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Blackboard Awards 2024

Maria Collins 

St Oliver Plunkett Primary School 

School website:
Subject or primary school year: Primary 3. 
Your place of birth: Belfast.
Studied at: Edge Hill University. 
First job: St Oliver Plunkett Primary School. 
What it taught me: How every day in teaching is different. All children are unique and learn in different ways, at their own pace. The importance of relationship between teacher and pupil, and creating a safe, positive and stimulating learning environment.
Family/status: Single. 
Best advice you could give someone thinking of a teaching career: Being a teacher is the most rewarding journey. We have a unique opportunity that allows us inspire and empower the minds of our communities young children. We look to create a positive learning environment which will give them a space where they can feel confident and comfortable to learn. I believe that every child has the ability to do amazing things, to become the best version of themselves and as a teacher I aim to motivate all children to recognise their self-worth and full potential.

We need to encourage them to see the world in all of its flaws and inspire them to be a catalyst of change. Becoming a teacher involves patience, creativity, a nurturing nature and a genuine passion for promoting a real love for learning. Over time I have learned that my role goes beyond just the academic side. We play a crucial role in nurturing the social, emotional and physical development of each individual child to build the foundations for life-long learning. Each pupil is unique, they will have their preferred learning styles, so be creative. Tailor your approach and encourage your pupils to interact by bringing the curriculum to life. Allow children to explore, experiment and take a leading role in their learning. Provide a holistic environment that excites and engages children of all backgrounds and abilities.

Be a reflective practitioner, continuously assessing your practice to make improvements and raise standards. One thing that I have learned is don’t be afraid to ask for help. Teaching is a collaborative approach, so build effective relationships with your colleagues and parents to provide a supportive network that will enable each of you to make every day in educating and nurturing children count. Teaching is not just a profession, it is a vocation.

Throughout my adult life I have always had a passion for working with children. As a teenager I worked in child care before moving into the education sector as a nursery school classroom assistant which confirmed for me my aspirations of becoming a teacher. I enrolled at St Mary's University College where I attained a Bachelors in Business Studies before pursing my passion with a PGCE in Early Years from Liverpool Edge Hill.

After becoming a qualified teacher, I have been lucky enough to work as a teacher for the amazing St Oliver Plunkett Primary School from January 2020. Over this time, I have had the opportunity to gain experience teaching P1, P2, P3 and P7, which I feel has benefited me in my approach and view of each school level. The staff have both supported and believed in me, helping to widen my skillset and continue to develop each year from a confidence aspect as well as the technical side. I have loved my career to this point and feel rewarded each day. I am looking forward to continuing on this path to have a meaningful impact on the education and life of each pupil.

Blackboard Awards 2024