I’ve wanted to be a primary school teacher since I was three years old (or so my mam tells me!). I used to spend so much time teaching my teddies and dolls and I had a little blackboard with chalk. I was the oldest child in the housing estate so I spent a lot of time playing teacher with the younger children in the back garden. For me, teaching was always what I wanted to do and I love working as a teacher now.
There are 4 main colleges to complete initial teacher education.
- Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.
- St. Patricks College, Drumcondra, Dublin.
- Marino Institute of Education, Dublin.
- Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education, Maynooth.
You can also complete training in;
- The Church of Ireland College of Education, Rathmines, Dublin.
I chose Mary Immaculate College because I had heard good things about it. It was also easier to move to Limerick rather than Dublin. The thoughts of moving to Dublin at 17 on my own was just too daunting so Mary I seemed like the better option for me.
I have worked with teachers who trained in St. Pat’s, Marino and Froebel and all of them were happy with the teacher training they received and are all excellent teachers!
Personally I don’t think the teacher training you receive really determines the type of teaching you become. I learned so much more about teaching and working with children while actually teaching rather than when I was in college. Choose the college that you think is right for you – location for me was the biggest factor.
If you have completed a degree already and want to become a teacher you can complete a post graduate/ masters degree with the above named colleges or with Hibernia College.
What’s involved in initial teacher education?
Lectures, assignments, exams and teaching practice.
We had about 25 hours during our time in college. There was a huge amount of lectures including;
- Teaching of each of the subjects (Literacy, Numeracy, Gaeilge, SESE, SPHE, P.E., Art, Music, Drama and Religion)
- Teaching Methodologies
- Infant Teaching Methodologies
- Certificate in Religious Education
- Certificate in SEN
- Arts Subject (We had to complete 2 Arts subjects in our first year and pick one of them to complete to degree level for the rest of the degree)
- History of Education
- Philosophy of Education
- Developmental Psychology
- Psychology of Education
- Sociology of Education
(These changed each semester – you completed different subjects each semester and then changed to the others the following semester and then resisted them the following year.)
Assignments were completed for some lectures during the semester and this counted towards your final result. Exams were then completed at the end of each semester.
This is where you go to schools – either in the local area or else in your home area. Usually you spend a week observing in the school and then you teach the children for a certain amount of lessons a day. We did a lot of partner teaching practice during the three years of the course – so we were paired with another student and we each covered half the subjects each day. Then we did the opposite subjects the following week.
Why I love being a teacher
- No two days are ever the same. I love working with children – inspiring them, motivating them, having fun and learning from them too!
- It’s rewarding – when you see a child finally get something after days/weeks/months of struggling – that light bulb moment makes it worth while!
- Making a difference – during the course of the year you make such a difference to a child’s life – both in helping them to reach their potential, encouraging them and enabling them to develop skills – both academically and socially.
- It’s a really busy job. I thrive in a busy environment when theres so much to do that you don’t know where to start. There is not much down time during the course of a day in school and it makes the days go so fast! Theres so much to deal with from parents to principals, school concerts to sports days and tours!
- Express creative side – teaching encourages you to think creatively. Children are so different and a one size fits all approach rarely works – you have to constantly think creatively to help children to understand what you are teaching.
- Finally the holidays are great!