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Blackboard Awards 2024

Fiona McKinley

Hazelwood Integrated College

School website:
Subject or primary school year: AEN Department.
Your place of birth: Co. Antrim.
Studied at: Queen's University.
First job: My uncle’s newsagents in Ballycastle, age 15.
What it taught me: Good mental maths skill was essential so as not to keep the customers waiting. 
Best advice you could give someone thinking of a teaching career: When considering a job in education, remember each student has their own little story and you get to play a part in the next chapter. I think that’s pretty special.

When I think back to being a student myself, I often recall the positive relationships I had with my teachers and I do believe this influenced my career path into education. I am fortunate to surround myself every day with the most amazing students at Hazelwood Integrated College in the role of Learning Mentor for Year 8 and Year 11. On a daily basis, I line-manage a fantastic bunch of classroom assistants and I also lead interventions, supporting students academically and emotionally throughout their Hazelwood journey.

Why do I do it? Because I love it and can’t imagine being anywhere else, to be honest. Each morning, I put on a pair of my favourite heels, have my daily to-do list at the ready, intending to smash the day ahead. Does it always go to plan? No, but that’s half the fun! Every child seeks something different and I'm privileged to be able to offer what they need.

I’m very proud of the work that the AEN team do to ensure the needs of our students are met, but most importantly, so students feel safe, valued and part of the Hazelwood community. 

Blackboard Awards 2024