally from Kerry, Katie graduated from Hibernia’s PME in Primary Education in 2020. Katie was awarded the INTO Vere Foster Medal for Outstanding Performance in School Placement.

Why did you choose teaching at Hibernia College?

I am a firm believer in the saying that everything happens for a reason and I feel it strongly resonates with my teaching journey. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied Social Care, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to go travelling and see what the rest of the world had to offer.

While teaching was not a career I had previously considered, I ended up moving to Abu Dhabi and working as a primary school teacher. Within my very first week in the classroom, I knew I had found my passion in life and I haven’t looked back since. I spent three years teaching in the UAE before deciding to move home to complete my PME with Hibernia College.

I chose Hibernia due to the flexible nature of the course, which allowed me to continue working part-time throughout my studies.”

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

I graduated from IT Tralee with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied Social Care in 2013. I have always had a passion for helping others and this undergraduate degree afforded me the opportunity to work with some of society’s most vulnerable individuals, including those with disabilities, the homeless and young people in disadvantaged areas. After college, I spent three years teaching in the Middle East, where my love for the profession grew. During this time, I developed and honed my teaching skills which was fundamental to my success in the PME. When I moved back to Ireland and during my studies, I worked as a preschool teacher and an afterschool club facilitator in a local childcare centre.

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

My teaching experiences in the Middle East, married with my experiences in several multicultural Irish primary schools, have shaped my passion for diversity and inclusion. I believe diversity in primary classrooms provides significant learning experiences for children that is fundamental to a cohesive society. I aspire to make my future classroom inclusive to children of all abilities, ethnicities, religious backgrounds and socio-economic status. During my undergraduate degree, I completed my Final Year Project on Educational Disadvantage and during the PME, I conducted research on Teachers Attitudes Towards Teaching Religion in Multicultural Catholic Primary Schools.

Now that you have graduated, what are your plans?

I am currently subbing in local primary schools and I would absolutely love to complete Droichead in the next twelve months. Since finishing the PME, I also have been privately tutoring children and assisting them with their various educational needs. I work on a one-to-one basis with struggling readers and provide them with the skills and confidence needed to achieve their educational goals. I plan to continue my professional development by completing various CPD courses during my free time. In the future, I also aspire to become a qualified meditation instructor for children, which I feel would be a great asset to my professional skill set.

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

Firstly, I would advise anyone interested in doing the course to get experience in a primary school and to be certain that this is the career they want to pursue. Teaching is a vocation and the PME can be extremely challenging, costly and it takes a lot of personal sacrifice. However, I can honestly say that it was the best investment I have ever made in myself and it has prepared me well for life as an NQT. The most important piece of advice that I could give to someone is what you put into the course, you will get out of it.

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