Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Brian Cadigan from Department of Education and Skills to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Brian Cadigan

Primary School Teacher

Department of Education and Skills

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  Brian Cadigan
Don't just go into teaching because you are looking for long holidays. To teach everyday you need to like children, be very patient and understanding. However I feel it is one of the most rewarding jobs out there.
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Social?
Social 
The Social person's interests focus on some aspect of those people in their environment. In all cases the social person enjoys the personal contact of other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people, and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
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1 Padraig Parle, Teacher - Special Needs
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Department of Education and Skills

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Resource Teacher 
Primary School Teacher 

 
Padraig Parle, Education Profile 

How did you go about getting your current job?
 


Describe a typical day?
Up 8am. Cycle to school. I have a class of nine children. I teach English and Maths til lunch time, then Religion and the rest of the Curriculum in the afternoon. Our school is in the city centre so we have numerous trips, museum visits, cinema trips. We are very involved in Art, Sport and Drama, and we go swimming also. We finish at 2:30. 


What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

I am responsible for the nine children in my class. Children with a Specific Learning Disability in reading are referred to our school. We keep them for two years. In that time we try help them catch up with their peers.

In a large classroom, children with problems can often get lost and left behind. In our school they are given lots of special attention in a small class of nine children. Work is set at their level and they almost always thrive in this environment. They learn reading through many enjoyable games and activities, one to one and small group learning, and they always gain in confidence as they progress.

We set specific goals for each child in our class when they arrive in our class in September. We write down and measure these goals in something called an IEP (Individual Education Profile).  In this way we can measure their progress and highlight and target the areas in which they struggle

 


What are the main challenges?
Each child is different and has his or her own difficulties. In a class of nine their may be as many as nine dramatically different levels of reading/ writing/ spelling ability. Knowing at what level to pitch a lesson can be challenging. This is why we practice a lot of group work/ games and learning activities in this school to meet the needs of the children, and ensure they are working within their own abilities while still being challenged and motivated 


What's cool?
The children in this school enjoy a small teacher pupil ratio of 9:1. As a result teachers get to know the pupils a lot better and see progress a lot more clearly. Also, with small numbers, you don't have to be so strict and can have quite a relaxed classroom atmosphere. It is also cool to know you are making a real difference in peoples lives. 


What's not so cool?
Special Needs teaching can be enjoyable and rewarding. However there is a lot of paperwork. 


What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?

I am patient and I enjoy working with children. It is nice to know there are people depending on you and that if you do not show up for work you are missed. It is nice to know you make a difference in peoples lives and give them a positive school experience.

Specifically I bring my artistic experience to the classroom and try pass that on to the children. I also coordinate collaborative art projects in the school. Every teacher has their own specific skills in life and it is nice to be able to implement mine in school.