Subject or Primary school year: Primary 1
Your place of birth: Belfast
Studied at: St Mary's Univeristy College
First job: Volunteer at British Heart Foundation
What it taught me: It helped me to recognise the importance of looking out for others and being their to support your community. Always offer a helping hand you never know when you will need to lean on others.
Best advice you could give someone thinking of a teaching career: Teaching is a work of Heart. If your heart isn't in it for the right reasons you will struggle to find the joy in the most challenging situations. There will be times that you will be tested but those little minds will remind you daily of the difference you are making. Every day is a chance to begin again. As a teacher no two days will be the same, take time to reflect on your teachings not just for ways to improve but to celebrate successes. Pupils don't need you to be perfect, they just need you to love them. It is not sustainable to strive for perfection instead you should aim to better than the day before.
During my time at St Dominic's, the pastoral care that my teachers provided, particularly Miss Davison my Art Teacher is what inspired me to become a teacher. I studied for my Bachelor of Education degree in Primary Education with subject specialism in Art and Design. The most prevalent learning I took from my studies was the important of a school connected to its community. To aid children in reaching their full potential you must first gain the trust and respect of their parents as primary educators. Listen to and validate their concerns, only then will they be open and trust that your offers of support are genuine.
Much of my teaching experience has been in Donegall Road Primary School in Primary 1. As a nurturing school, meeting the emotional needs of each child is central to ensuring every child achieves their full potential. Taking time to interact with each child daily to check in on how they are feeling is of utmost importance. Creating an environment that allows children to develop their voice in a safe and secure environment will allow them to feel secure enough to share their thoughts/ experiences on the not-so-great days. I believe that you should never allow a child to feel ashamed of their behaviour.
All behaviour is communication, when a child displays undesirable behaviours, they are not giving you a hard time, they are the ones experiencing a hard time. When a child has been given the tools to manage and regulate their emotions this will allow them to build resilience and believe in their capabilities. When a child believes in their greatness, their intrinsic motivation enables them to strive to be the best version of themselves.