Martine O'Kane

Created on: 07 Feb 2024 | Last modified: 08 Feb 2024

Martine O'Kane

How would you describe the past year in
three words?

Exciting, challenging, wonderful

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

Education was always an area I wanted to work in. I love learning myself and helping/ coaching others in my previous career was the part of my job I thrived in. Once I had a family of my own and saw the importance of helping my own children flourish, I knew I really had to start to make steps to become a teacher.

Who was your favourite teacher at school and why?

My favourite teacher in primary school was Mrs Langan. She was my primary 6 and primary 7 teacher. She was strict but warm and comforting and I always remember, feeling like I was listened to. In high school it was Miss Farrell, my chemistry teacher, she was my teacher from S1 to S4. She got to know all of her students exceptionally well. I wanted to do well in her class, I had the right level of challenge, encouragement and support. She seen what her students were capable of before they knew themselves.

What’s the one thing you’d like to change about teaching?

I think the main thing I’d change about teaching is the job opportunities just now and perhaps the recruitment process.

Why do you think it’s important to be an active member of a trade union?

Being a member of a trade union for me is imperative as it gives me the opportunity to have a bigger support system/bigger voice if I ever have any queries or issues I need support with in my career. It is all about peace of mind for me.

Any embarrassing teaching moments?

So far, not many thankfully! Watch this space, now I’ve said that, they’ll come rolling in, I’ll keep you posted.

What advice would you give to a student starting their teaching course?

It is one big rollercoaster of a learning journey.Take everything one step at a time. There will be bumps on the road along the way but don’t panic.
Be organized with your time and your planning.  Take every piece of feedback (good and bad) as you can, every suggestion made to you will make you a better teacher. Be a sponge! Ask as many questions as you can. 

You can’t have enough notebooks, pens, blue tac, highlighters and caffeine! You’ll meet friends for life on the course that you spend more time with than your family, but it will be the single most fantastic thing you have ever done! 

Enjoy every moment!

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about teaching so far?

You can teach someone how to teach. You can’t teach passion, commitment, dedication, kindness, and warmth. Teaching has taught me that this profession is the most wonderfully colourful profession in the world, it allows you to potentially be one of the teachers your students will remember 30 years from now. It has taught me that for some children, their teachers are the only consistent thing in their lives, and for me, that is incredibly important and a main driver for the type of teacher I want to be.