'That was the end of my work in education. I have no regrets and am happy to have those years behind me.'

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'That was the end of my work in education. I have no regrets and am happy to have those years behind me.'


Rosemary describes her decision to leave the education profession and she reflects upon her life as a teacher.


Rosemary McCloskey


Trinity College Dublin




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Rosemary McCloskey

Is Part Of

Work and Employment


Life Story

Spatial Coverage

Coventry, England

Temporal Coverage


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I left when I got supply work towards the middle of October as there is seldom anyone looking for supply teachers in September. I got some good positions and some schools kept booking me. I registered with several agencies who found work for me and I also did a refresher course in Edgebaston University in Birmingham. However, I was less than impressed with the national curriculum and the English system. Much of it contradicted what I had learned in training college. One evening before the session began I arrived early in Edgebaston. Another man was there and we struck up a conversation about our experiences in teaching. I told him my sentiments about the national curriculum. He agreed with me. Then he asked me if I was looking for a job. I told him that I was and even though he said he agreed with me, he advised me not to publicise my philosophy of education if I was. He was a member of the primary school inspectorate. He said that there was no longer 'education' in England but 'schooling'. I applied for, and got, a job in a St Patrick's Catholic primary school, Woodend in Coventry. It was in the foundation department which encompassed nursery and reception class. There were three teachers employed, two of us half timers in reception and we alternated with the nursery teacher at times. There were also two nursery nurses employed. This was another challenge as one of the nursery nurses was extremely difficult to work with. She would countermand every direction I would give the children. I tried to identify and resolve the problem with her but instead of coming to some compromise she went to the principal and said that I did no work at all. The principal knew otherwise, but was at a loss as to how to handle this lady as well. Things got so bad that I had to leave because of the stress. I stayed at home for a couple of days and saw the doctor who directed me to stay away until I felt better. He said I was suffering from work related stress. I had lost my confidence and believed that I could no longer teach. The following Friday afternoon the school principal Mary Cantillon rang to enquire if was returning to school on the Monday. I hesitated and then said, 'No I am not 'and I will not be coming back at all in fact'. She was horrified but I told her that I was being upfront and honest with her and that she could go ahead and find someone else for the job. She asked about my contract to which I replied that my mental health was more important than any contract. I said that I could supply sick notes for the next six months and take my salary, but that I wanted to be fair and let her employ someone else. I only returned to St Patrick's to collect my things and say farewell to the staff. That was the end of my work in education. I have no regrets and am happy to have those years behind me. I did my best and there were some very happy and rewarding times but there were also times of stress and heart break.


Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Senior Research Associate

Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


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