Beautician Nicola Barry of Goatenstown, Limerick Junction, has put her make-up and creams to one side to pursue a career in teaching.
Daughter of Jimmy and Helen Barry, Nicola has just completed the final year of her four year B.A. in Education, Business Studies and Religious Studies degree programme at St Patrick’s College of Education, Thurles, and is looking to secure a teaching position in a post primary school, preferably near home.
A past pupil of St Anne’s in Tipperary Town, Nicola took a year out after Leaving Cert and qualified as a beautician. “I loved it, but it is not something I want to do for the rest of my life. It is more of a hobby now”, she says.
Teaching was always Nicola’s first love but she was apprehensive about going to one of the bigger colleges. She came across the St Patrick’s Thurles option on the internet and has never looked back.
“I felt St Patrick’s was really for me. I was very nervous coming the first day but the lovely atmosphere appealed to me and I settled immediately. It is like no place else, and I mean that in the best possible way. I mean, where else would you find the President (Fr Tom Fogarty) of a third level college coming around chatting to students at the lunch break and knowing each of them on a first name basis”, she asks.
In her first year in Thurles, Nicola “shadowed” (was an observer in the classroom) at her old school and says it was lovely going back meeting up with former teachers who were all so encouraging. ”None were surprised I was doing teaching”, she says. She also enjoyed teaching practice in Doon and Hospital.
The history of the Thurles college also impressed Nicola who explains – It was established in 1837 as a seminary and many famous churchmen passed through its doors. With the decline in vocations it became a nationally recognised third level education facility in 2004. It now provides B.A. in Education degree programmes in Business Studies and Accounting, Business Studies and Religious Studies, Irish and Business Studies, and Irish and Religious Studies. All are accredited by the University of Limerick and qualify graduates to teach in post primary schools. The H. Dip. is included in the programme which is a huge plus.
So what now for Nicola? “I am a home bird and would love to stay as close to home as possible but if something came up elsewhere, I would take it. I have no desire to go to England for a few years which a lot of graduates do”, she says.
And what of the Thurles experience? “I would recommend the college to anybody thinking of a teaching career. It is a very friendly, open place. Everybody knows everybody and the lecturers go out of their way to be helpful. The fact that it is a smaller college than others, with about two hundred and forty students, adds to the homeliness of it. If there is any school leaver out there contemplating teaching as a career, they should at least check out Thurles before making their decision”, she concludes.