Career guide: Teaching
Good teachers are on their way to the top of the class
Teacher training practice at St Patrick’s Teacher Training College, Drumcondra, Dublin
Whisper it: bad teachers may be on their way out. Quietly, those working in the profession acknowledge that, while there are many excellent experienced teachers, there are few young teachers who have simply fallen into the profession. This is because it’s become a more challenging job and, in spite of that old chestnut about the amazing summer holidays, it’s not the easiest job in which to establish a sustainable career.
Is teaching for you? Here are a few ways of telling: do you enjoy explaining things to people? Do you have a particular subject or subjects you enjoy? Are you good at listening to people and understanding them? Are you okay with public speaking? Do you like ideas and projects? How do you feel about a life in the classroom?
Most importantly, perhaps, a good teacher is willing to continue learning throughout their life, whereas a bad teacher thinks they know it all already.
And let’s face it, although many teachers have heavy workloads during the year, it is a career that is particularly conducive to family life.
Depending on where and what they want to teach, students take very different routes. Primary teachers study for their degree in one of the teacher-training colleges, whereas secondary school teachers generally do an undergraduate science, arts or business-based degree and then take on a postgraduate diploma in education.
Where to study teaching
St Patrick’s Drumcondra and Marino College of Education in Dublin, as well as Mary Immaculate in Limerick, are managed by the Catholic Church.
The Church of Ireland College of Education in south Dublin trains primary teachers for Protestant schools. Froebel College of Education at Maynooth University is the only publicly funded secular college of education in the State. The newest player, Hibernia, a private online-learning college, has been creeping up on the inside and has trained some excellent teachers.
You can also study primary teaching at post-grad level at colleges including including Mary Immaculate, Froebel College, Marino and St Patrick’s, after a non-teaching primary degree.
Post-primary teacher training is at post-graduate level at Trinity College, UCD, and NUI Galway. But there are more direct routes to post-primary teaching, with a physical education teacher-training course at the University of Limerick, a science teacher-training course at DCU, and home economics at St Angela’s in Sligo.
Career opportunitiesPat King
Meanwhile, the Irish National Teachers Organisation believes demand for primary teaching will remain strong.