A Donegal teacher became top of her own class after going back to education for a Masters at LYIT.
Deirdre Walker, from Letterkenny, had been teaching Irish and Geography at Loreto Community School in Milford for almost ten years before she decided to set an academic challenge for herself.
Swapping the classroom for a lecture hall, Deirdre enrolled with the LYIT’s Master of Arts in Learning & Teaching – a two year postgraduate course for teachers in third level, further education, post-primary and primary sectors.
Deirdre already had an Undergraduate Degree and a Postgraduate Diploma in Education, but she wanted to refresh her skills and remain up to date with contemporary research and practices in education.
Two years later, she was awarded the Best Postgraduate Student in the School of Business at LYIT.
Deirdre completed her degree while continuing to work full-time and bringing her new skills into the classroom setting. She also welcomed her first baby during year two, but studying for the Masters so close to home made it possible for her to balance family life and studies.
The location was always an important factor for Deirdre, who found that the vast majority of courses she wanted were available at great distances such as Dublin or Cork, until she found a contemporary and evolving programme in Letterkenny, without the pressure and costs of travelling.
“LYIT was very accessible and the blended method of learning along with the array of various modules offered throughout the duration Masters attracted me in applying for a place on the course,” Deirdre said.
Deirdre is keen to recommend the Masters to teachers interested in Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
She said: “The foundations of the course were work-based and encouraged a high degree of reflection of your own practice as a teacher.
“The majority of modules were delivered by guest lecturers who are experts in each particular field.
“The material covered was contemporary and based on the most current practices and research.
“I attended various work-based, in-service courses whilst also completing MALT and I felt that I was already familiar with significant elements of the content as it had been delivered throughout the modules of the Masters.”
One of the most rewarding aspects of the experience, she said, was national and international educational theory, which in turn improved her teaching at a practical level.
“The Masters has given me confidence to step out of my comfort zone in my own teaching practice and also in leading and participating in various initiatives within my place of work,” she said.
The structure of the course made it easy for Deirdre to study at home as her family grew.
“I had my first baby during Year Two of the Masters. It was challenging attempting to juggle a new baby, a full-time job and complete the course at the same time. The course contact time in LYIT was just one weekend per month during the academic year and this made the course very feasible in balancing family life along with my studies,” Deirdre said.
All her hard work clearly paid off, as Deirdre was announced as the Best Postgraduate Student in the School of Business at her 2018 graduation ceremony.
“This award while hugely unexpected was received with much appreciation and it is the highlight of my academic studies to date,” she said.
The modern approach to educational practice, the local accessibility and blended delivery method were all great advantages for Deirdre while studying at LYIT.
If you are interested in developing your teaching practice too this year, you can apply for the next intake of Master of Arts Learning & Teaching (MALT) in February 2020.
Closing date for applications is 17th January 2020.
Learn more about this Master of Arts Learning & Teaching programme at lyit.ie
For queries and more information, contact Siobhan Cullen, Head of Department Law & Humanities, by email Siobhan.firstname.lastname@example.org or tel 074 91 86204
Open Evening/Seminar on “M. A in Learning & Teaching- pathways to leadership” to take place on Tuesday 14th Jan at 5.30pm to 7.30pm with guest speakers, course information and an opportunity to speak with former MALT students and academic staff.Tags: