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John McGinnity

Teacher (Secondary School), St Aidan's CBS

Degree subject BA French and Philosophy (2007); MLitt Philosophy (2009); PGDE (2010), NUI Maynooth
Job title French and Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE) Teacher (Secondary School)
Employer St Aidan's CBS

Two years into my degree I took a year out and taught English in France – I'd always wondered about teaching as a career, and this experience confirmed for me that I definitely wanted to become a teacher.

I saw my current job advertised in the Irish Independent. I sent off my CV and covering letter and was interviewed a week later. I was interviewed by the principal, deputy principal and a member of the board of management, and began teaching in September 2010.

I work in an all-boys school. There are 650 students here and I teach around 34 lessons a week to classes from all year groups. I'm also a form tutor to a fifth-year class. During the week most evenings are spent marking and preparing lessons; it's a lot of work but my PGDE prepared me for it.

On top of my regular classes, last year I ran a debating team with some first-year students and we competed with other schools in the area. It was their first time debating and they won their first inter-school competition – a lively discussion on bullying and social media. It was great seeing them do so well and I hope to enter them into more competitions this year.

At the end of October I’m going to Tanzania for ten days on an immersion programme involving seven students and three teachers. It's such a fantastic opportunity for students and staff alike: we'll be visiting schools, orphanages and other organisations in the area. At the moment we're busy fundraising for the trip at and have already organised activities such as table quizzes, entertainment evenings and bag-packing in supermarkets.

John McGinnity was interviewed for gradireland Teaching & Education 2012.