Career Profile: Working as a Secondary School Teacher

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Richelle Hurley, a Secondary School Teacher tells us about studying at St Patrick’s College, Thurles and teaching as a career.


At St Patrick’s College Thurles I undertook a BA in Education, Business, and Religious Studies. Since graduating in 2009, I was very lucky to secure employment immediately. I attribute this to the knowledge, skills, and support I received day-in and day-out from the college staff and my fellow classmates. In St Pat’s, I found that each student is treated as an individual and not just as a number! The small class sizes gave me a good opportunity to get to know lecturers and classmates, and created a positive learning environment.

The course offers plenty of on-the-job training. Year on year, students gain practical teaching experience in secondary-level schools throughout Ireland. This gave me an opportunity to reflect on my teaching style and taught me to continually re-evaluate my teaching methodologies.

My years in St Pat’s opened up a whole new world. It introduced me to lifelong friends, prepared me for a meaningful profession, and launched me on my way. The combination of enthusiastic and knowledgeable lecturers combined with a good balance between the theory and the practice made this a really rewarding and enjoyable course to do.

The Challenges and Rewards of Teaching

Teaching has many highlights as well as a variety of challenges. Some of the highlights include the sporting success of a school team and a transition-year drama performed without a glitch! School masses, seeing the delight on students’ faces as hard work and effort has paid off, and staff collaborating to maintain high levels of success – the list is endless!

However, teaching has associated challenges. These include: troublesome students, trying to motivate the unmotivated, strict deadlines, teaching plans which may not go to plan, and listening to excuses! Comforting students who have experienced a loss or who have problems at home is also very difficult. Thus teaching is not for the fainthearted! But when your heart is in the job you’re 99. 9 per cent of the way there!

For those considering a career in teaching it is important to know that teaching requires hard work, dedication, and commitment. To be a teacher you really need to have the desire to teach. Every day is a challenge and you are continually facing different students with different levels of abilities. Your role as a teacher is to instill confidence in each of your students so they can achieve the highest level of achievement possible for themselves.

As a teacher, I believe that it is my primary task to create a student-centred learning environment. As a professional teacher, I have a responsibility to recognise, respect, and uphold the dignity of students while assisting them in the formulation of value systems. My role as a teacher is to be an educator who maintains good classroom management while also encouraging students to excel to the best of their ability. is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses at certificate, diploma and degree level as well as providing information about career paths and directions.
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