Occupations in the education sector comprise of the Teachers, Lecturers and Trainers operating in the Primary, Post-Primary and Tertiary education system.
There are specific requirements for students who want to become a teachers, depending on whether it is at Primary, Secondry or Tertiary level.
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.
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?
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 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?
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?
What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?
What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?
What is your dream job?
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?
What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?
What is your favourite music?
Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?