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Blackboard Awards 2023

Lisa McCrystal, St John the Baptist

Subject or Primary school year: P1 Teacher
Your place of birth: Downpatrick
Studied at: Assumption Grammar then St Mary’s College
First job: Piano Teacher
What it taught me: Teaching the piano taught me how to be patient and the importance of showing joy to my students
Family/status: Married with 1 child who is severely autistic
Best advice you could give someone thinking of a teaching career: A teaching career will bring you more rewards than any other job. It will allow you to make a fundamental difference to many lives and will enable you to provide young people with the skills and knowledge they need to become amazing people.

I began piano lessons at the age of 4 and qualified as a piano teacher at the age of 14. As soon as I started teaching piano I knew that primary school teaching was the path for me. I studied music at St Mary’s College and was very lucky to get my first teaching job in St John the Baptist as soon as I graduated. I have remained in the same school for 27 years. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to teach all classes from P1 - P7. I am the Arts and Assessment co-ordinator within the school which are fantastic roles as it means I still get to work with all classes throughout the school. 
 Teaching music has allowed me to get to know the community and bring happiness to many lives. Music has also allowed to me to inspire children from all backgrounds and abilities. When my son was diagnosed with autism it began a whole new journey for my husband and I. We are now passionate about supporting parents in our school with autistic children and we have set up an autism support group within our school community. We meet regularly to give talks, advice and share our experiences. I love being a teacher and for me nothing beats being able to make a genuine impact on so many lives. I am privileged to be able to do that every day.

Blackboard Awards 2023