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Blackboard Awards 2023

Patricia McShane, St Vincent's Centre

Subject or Primary school year: Nurture Practioner
Your place of birth: Belfast
Studied at: St Monicias and the College of Business Studies
First job: Clerical Officer
What it taught me: to be organised professional and working as a team is vital for success
Family/status: Married
Best advice you could give someone thinking of a teaching career: The best advice I could offer anyone thinking of a job in Education, is to treat the young person infront of you as an individual with their own wee suitcase. Take the good with the bad and try not to take anything personal and everything is communication! The way I work and that works for me is;
1) be consistant, 2) be honest, 3) most importantly be kind, and 4) build relationships.

As a student in St Monica's from 1972-1976, it was lovely, just 12 years later to be back working in their new unit St Vincent's, created to support the needs of young people with Social, Emotional and Behavioural issues, who struggled in a mainstream setting. 35 years later I am in the same place, sometimes supporting offspring of those first pupils. The reason I am part of the fixture and fittings is the young people. They make the centre. Although challenging at times, as our city's most marginalised and disadvantaged, they are funny, unique and watching them grow and develop makes my heart sing.
 I have seen many young people that society has written off, find their special talent, their calling and become successful people. I have learned what they need the most is an understanding ear, a second chance, someone to go the extra mile for them and sometimes a good hug. I have worn many hats in St Vincent's and believe it's important to adapt to meet the individual needs or young people. I now work as Nurture Practitioner with our year 8's. Our new intake each September are nervous and unsure what the next few years will hold for them. They arrive with negative experiences of education, very low self-esteem and confidence and they test boundaries. In Nurture, they build relationships, gain confidence and skills that help them manage behaviours and be open to learning. Watching and supporting these young people, not only in our Nurture room but throughout their time here, is a true privilege.
 When I started all those moons ago, I was like the big sister to everyone. This evolved into the aunty roll now I'm affectionately known in the school as 'Nanny T' and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Blackboard Awards 2023