Primary Teaching

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Primary Teaching has long been a very popular CAO choice. That is hardly surprising. This is a rewarding career and it comes with generous holidays.

Primary school teachers face surprises and challenges in their work every day. There is a high level of responsibility involved in being in charge of thirty or so ‘little angels’ each day.


To become a primary teacher you will take a Bachelor of Education degree (BEd) at one of Ireland’s teacher training colleges.

Subjects on a BEd course include the History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Education. You will also study each of the subjects on the primary school curriculum. This include Art, Irish Language, Music, Maths, P. E., Religious Studies, and Social & Environmental Studies.

Students must do teaching practice. They begin by observing experienced teachers at work. After that, they must complete a certain amount of teaching hours themselves. You can also become a primary teacher by supplementing any approved degree with a a Graduate Diploma in Primary Education.

The Work

Graduates can work as substitute or temporary teachers relatively easily. Securing a permanent position can be more difficult.

Bachelor of Education graduates can also work in secondary education, as lecturers in third-level institutions, or as school inspectors.

Primary school teachers must not only teach the academic subjects on the national curriculum, they must also look after the personal, social, and physical development of the children. Preparing lesson plans, setting homework, marking tests, calling the roll, and keeping order in the classroom are all fundamental parts of the job.

Primary teachers may also perform tasks beyond simply teaching the four-times-tables and basic Irish verbs. You may need to apply plasters to grazed knees, organise three-legged races or art competitions, and deal with disruptive students and doting parents.

Some people are naturally suited to dealing with rooms full of demanding children. Ask yourself if you possess qualities such as understanding, patience, sympathy, and humour – all are essential for survival!

Primary teachers obviously spend most of their time in the classroom, which can be, and quite often is, a hectic place! And while some of the most appealing characteristics of teaching as a career are the relatively short days and long holidays, these perks are offset by the amount of time that must be invested in preparation and after-school activities. However, no matter how difficult or heavy the workload, teachers have the huge satisfaction of knowing that they occupy such a privileged and influential position in society.

Did you know?

Among the literary greats who also once worked as school teachers are the novelists William Golding (author of Lord of the Flies), Ireland’s John McGahern (author of Amongst Women), and the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Frost.

Further Resources

Department of Education and Skills

Scoilnet 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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