Hi! I’m Nadine, a newly qualified primary school teacher from Cavan. I completed a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities degree in English and Geography and the Professional Master’s in Education (PME) (Primary), both in St. Patrick’s College, DCU. I was awarded the Vere Foster medal by the INTO in November for receiving the highest marks in teaching practices and curricular areas of education over the two year PME programme.
I own ‘Múinteoir N’, which I started in September 2018, and am currently in the process of setting up my online blog.
My alarm goes off…
At 7.50… 8.00… 8.05…8.10…8.15. I toss and turn, and peel my Minnie Mouse eye mask over my three-day, shaggy hair, staring in the mirror in front of me, questioning whether I should get up or not. But I must. ‘P.E. with Joe’ starts at 9, so I whip out my PE clothes, and hoard my charger, water, yoga mat…and self… down the stairs. I get my americano, and sit, in no hurry for Joe, watching Holly and Phil. Some mornings I ponder whether I really need to engage in the warm-up, “Sure aren’t I hot enough!” I laugh to myself, and snuggle in for a precious 5 more minutes of leab-axation (leaba+ relaxation…I make up my own words constantly).
I get through PE with Joe, doing the spiderman’s and shouting ‘YES I CAN’, just to keep the motivation going. Luckily enough I’m an only child, so I’m not waking anyone up. Apart from the neighbours…oops… I check in on Seesaw as I get to 20 seconds of a plank, just to distract mind from my agony.
Some mornings I go for a walk/jog…’wog’ as I like to call it. I walk up the hills, and jog down them. Some days I leave that until later on in the day.
I am responsible for…
The most amazing, helpful, independent, funny and bright 5th class children. This year I was also taking over the girls GAA team for the Cumann na mBunscoil, and they were so excited, but because of everything at the moment, that hasn’t happened!
Apart from that I do feel responsible for my online teaching account. It is a commitment as I don’t do anything unless I’m going to give it 100%. I’ve put so much time and energy into it, and know I can help people, so I want to always try to reach out and help as many people as I possibly can.
My typical day…
Starts with an americano…black… with a bit of water to cool it. I love Azera coffee. #notanad 😉
I’ve explained my morning routine above, which leads into the afternoon, and my days really never change, apart from at the weekends when I go completely off the wagon and eat all around me, barely reach 1,000 steps and leave permanent dints in the sofa from sitting too long. During the week I don’t eat until around 1pm and usually have a bagel with mounds of Dairygold butter. I am like a tiger ready to pounce on my prey when the bagel pops up from the toaster. I like when it is piping hot and the butter melts right in. Come on, tell me I’m not the only one?
As I go about my morning and afternoon routine each day, I am always checking Seesaw and my emails as I have them on my phone and have notifications turned on from 9am-3pm. I spend the rest of the day from 1pm doing my corrections on Seesaw. I don’t have as much to correct until about 1pm so I find leaving the majority of the corrections until this time works better for me.
Now each day when I get all my posts approved and corrected on Seesaw I love reading and watching Netflix. I’m not a very outdoorsy person at the moment. I think it’s because I don’t have anyone to venture with. I haven’t seen my partner in 7 weeks and it may be another 10 more, so I like just doing little things inside. I do go for a walk/jog…wog, each day. But I usually just take each evening as it comes. I do cut off school related things at around 5pm each day, involving planning and preparing lessons and doing corrections/ giving feedback, as it has to be done when working from home. You need to distance yourself from the online classroom at a set time each day. However, there are some days when I am up until 9pm doing lessons, and that’s okay too, just in general I try to keep to that time. Some days work is my saviour. These days in lockdown are really tough, there is no denying it, and during the week I feel more at ease because of my routine and my commitments to work.
I get groceries for my grandparents every few days and drop them at their back door and have a little chat from a distance. That breaks up the week too. I am in lockdown with my mammy and we are like sisters, we are very close, and really get each other. I am really lucky in this regard because she keeps me grounded and we can have our little chats every day and are always there to pick each other up!
I spend lots of time on Múinteoir N, helping teachers, student teachers and aspiring teachers with different queries, or putting some of my own work up there to help others. Sometimes I tell myself I need to take a break from my teaching account in the evenings, but I have accepted that it is just a passion, and I love being on my account, engaging with like-minded people, and doing my best to give them my hindsight. I love seeing what other teachers do and talking about ‘teacher stuff’!
I am a night owl, and I really am trying to fix this! I am always up late talking to my partner as he lives in Donegal so we catch up on each other’s days, and then I get to bed around 12 midnight.
The best part of my job…
There are so many things to love about being a primary school teacher.
The main thing for me is the ‘lightbulb moment’ that we all know about. The ‘aha’ moment in a child’s life and they give you that look and say “thanks teacher!”. You know you have helped a child through something really tough, and they struggled for a while, and then burst out the other side, feeling such a sense of achievement. It really warms my heart. I love working with children, they just are so amazing. They can bring joy into your life by doing the smallest things. They have hearts of gold and really look up to their teacher. It is a super feeling.
I love having a sense of belonging, and almost an identity? I feel like I didn’t know who I was until I became a teacher. That sense of belonging comes with a sense of another type of family. I don’t know whether it’s because this is my first year, that I’m an only child, or whether it’s normal, but I feel like I spend so much time with the children in my class, we have become a family? I get them and they get me. We know when someone is happy, or when they’re sad, and we do all we can to cheer them up. I spend the majority of my days with them, and the majority of my evenings thinking about or worrying about them.
I love an adventure, and everyday feels like one! You never know walking in the door each morning, what that day will bring. I love coming up with new ideas to make our days exciting, or surprising the kids with treats or games, or anything like that. We celebrate birthdays, occasions and milestones in everyone’s lives.
I really do love my job so much, and feel so lucky to be a teacher.
The most challenging part of my job is…
I think it’s the feeling of not doing enough, or physically not being able to do any more. Sometimes it is really exhausting. Mentally exhausting. You cannot work out how to do more, and what you have done doesn’t seem to be quite cutting it. That is tough for me. But as time has went on, and through professional conversations with colleagues, I have found out that this feeling is mutual amongst everyone at different times. You can only do what you can do. We are only human at the end of the day, we don’t have superpowers. Doing our best is always enough.
I am inspired by…
I’m inspired by my journey to get here today. As I mentioned, I went to St. Patrick’s College and did an arts degree. I didn’t get into the PME in St. Patrick’s College the first time, and I was distraught. I immediately applied for driving lessons and got 2 jobs that summer. I would work 8-12 in Supervalu, walk about 2km to my nanna & grandad’s house and get changed into my second uniform, and walk 3km to work for 4pm in a hotel as a waitress/ receptionist where I would work until later that night. I would do this everyday to save money for one day getting into the PME. I got my full license in December and was subbing just before that in local schools where I would get taxi’s to and from each day. I was so determined. I did everything in my power to get the PME; doing after school tutoring, grinds, online courses, EPV summer courses that I would never get to use but just for the information they provided, volunteering and everything in my power to do so much of my own professional development. I keep remembering back to myself trudging to my part-time jobs, wishing so hard for the day that somehow someone might let me back into St. Pat’s to complete my Master’s in Education. So I never want to let myself down, and I never want to take my foot off the pedal.
The motto I live by…
Losers quit when they’re tired, winners quit when they’ve won.