The Not-So-Secret Diary of a Teacher
Hi, My name is Gemma 😊
I run the Instagram page @MúinteoirGems where I share advice, tips and resources for the classroom.
I am currently a Primary School Teacher in a DEIS Band 1 Gaelscoil in Dublin City. I have experience teaching in rural, urban, DEIS, Gaelscoil and Gaeltacht schools.
I completed my undergraduate Degree (Bachelor of International Studies) at National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) studying Gaeilge and French through Irish. As part of my degree, I spent a year living in France on an Erasmus year.
I then completed my Professional Masters of Education in Marino Institute of Education.
My Master’s Thesis focused on factors that influence Parents decision to send their child to a Gaelscoil.
I am passionate about working together with other teachers and mental health in individuals, in particular, Primary School teachers.
My alarm goes off…
On school days at 6am. (Yes, I know I’m mad!)
I’m such a morning person! I usually leave for school at 7:00am and arrive at school at 7:30am.
The children don’t begin school until 9am, so I spend the early part of the morning prepping for the day/ rest of the week.
My little class come in at 9am and each day brings a new excitement, adventure, and lots of noise!
I try to ensure that every day is fun and active for the students.
I am not perfect, but I always try my best.
Psst… check out our blog-post on morning routines HERE.
I am responsible for…
As a teacher, I am responsible for my classes. Last year I had Naíonáin Bheaga agus Naíonáin Mhóra.
This year I have Naíonáin Bheaga, Naíonáin Mhóra agus Rang a hAon.
I work hard to ensure that my plans and lessons are engaging, interesting and new – this is vital in a Multigrade class setting!
As AP1 I am responsible for extra duties that I have agreed to – such as working towards a flag for the school, the school website and a few more.
My typical day...
I arrive to school at 7.30am to prepare for the day ahead.
I chat to the staff each morning and greet the students as they arrive.
The day usually flies by. This past year I have done Yard Duty twice each day, meaning each day is very busy.
After school, I briefly speak to the rest of the staff and then leave school between 3:30 and 4:30.
Twice a week I stay behind to facilitate “Doodle Den”. “Doodle Den” is an after-school literacy programme. On these days I leave the school at 5pm.
The best part of my job is...
is without a shadow of a doubt the students that I teach.
I teach a very small class that never fail to bring a smile to my face. I know them all very well and no matter what is going on we always make sure to have a fun day together in school!
I also love teaching in a Gaelscoil so much. I have often said this on my Instagram page, but I would really highly recommend for every Primary School Teacher to do School Placement/ Observation in a Gaelscoil. It is such a unique setting and I adore teaching as Gaeilge.
Psst… if you want to learn more about how to encourage Gaeilge at school, read HERE!
The most challenging part of my job is…
Meeting the needs of all the students in my class.
As I teach in a DEIS Band 1 Gaelscoil, this is an extremely unique setting. The children are all very different and it can be challenging to meet the needs of all the children in the class.
There are children who struggle academically, socially, emotionally, children with physical and intellectual needs, children with medical or dietary needs and so much more.
I try not to be too hard on myself, and always try to remember that I am trying my best for these children, and this is the most important thing.
Psst… If you want to learn more about how to prioritise your time, check out this blog-post about effective decision-making HERE!
I am inspired by…
many people from different areas of my life.
My main inspiration is my Mother. My Mom is an ICU Nurse who worked in Covid ICU full-time during the Pandemic. She is the strongest, most hard-working person that I know.
I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for her support.
My parents were my first teachers, and the best teachers that I ever had. They encouraged and supported my journey throughout the years, which is something I will forever be grateful for.
I am inspired by the students in my class. Seeing what they go through inspires me to push myself further and further. Some of them come from difficult backgrounds and still manage to come to school with a smile on their face.
This inspires me to do the best that I can for those children.
My final inspiration is my old Principal/ 5th & 6th class teacher when I was in school.
This man was the teacher that inspired me (and many others!) to become a teacher.
There are so many things that made him inspirational, but the main thing was how fairly he treated his students.
When I arrive home I change into my comfy clothes.
I work most evenings giving Irish Grinds via Zoom.
I also try to incorporate walks/ runs and a Zumba lesson a week into my schedule.
I personally find it tough to fully switch off, but my favourite thing to do is scroll through Instagram looking at all of the brilliant teaching accounts on Instagram.
My Number 1 Tip for Teachers is
Don’t be so hard on yourself. If you’re doing the best that you can, that is enough.
My favourite teaching & learning strategy is
Using concrete examples/ materials. This makes the topic more engaging and interactive, and relates the topic to everyday life.
The motto I live by…
Seanfhocail are such interesting, amazing Irish Proverbs that I personally love.
My favourite is
“Doras feasa fiafraí.” which directly translated means ‘The door to wisdom is to ask questions’.
This relates to teaching, as it is so important not to be afraid or too shy to ask questions – ask fellow teachers, parents etc questions.
A huge thank you to Gemma for her not-so-secret diary!
We love her top tip for teachers and her obvious flair for teaching as Gaeilge!
Would you like to share your diary or like to suggest a teacher, principal or education professional whose diary you would like to read?!
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to nominate yourself or someone else – ah go on!
Go on, go on, go on!
We think the podcast is an important listen for any teacher who has always wanted to be
part of a real conversation about teacher wellbeing, but especially teachers who have
struggled at any point with their own mental health, maintaining their own wellbeing, burnout,
overwhelm, imposter syndrome or a frustration with working within the modern education
Did you know that 74% of teachers do not feel confident with formative assessment teaching methodologies?
As we approach the new school year, this survey conducted by Rahoo Training in 2020, and its findings, should be at the forefront of a school leader’s mind.
Webinar 8th November 2023: How to Enhance the Teaching & Learning of Maths with Formative Assessment
“How to Enhance the Teaching & Learning of Maths with Formative Assessment” is 1 hour in duration including Q&A opportunities.
This webinar will be hosted by a Nadine Lyons, Maths Lead Practitioner at South View School Dubai.