‘Transformative’ role of teachers recognised in new initiative

Public invited to share personal stories of exceptional teachers

Dublin City University has launched a "teachers inspire" initiative aimed at recognising the transformative role of educators.

Members of the public are being invited to share their personal story of how a teacher transformed their lives or their community.

Stories can be submitted either through the teachersinspire.ie website.

After the closing date at the end of June, a shortlist of the most compelling stories will be chosen by a panel.


The campaign will culminate in a gala dinner in September, at which teachers from across Ireland will be acknowledged and celebrated.

‘National treasure’

Speaking at the launch, Dr Anne Looney, executive dean of DCU's institute of education said the Irish teacher is a "national treasure".

“ Researchers and policy-makers from across the world want to know how to replicate what we have,” she said.

“They can’t. It’s a combination of the value we place on education, our cultural values, and the high regard we have for those who choose to become teachers. We can never take any of this for granted.”

She said the campaign was a chance to remind ourselves of this and to remind teachers that they do important work that changes lives.

Katie O'Brien, a second year student from Loreto College in Swords, who was also present at the launch, said teachers at her school have "definitely helped me to figure out my strengths and interests".

“ Since starting secondary school, my current maths teacher has really inspired me to think about a career in Stem in the future. I wouldn’t have considered this before but he really goes above and beyond in helping our class to enjoy the subject,” she said.

President of DCU Professor Brian MacCraith said the university was delighted to play a central role in the development of the campaign.

“ This is a significant national initiative that recognises the incredible work of so many teachers in changing lives and advancing communities across Ireland. It is important that exceptional teachers get the validation and recognition they deserve.”

Teachers who are singled out for recognition will be presented with the "Desmond Awards", named after businessman Dermot Desmond, who has supported the initiative.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent