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Jennifer Coffey

Primary school teacher, St Conleth and Mary's

NameJennifer Coffey
Job Primary School Teacher
Education FCCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) 1999, Six Sigma Black Belt in Project Management 2007, Higher Diploma in Arts in Primary Education (Hibernia College) 2011

The HDip in Arts in Primary Education from Hibernia College is popular among people who want to change career as it is delivered through a combination of online and onsite tuition. This allows the flexibility of working while doing the course in your own available time.

Hibernia graduates have a good reputation is because many bring with them a great deal of work and life experience – a mature and different perspective.

I studied while working most of my life, completing my professional ACCA accountancy exams in ’99 while working full time in financial services on the Isle of Man. This later led to me getting a senior position with an American multinational in Ireland. I eventually decided, however, to make a change with my life – I’d rather contribute to children’s education than to corporate profits. I took voluntary redundancy and used that to fund my further education.

The course ran for two full academic years. I volunteered as an assistant teacher and subbed in various local schools during the period, including St Conleth and Mary’s NS, where I recently completed my probation. I was consistently asked back to sub in a variety of schools throughout the course and after graduation.

This year, a maternity cover teaching position became available at St Conleth and Mary’s NS. Having subbed there, I was already familiar with the school and its policies. The principal and staff were also very supportive.

During my time there, I’ve found that children respond best to a well organised and fun-filled routine – I’ve tended to have the obligatory subjects (Irish, English and Maths) in the morning with the other subjects in the afternoon. My approach is to use a lot of concrete materials, interactive games, team challenges, group and pair work, but also to incorporate music, ICT and role-play into the teaching.

I’ve never regretted my career change and love working with the children. No matter how tired I feel, they can’t help but perk me up. My particular highlights are watching their faces light up when they are enthusiastic and learning. It’s such a wonderful change to contribute to the development of children.

Jennifer was interviewed for gradireland Teaching & Education 2013