Engaging with Education


by Cara Dooley @@MissDooley90

I completed a PGCE in Primary Education at Northumbria University, graduating in 2019. In September of 2019 I embarked on my Primary teaching career. Like most newly qualified teachers in Northern Ireland I began my career as a substitute teacher. This was an eye-opening and exciting experience, on one hand and on the other...



Working as a substitute teacher is great as it offers the opportunity to learn about many different teaching techniques, use different teaching resources, meet other teachers, and see how different schools are run. However, on the other hand it can be daunting and lonely as with the nature of short term subbing it is difficult to form strong relationships with the children under your care.

I found whilst working as a substitute teacher I often had to remember the @WomenEdNI motto of being 10% braver.

I was lucky in November of my first-year teaching to get a long-term substitute cover at St John’s Primary School, Derry. This was amazing as I was able to form relationships with the children under my care, based on trust and respect. I gained a wealth of experience in this role working with many other experienced teachers.

This year teaching has been quite unusual, as the school environment has had to adapt to the changes in our way of life. I started the 2020 academic year as a substitute teacher once again and was very busy due to the increase of teacher absences because of COVID-19. I was then offered the opportunity to work at Rosemount Primary School on the Engage Programme so helping to support children who have fallen behind in their learning or been affected by COVID-19 and the absence from school because of the pandemic.

Being offered this position of responsibility to really make a difference to children’s lives was a big success in my teaching career. I have been working at Rosemount Primary School on the Engage programme for 2 weeks now and I am thoroughly enjoying discovering new ways to support and inspire the children I am working with. I love teaching as it is dynamic and exciting. It is a demanding yet highly rewarding career that allows you to really put your stamp on the job and make it your own. I am positive and excited to see what my future teaching career holds.

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