Cedar Lodge Special School
School website: www.cedarlodgeschool.co.uk
Subject: General Subjects.
Your place of birth: Belfast.
Studied at: University of Ulster.
First job: Waitress at an Indian restaurant.
What it taught me: As a waitress, I developed core communication skills, how to adapt to different situations and customer needs and, overall, I learned to be patient, with the customer, my colleagues and even myself. I have been able to transfer these skills to my teaching career.
Family/status: Mum to two sons, Tom and Tighearnán, and wife to Seán
Best advice anyone ever gave you: My mother always told me: "Persevere and you will succeed, no matter how tough things are right now, hard work will pay off.” This advice was valuable throughout my teaching career, as we all know how difficult it can be to find permanent work. My husband's advice was steadfast, echoing my mother's: "Never forget, what you put out into the world, you will get back, ten-fold. Be positive and have faith."
Best advice you could give someone thinking of a teaching career: Before applying for your degree, build your experience in working with young people, whether it be through a youth programme, childcare or coaching. Get to know young people and what works for them, listen to their experiences of school, build a rapport and learn to respect our young people's voices. The more you build that understanding, the more effective a teacher you will be. A teaching role is much more than simply teaching. You will mentor, guide and deeply care about the young people you are responsible for.
I am a passionate teacher with a drive to better the lives of our young people across Belfast through the West Belfast Partnership Board. Without the support, mentoring, advice and guidance of everyone in the West Belfast Partnership Board, I wouldn't be the teacher I am today. Our aim is to better the lives of young people through up-skilling their employment chances with our GCSE programmes and Transition programmes which I am immensely proud to be a part of. The past three years have been difficult with Covid but with the unwavering commitment of our team, we have been able to continue with our support of young people online via Zoom and our GCSE Facebook pages. I am honoured to be part of such a dedicated team and thank everyone for this award nomination. I am simply representing every person across Northern Ireland who has worked to provide or support the education of our young people.