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TELL ME ABOUT ... Representing Irish primary teachers

April 21st, 2024 1:30 PM

TELL ME ABOUT ... Representing Irish primary teachers Image

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ANNE HORAN from Ballineen is the new vice-president of the INTO

Where are you from?

I grew up in Ballineen, the eldest of six sisters, daughter of Kathleen and Frank.

Our house is between the twin villages. People might remember my father Frank Burke … the ‘guard on the bike’ in Ballineen for many years.

I live in Glin, Co Limerick, where my father came from. I went to school in Ballineen and Presentation Convent Secondary School in Bandon.

I visit West Cork often. Three of my sisters live locally – Frances in Ballineen, Julie in Lyre and Tricia in Skibbereen. Brenda is in Passage West. Cathy and myself left Cork, Cathy to Dublin and me to Glin.

I visit Clonakilty every weekend, where my mother is being cared for in Bushmount Nursing Home.

You’ve been teaching since 1980. How has the role changed in that time?

My first teaching job was in Dunmanus NS, a one teacher school in Toormore. I have taught in small schools all my career.

The essence of small schools has not changed – characterised by friendliness, a knowledge of children and their families, and a recognition by communities of the value of small schools.

At present I am teaching principal in Carrickerry NS in West Limerick, a three-teacher school with 59 pupils.

Children are the same now  as in 1980! Eager to learn, looking for new knowledge. The school environment has changed. We live in a digital era. Schools are embracing change, and ‘being a digital learner’ is a key competency in the primary and special school curriculum framework.

What are your main goals as INTO vice-president?

I hope to see something done by government to tackle recruitment and retention issues. Up to 5,000 teachers have chosen to live abroad. A more favourable salary, better taxation conditions and promotion opportunities would encourage teachers to return.

Class sizes are bigger than  the EU average, with some children in classes greater than 35. This could easily be solved by decreasing class size. It would be money well invested by the government.

Is being a teacher still a rewarding career?

Yes, I love my job. Children are invigorating … the amount they can learn always amazes me. At present I am fascinated by the ease in which knowledge can be accessed digitally by pupils.

What advice would you give to young people looking at a career in teaching?

Go for it. It is a very rewarding career; each day is different and you have the opportunity to mould the characters of adults of the future. Of course, I would advise all teachers to join the INTO.

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