Anne Dorrian

Country: Ireland, United Kingdom
Sector: Primary & Secondary Education
Job title: Teaching Assistant
Subject of study: Secondary PGCE Citizenship with Humanities
Year of graduation: 2010
Type/Level of study: Post graduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

Kircubbin Integrated Primary School

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

After I left Exeter I worked as a Law Teacher for GCSE and A Level for a number of years. Following this, I worked at an Educational Charity promoting opportunities to gain applied qualifications for children who were disengaged from (or underserved by) a very academic curriculum. In 2018 I began a Part-Time Masters in Special Needs Education. I decided to get ‘on the ground’ experience of working with primary aged children with Special Educational Needs and so I became Teaching Assistant. I graduated with an MEd in 2020 and am continuing to work as a Teaching Assistant at present.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

I am passionate about providing educational opportunities that enable children and young people to achieve their potential. I also love it when those ‘light bulb’ moments happen and I can see a child progress in their learning. I believe that early intervention programmes can support children’s sense of capacity and improve their self-esteem.

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

I appreciated the highly experienced and knowledgeable staff. The Citizenship PGCE class was quite small which meant that we got to know one-another well. I also enjoyed living on campus during my first term at Exeter. Opportunities for school placements were very beneficial too.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

I enjoyed being part of a vibrant academic community. I also benefited from disability support when I became unwell during my studies. This was essential to me being able to complete the course successfully.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

I was attracted to Exeter because it was one of a small number of universities offering a PGCE course in Citizenship with Humanities. Having already obtained a Law degree at another university, I wanted a course which related to my previous studies. I was also impressed by Exeter’s reputation as a high quality provider of teacher education.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

Teacher training has equipped me with many useful skills. These include public speaking. I was able to utilise this in my job at the Educational Charity as I had to deliver training to teachers. I also learned about curriculum design, pedagogy, behaviour management and special needs interventions which are relevant to my current post as a Teaching Assistant. The academic foundation in educational theory was key to my Masters studies. I was also able to transfer CATS credits which exempted me from one module in the Masters course.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Sometimes a winding career road is the best option. Enjoy the scenery! Take time to find the right fit for you. Don’t be afraid to move on from a job or role if it’s not working out. There will be another place that will appreciate your skills and talents. Look out for your own wellbeing and try to build effective relationships with colleagues as this can be a great support. Always keep learning!

What are your plans for the future?

I would like to get a job as a Primary School Teacher or a Special Needs Intervention Specialist Teacher.


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