Subject or Primary school year: SEN Teaching Assistant
Your place of birth: Belfast
Studied at: Northern Regional College
First job: Tesco
What it taught me: The importance of good communication, punctuality, remaining calm under pressure and the ability to work as part of a team.
Family/status: Married with two children - Evana (9) and Parker (4)
Best advice you could give someone thinking of a teaching career: Being a teaching assistant is undoubtedly the most rewarding job. At times it can be challenging but knowing that you are making a positive difference to pupils makes it all worthwhile when you see them succeed and achieve. Being a teaching assistant requires you to be resilient, compassionate, patient and hardworking. Each pupil has their own strengths, interests and needs and it is up to us to be sensitive, patient and understanding and look for ways to bring out the best in them. No two days are ever the same so if you have a difficult day, pick yourself up, put a smile on your face because tomorrow is a new day. Lastly, never be too serious, have a good trusting relationship with the pupils and be able to have a laugh with them.
I grew up in Newtownabbey and attended Carnmoney Primary School as a child. I continued my education at Glengormley High school and these were the happiest days of my life. I have very fond memories of my time at school. I always knew that I wanted to work with children so after leaving school I studied at Northern Regional College to complete my BTEC Diploma in Childhood Studies. From there I got a job in Carnmoney Day Nursery where I worked for seven years.
I come from a family of teachers and decided that I wanted to become a teaching assistant and in 2006 I started working in Newtownbreda High school which on amalgamation with Knockbreda High School formed Breda Academy.
Twenty four years after leaving Glengormley High School I am back working as an SEN teaching assistant in an ASC provision within the school and I love it! The school which officially became Integrated College Glengormley after receiving its integrated status in September 2022 is amazing. It is a privilege to work in a school with fantastic pupils and have the support of wonderful staff. I absolutely love my job and I am passionate about making a difference in the lives of the pupils I support. The ability to make a positive impact on anyone’s life, no matter how big or small, is an amazing opportunity to be given.