Becomming a Teacher

"My problems all started with my early education. I went to a school for mentally disturbed teachers."
Woody Allen

A witty take on education, nonetheless the above quote emphasises the importance a teacher has in the life of a student. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I had ‘mentally disturbed’ teachers, however the effect that these educators had on my education has resonated with me to this day.

Background and Educational Experience

My education started in Clonigulane National School, in the small West Clare village of Kilmihil. The school itself was extremely old, having celebrated its 150th Anniversary while I was still an ‘apple in God’s eye’. Class sizes in the school never reached above six or seven and only looking back now, can I fully appreciate the value of a small, close knit school. The two teacher school felt more like a second home than an educational institution. Obviously we didn’t have the same resources available to young children now, but when I think back to my time there, the memories are pleasant ones.

Surprisingly one of the very first people to have an influence on my life (and to this day still has) was Mrs. Kitty Collins. She was the Infants to Second class teacher during my initial years at Clonigulane. As a teacher she was very caring, nurturing and was very much a mother figure to all us young children. Besides her extremely enthusiastic attitude to teaching she instilled in me a love of music that has never left me. She told me once that she recognised that I had a very ‘musical ear’ and started to teach me the basics of the Button Accordion, an instrument that I have since gone on to win All Ireland titles in. My parents could not afford an instrument at the time and as Kitty had an accordion at home, she gave it to me. I will never forget the interest that she took in furthering my education, nor will I forget that she took an avid interest in every individual student, extolling our various talents in any way...