St Paul’s Primary School
School website: www.stpaulsmica.com
Subject: Special Educational Needs.
Your place of birth: Belfast.
Studied at: QUB and St Mary’s University.
First Job: Sales assistant, Poundstretcher, Victoria Centre.
What it taught me: The value of team work and that every person has a role to play. Working with the general public was demanding but rewarding. The customer was always right (except when they were wrong).
Best advice anyone ever gave you: Self-care is paramount – you cannot pour from an empty cup. As teachers we become so adept at fulfilling the needs and expectations of others that often we neglect to care properly for ourselves. Post-pandemic this has never been more true so fill your cup, whatever that looks like for you, do more of the things that nourish your mind, body and soul.
Best advice you could give someone thinking of a teaching career: A sense of humour is a must, work hard but never take yourself too seriously. Always have an open mind and an open heart. Be curious and strive to provide learning experiences which allow children to be creative, expressive and inventive. Always ask yourself the question, ‘Is what I’m doing good enough for my own son/daughter/niece/nephew?’ If the answer is no then change it and make it better – your pupils deserve that.
Originally from St James’s Park Belfast, I’m very proud of my roots. I am married to Graeme and have two teenage children, Beth and Matthew. I studied English Literature and Social Anthropology at QUB, graduating in 1992. After a couple of years teaching basic literacy and numeracy skills to adults I did my PGCE. As the daughter of a teacher I felt I had a complete understanding of the commitment, dedication and work ethos necessary to be in the teaching profession. Initially post-PGCE I subbed for a few years before securing my permanent post in St Paul’s P.S. in June 2000. I mainly taught from P5 to P7 classes and was R.E. Coordinator before taking on the role of SENCO in 2012.
I love my job and our pupils and parents never cease to amaze me. I am passionate about ensuring pupils with learning differences are fully accepted, celebrated and provided with every opportunity to excel in school. I feel lucky to be part of the St Paul’s family and learning community. My teaching colleagues are the hardest working people I know, always striving to provide our pupils with new learning experiences and opportunities.
A few years ago I completed my Masters in Special Education at St Mary’s College alongside a qualification in Play Therapy. I have a a very supportive, innovative management team and in 2020 we opened our specialist ASC provision. It is a privilege for me to be a small part of the life journey of each pupil I work with and I feel it is my duty to do the best job I can day and daily. My job is challenging at times but it is extremely rewarding. To relax I read historical novels, go for long walks with my family every Sunday on the Antrim coast and enjoy cookery.