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What are your interests?



Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.

Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.

Paul Galvan, Resource Teacher
Education & Teaching

Paul Galvan, Resource Teacher

Paul Galvan is a Resource Teacher working in the Patrician Secondary School in Newbridge, Co Kildare. He decided to study for a B.A Honours in Geography and French following his Leaving Cert, as these were subject that he had a great interest in.  He was then eligible to study for the H. Dip in Education, which he carried out in NUI Maynooth .

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first question!

What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?

Opting to study for a B.A following my Leaving Cert. This provided me with an entry route to studying for the H. Dip in Education.

Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?

I suppose ultimately career decisions are decisions that you need to make for yourself. That said, my parents were very supportive of my decision to go to college. I also gained valuable work experience through various part-time jobs. These helped me decide what work I liked and what I was good at.

How did you go about getting your current job?

I sent my C.V. and a cover letter to the school.

Describe a typical day?

I usually arrive in school about 8:15. Classes don’t start until 9:00 but I like to get some corrections and preparation done first. I would usually have between 6 and 9 class periods each day. Each class lasts 40 minutes.

On a typical day I would teach a variety of different classes and age groups, ranging from first year through to Leaving Cert. At 11:00 there is a ten minute break. Some days I would be required to supervise the corridors at this time.

After break there are two more classes before lunch at 12:25. Lunch is a good chance to catch up with colleagues in the staff room. At 1:25 class starts again. There are 4 classes in the afternoon with school finishing at 4pm.

I coach the school soccer team so I might have a training session for an hour and a half after school. Other days I might have to supervise in-school study for 2 hours. If I’m not doing extra curricular activities or study I usually stay in school and do some corrections, photocopying and preparations.

There is quite an amount of paperwork involved for a resource teacher as daily logs of student’s progress and activities must be kept. I might also use this time to update a student’s individual education plan (I.E.P) and make changes based on my assessment of their progress this week.

What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

The primary task of the resource teacher is the teaching of students with special educational needs (SEN). The resource teacher forms part of the SEN support team in the school.

The SEN support team is usually made up of the Principal, deputy Principal, Guidance Counsellor, Learning Support Co-ordinator and Learning Support Teacher. This team works closely with mainstream Teachers in identifying and providing support for students with SEN.

The daily tasks of a resource teacher consist of providing specific support in literacy and maths to students with SEN. This support would usually take the form of a tailored educational programme which takes account of the student’s specific needs.

The resource teacher would also provide for the students social and life skills development. The Resource Teacher is also responsible for the formal and informal assessment of students with SEN. Together with other members of the SEN team the Resource Teacher is responsible for the selection and implementation of tests to assess a student’s progress. This assessment usually takes the form of diagnostic testing as well as in-school assessment.

The gathering of information from outside professionals for use in I.E.P’s is another task for the Resource Teacher. This information is sourced from Psychologists, Speech Therapists etc,. As this information is of a sensitive nature utmost discretion is important.

What are the main challenges?

The main challenges revolve around trying to ensure that you are achieving the best learning outcomes for students. Prioritising learning needs for students can be challenging, as there are often subtle learning difficulties which can prove difficult to target.

Encouraging positive self esteem in students with SEN is another challenge, as often students with SEN feel left behind. This can result in behavioural issues and low self esteem.

Lastly, special education is an evolving area of expertise and there is a need to continually update skills and keep abreast of current research and best practice. Continual professional development is very important for a resource teacher.

What's cool?

The rewards of helping students to learn, and developing a positive relationship with them is definitely cool. The feeling that you are making a difference to their education and experience of school is also rewarding. Another cool part of the job is the long holidays!

What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?

A willingness to work as part of a team and to engage with the school community as a whole.

An interest in teaching and learning.

A willingness to contribute to a variety of school activities.

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

For my Leaving Certificate I studied English, Irish, Maths, Physics, French, Geography and History. My favourite subjects were Geography, Physics, French and English. I knew that I would like to study a combination of these subjects in further education. I think as regards a career path it’s a good idea to study subjects you like and are good at.

What is your education to date?

B.A. (Hons.). H. Dip Education. Certificate in Dyslexia.

What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?

Being an expert in your subject area is important. The professional training received during my teacher education and further specialist training / CPD in the area of special education.

What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?

I think the most rewarding events in my career would have to be engaging with my students and seeing them develop as learners and individuals.

What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?

Patience (you need lots if it!), a sense of humour, a professional attitude to my work and a desire to help my students.

What is your dream job?

With the risk of sounding annoying… this is. If I wasn’t doing this job I might like to work outdoors, possibly in an environmental area.

Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?

Overall I would say yes. Teaching hours are very social, there is no shift work and the holidays are fantastic. The pay is reasonable too. That said you are unlikely to become a millionaire doing this job!

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

I would advise them to ensure they enjoy working with young people. If possible try to get some teaching experience; I started out as a substitute teacher before applying for my H Dip in Education.

What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?

Patience, a sense of humour, and a desire to help students develop to the best of their ability.

What is your favourite music?

A bit of everything from Bob Dylan through to Joe Satriani.

What is your pet hate at work?

The fight for the photocopier!!

Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?

Yes it’s always necessary to keep up to date with best practice in special education. I have completed a Cert. in Dyslexia which is DES (Department of Education and Science) approved. In the future I intend to study for a Masters degree. I also read books and publications on special education and teaching methodology.

What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

I think youth work or being part of an organization working with young people.

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