Malone Integrated College
School website: www.malonecollege.org.uk
Subject: Home Economics.
Your place of birth: Dundonald.
Studied at: University of Ulster Jordanstown.
First job: Waitress in Bleekers restaurant.
What it taught me: When you’re dealing with the public you need to keep a smile on your face and comfortable shoes on your feet.
Family/status: Was married for 34 years and have four amazing children: Jemma, Katie, Daniel, Conor and two adorable granddaughters.
Best advice anyone ever gave you: From my mum, “Sleep on it... it’ll all look better in the morning.”
Best advice you could give someone thinking of a teaching career: Best job in the world. And as someone much wiser than me once said: “There are two very good reasons to go into teaching... and one of them’s July.”
After receiving my Home Economics degree in 1987 and while the children were young, I spent a number of years working as a freelance home economist for various organisations: Seafish Authority, An Bord Iascaigh Mhara and the Livestock and Meat Commission. I also taught evening cookery classes – my men’s class at Castlereagh College were a special bunch of gents, they were such good fun.
During these years, I worked part-time in the Education Department of Hydebank Young Offenders Centre. The boys loved the Cookery and Parentcraft classes and I loved their quick wit and Belfast humour.
In 2003 I started teaching in Malone College, an integrated school with a huge emphasis on equality and respect for diversity. When I set up the Anti-Bullying Ambassadors group to focus on this, we were delighted to be invited to visit the Facebook office in Dublin to receive the Diana Award for this work.
As Head of Year 10, I never know what a day will bring – there’s nothing like being surrounded by teenagers to keep you grounded and give you a laugh.
Respect doesn’t just appear with the job title, it’s earned through building relationships with students and their parents/carers. I really enjoy this pastoral role and I’ve worked hard to support my Year Group whilst always maintaining support for my colleagues. In fact, all our Malone College staff have been an incredible support to me during a particularly difficult time in our family recently. It really brought home to me the strength of our team and why I love working with them and our pupils – they’re amazing.