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Blackboard Awards

Jacqueline Gargan

Glastry College
School website:
Subject: Business Studies.
Your place of birth: Belfast.
Studied at: Stranmillis University College.
First job: Dishwasher in the Royal Hotel in Bangor.
What it taught me: The importance of a strong work ethic and how important working with others is – everyone, no matter the job, is part of the team and needs to do their bit to reach the overall goal. At 16 years old, my mum (who worked three jobs to pay the rent) told me to go find a job! This was a real eye-opener, but it helped me develop those vital transferrable skills and qualities needed for the working world and also taught me valuable lessons. I'm pleased to say I still have this strong work ethic and will pass it on to my kids also.
Family/status: Married with two children: Amy is 13 and Lily is 9.
Best advice anyone ever gave you: That we work to live, not live to work. My very first HOD – Elaine Firth – told me this in my very first week of teaching and it has always stuck with me.
Best advice you could give someone thinking of a teaching career: Work hard, but play harder! Working in education is by no means easy, but it is one of the most rewarding professions. Never underestimate the impact you will have on a child's life,  academically and pastorally. But also remember we don't have all the answers all the time, but if you invest your time in that child, encouraging them, speaking for them, celebrating them, they will remember that for the rest of their lives. Be prepared to do more than 'teach'.

Ever since my first day of P1 I always wanted to be a teacher – the specialist area just changed along the way! It wasn't until studying A-Level Economics at Sullivan Upper that I fell in love with all things Business. Having graduated from Stranmillis University College in July 2003, I took up a post for a six-month maternity in Glastry College in October 2003. Fast-forward 18 years and I am still there, now as HOD for Business Studies, Subject Co-Ordinator for Employability and External Data Manager. I consider myself to be very lucky being part of the truly wonderful Glastry Family, because that is just what we are – staff and students. Knowing that I can make a small positive impact on a child's life is the most rewarding part of this job. 
Anyone who knows me knows that I am also quite sociable, and luckily for me so are the staff (and students) I work with. Away from the classroom we have many a team-building session. We try to get out together at least once per half term (though usually more!) with the teachers also going for a weekend of craic in late January – even going to NYC for the tenth anniversary of the trip. 
I am so lucky to work with the most amazing people and feel privileged to call them my friends, forming an even closer bond during the pandemic, where we faced and rose to the challenges together. I am shocked, but delighted to be nominated for this award – it is for my Glastry family as I wouldn't be half the teacher I am without their help, support and encouragement.

Blackboard Awards