Subject or Primary school year: Chemistry with General Science
Your place of birth: Belfast
Studied at: Queens Universiyy Belfast
First job: Youth Worker with the Methodist Church in Iowa, USA
What it taught me: It made me realise several things. That I wanted a job that was active, hands-on and not based in an office sitting at a desk; and that I wanted to work with people, especially young people.
Family/status: Married with 3 lively children
Best advice you could give someone thinking of a teaching career: Teaching is most definitely a vocation and not simply a profession. It is a role with an endless and ever-increasing to-do list, time pressures and deadlines which are always relentless. However, the knowledge that teachers can make a difference in other people’s lives, can bring light into the darkness, can bring sparkle into a dull situation, makes it all worthwhile.
I attended Belfast Royal Academy, went on to study Chemistry at Queens University and after graduating went back to do a PGCE in Chemistry with General Science. I decided that I wasn’t ready for the world of work and the commitments that it held so I joined a Youth Team based in Iowa, USA and excitedly embarked on my new adventure. I and the other members of my Team spent a fun and challenging year there working alongside many diverse individuals. We travelled, explored, met many new people, tried new things but ultimately it made me realise that my passion in life is helping others. People are happier, life is easier when we are supported and feel valued.
I returned home to Northern Ireland and took up a post at Glengormley High School. Many years later (no need to state the number of years) I am a proud member of the teaching staff of the newly named Integrated College Glengormley. I have been Head of Year since 2008 and currently also coordinate the mentoring support services in school. I love being an integral part of the Pastoral Team.
The Pandemic has caused many mental health issues. The level of anxiety and stress amongst pupils has dramatically increased but thankfully school continues to be a safe and consistent place for all. I love being a part of that support network, where I can help to make life better for others. If I can convince pupils to dare to dream and believe in themselves then I know that they will succeed and that I too have succeeded.