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Naturalist?

Naturalist

Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.

Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.

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Interviews
Deirdre Sayers, Primary School Teacher
Education & Teaching

Deirdre Sayers, Primary School Teacher

Deirdre Sayers is a National School Teacher working in Scoil Naomh Eoin, Baiste, Listóil, Co Chiarraí. She did a  B.Ed degree in Mary Immaculate College in Limerick. Her degree was in Education, Irish, Philosophy and History. She holds a post of responsibility in the school and teaches throughout the medium of Irish.

Ask me your
first question!

What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?

The main things that shaped my career were the subjects I took in school which lent themselves to this career. Obviously doing a B.Ed. in college also lent itself to teaching as a career.

Being a native Irish speaker shaped the path my career would take within teaching as 99% of my teaching career has been spent either in all Irish schools or Gaeltacht schools.

Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?

Initially my decision was influenced by friends who were doing primary teaching. A lot of people from my area choose teaching as they would have had great command of Irish. The school I attended had a great history of sending pupils forward for teaching.

How did you go about getting your current job?

Initially I got a phone call from Chairman of the  Board of Management (B.O.M.) to take a subbing position in the school. That then became temporary some six months later. The job was then advertised and I applied for it.

The interview panel consisted of the Chairperson of the B.O.M, a retired Primary Principal and a Bishop's nominee as this was a diocesan school. I was questioned about the school, its ethos, how I would teach certain subjects and my extra-curricular interests.

I was told that I was successful through a phone call from the Chairperson.

Describe a typical day?

A typical day would begin with prayer and roll call. Then we would go through the timetable for the day beginning with Irish then Maths, English, Religion, History or Geography, Drama, Music, or PE -  just a sample of the many subjects we get through in a day. 

Most classes are of half an hour duration during which time you are trying to keep all levels of ability engaged and also two classes working as I teach in a multiclass situation. The timetable can be completely altered by visitors, dramas, choir practice and preparation for first holy communion to name just a few!

What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

My main task is the education of the children in my care. I am responsible for them in every way while they are under my care.

I also am a post holder in the school and that post of responsibility gives me areas that I am in charge of such as rotas for yard duty, the organisation of the school year in terms of days off etc.

What are the main challenges?

I feel most challenged by the changing children in front of me! Children are more questioning than ever, they need more diverse methods of teaching to keep them engaged. The child with learning difficulties and the child with above average abilities as well as the average child all have to be kept engaged. This is not an easy task working within the confines of the curriculum which you are under pressure to deliver.

What's cool?

The cool things are the hours, the time off i.e long summer holidays etc. I like the interaction with children and fellow teachers. There is a great sense of satisfaction in seeing another person develop both academically and emotionally.

What's not so cool?

The downside of the school year is that there is no flexibility in holidays, this is not so cool when you have to holiday at peak times and pay top rates.

Dealing with disruptive children, or aggressive parents is not so cool!

One of the other aspects that can be testing is yard duty on cold winter days, cleaning up sick and dealing with "accidents" that small children can have.

What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?

I think I am a good listener, with an empathy for people. I like children and I get great satisfaction from passing on knowledge and seeing the children actively learning from me.

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

I took seven subjects for my Leaving Cert. These were primarily arts subjects with the exception of Biology and Maths.

These subjects were ideal for a B.Ed. Degree course. They would have restricted my entry into the sciences, however. In hindsight I would not have done anything differently for the career path I choose. However, I might have had a wider career path if I had studied a wider base of subjects.

What is your education to date?

I have an honours Leaving Cert. with seven honours subjects.  I achieved one A four B's and two C's.

I then did a B.Ed Degree in Mary Immaculate College in Limerick. My Degree was in Education, Irish, Philosophy and History.  I took Education and History to Degree level.  I have since done courses in Special Education, art and the teaching of Irish. I do inservice training as a matter of course every year in different subjects.

What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?

The most relevant course I did was my B.Ed. Degree within that education itself was of most relevance.

What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?

Probably helping children who have learning difficulties and the sense of achievement one gets when you see an improvement in their reading etc., and a corresponding improvement in their self-esteem.

What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?

I listen well,have patience and warmth with the children-know how to discipline by being firm but fair.I find it easy to build up a rapport with both children and their parents which helps tremendously.

What is your dream job?

My dream job would be working with children with learning difficulties on a one-to-one basis giving them the time and resources needed to improve their learning.

Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?

One of the undisputed benifits of primary teaching are the hours! It allows you spend a lot of time with family.Without wishing to sound sexist it is an ideal job for somebody with small children as your hours and holidays coincide with theirs.It is also a secure job and has a very attractive pension.The downside is it doesn't have great progression opportunities especially in small schools.

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

Do not go into teaching solely for holidays, and definitely not if you want to be rich! You need to like children be patient, kind and be able to work with many types of people.

What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?

The 3 most important characteristics for the job: unflappability, kindness and patience!

What is your favourite music?

My favourite music would be folk, rock and roll and bands such as the Eagles, Gordan Lightfoot and Janis Ian.

What is your favourite film?

My favourite film is the Shawshank Redemption.

What is your pet hate at work?

Yard duty and rainy days when the children are in all day.

What is your star sign?

Pisces.

Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?

I have done courses on Special Education, Learning Difficulties inc. Autism, Asbergers.

What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

Work experience in a classroom situation helping a teacher. Working in a creche or nursery or volunteering with children's groups such as Girl Guides and Beavers etc.

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