Being a primary school teacher is a rewarding but challenging job. It attracts thousands of people every year in Ireland.
The Irish school education system is made up of two types of schools. The most numerous are primary schools. This is where primary school teachers are based.
There are also a smaller number of larger post-11 schools. These are known as post-primary schools or secondary schools.
What Does a Primary School Teacher Do
A primary school teacher can be described as a person who works in a classroom to deliver teaching. In delivering this role, the primary school teacher will work with children between the ages of 4 and 11. A primary school teacher will have particular responsibility for:
- Meeting the learning needs of a diverse group of students with different abilities. In doing this, you must treat pupils as individuals. Your job is to help each one to develop academically, psychologically and emotionally by participating in educational activities. In doing so you will help them reach their best academic abilities.
- Further, some of your work will be done with parents. You may also need to organise or deliver out-of-school activities. This will include some parent-teacher meetings.
- Designing lesson plans is a regular task. This must be done while adhering to national curriculum standards.
- Delivering lessons following the level of your students.
- Setting homework and marking work for students.
- You must also work with other team members in the school to improve general standards of education.
Additionally, primary school teachers must be able to teach the Irish language. They must also be able to deliver a range of primary school subjects through Irish.
Who Employs Primary School Teachers
Virtually all primary school teachers are employed by the schools themselves. All schools fall within the remit of the Department of Education. This Department is part of the government of Ireland. They are therefore classed as public sector workers.
A smaller number of primary school teachers will work in private sector schools. These will be classed as private-sector workers.
Job Salary for a Primary School Teacher in Ireland
Primary school teachers’ salaries are based on experience and seniority.
There are also a variety of sources for how much a primary school teacher is paid. One source says the average Primary school teacher’s salary is €42,292 per year. Another source pegs it close by at €31,000 per year.
However, the Department for Education makes clear that there is a set scale of salaries. The lowest point is €42,015. This can climb to the highest point of €77,267.
In addition to this, primary school teachers practising in Dublin will usually earn at least 10% more than in other parts of Ireland. This is because of the much higher cost of living in Dublin.
General Salary Levels in Ireland
Some other figures are useful. These will allow you to compare a primary school teacher’s salary in Ireland with other professions. And they will show how a primary school teacher’s salary in Ireland is relatively well-paid.
According to the Central Statistics Office, the national average salary in Ireland is €45,324. That’s a salary after tax of €34,815 a year. It is also equivalent to €2,901 a month. Or you can look at it as €670 a week.
A good salary in Ireland is said to start at €45,000 across the country. This rises to €50,000 in Dublin. This translates to €2,887 every month after tax. It is also equivalent to €3,102 monthly before tax.
Further, the current Minimum Wage in Ireland is €11.30. This must be paid to people aged 20 and over. This means the minimum untaxed income for a 40-hour week is €452. Per month this works out to just under €2000. It is also equivalent to around €23,500 per year.
How Do Primary School Teachers Get Paid
Primary school teachers will be paid from the budget of your school. The salary level of a primary school teacher will be decided by the Department of Education in the government of Ireland. Further, experienced primary school teachers will be paid more.
How Often Is a Primary School Teacher Normally Paid
You can normally expect to be paid a salary every month.
Who Negotiates a Job Salary for a Primary School Teacher
The basic salary levels of primary school teachers are set through negotiations in different ways. Most importantly, trade unions negotiate the basic overall salary level. On top of this, there will be increments and additional payments based on other factors such as experience. Another increment factor will be the size of a school. The complexity of the job will also have an impact.
What Sort of Contracts Do Primary School Teachers Have
Primary school teachers will have permanent contracts with the school. Their ultimate employer, however, is the Department of Education. This will mean these contracts set out all the relevant terms of employment. Further, these contracts will be standard between schools.
Earning Potential of a Primary School Teacher in Ireland
Primary school teachers’ pay will increase throughout their careers. This is because experience and reputation will mean primary school teachers can progress in their careers and move to bigger schools or colleges. Alternatively, you may be able to achieve more educational success in a single school.
How to Become a Primary School Teacher in Ireland
The road to becoming a Primary school teacher in Ireland is a long and thorough one. These factors reflect the unique responsibilities and duties of the role.
Understanding the educational and training requirements to become a primary school teacher is important if you want to become one. To do this you will usually need to have a degree first. After that, you will need to have experience in being a teacher.
Qualifications/Courses – Primary School Teacher
To become a primary school teacher, there are different career routes. These are based on first becoming qualified as a teacher. A recognised Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) degree is always needed as a first step. You earn this from an education school at a university. Further, to enter an education degree you will need around 500 points in your school leaving certificate.
Prescribed degree courses in education take three to four years of full-time study in Ireland. The Teaching Council of Ireland sets the standard for primary school teacher degrees. Students who undertake the BEd may accomplish a Level 8 degree and a Postgraduate Diploma in Primary Education. Part of the qualification will include basic competence in the Irish language.
You will then usually get work experience as a teacher. This can often be integrated into your degree course.
Becoming Accredited as a Teacher
Student teachers who have successfully completed the first 2 years of an accredited undergraduate Initial Teacher Education programme can apply for registration with the Teaching Council of Ireland.
You will also need to complete an examination in professional practice. This will be specified by the Teaching Council. All teachers working in the public sector must be registered with this Teaching Council.
The Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) is also important. The PDST provides professional development and support to help teachers upskill. It ensures that continuing professional development opportunities are provided for teachers nationwide. These can often be delivered in specialist education centres.
General Skills Required
- Excellent problem-solving and diagnostic skills are essential. You will need to be flexible and intelligent. You will also need to treat all pupils as individuals. In addition, Primary school teachers must be able to deal with a wide variety of educational issues.
- Good time management skills are essential. This is because you will be handling a range of pupils at the same time. This means being a primary school teacher is a demanding career with different skills throughout each of the stages of work.
- Education is always developing. This means you must be prepared to keep learning about new issues and approaches in education. This applies throughout your working life.
- Excellent communication skills are needed. This is because you will be working with a wide variety of different people from different walks of life. This will include challenging pupils.
- You must be a good team player. This means having the ability to work constructively with others.
- Additionally, there are a few other office-based skills needed. Such as good computer literacy to record information relating to pupils.
- You also need to understand how to maintain discipline in a school.
- Competence in basic Irish language teaching is also needed.
- A clean Garda vetting check is also required. This is because you will be working with children. This system of Garda vetting is conducted by the Garda Siochána National Vetting Bureau. It works by sending a vetting disclosure to the organisation that requested one.
Challenges of Being a Primary School Teacher
- No two days as a primary school teacher are the same. You will need flexibility and a pupil-centred approach. Indeed, you must always be prepared for the unexpected. This can be exciting but also challenging at times.
- You will also need to maintain a professional outlook and treat fellow teachers, pupils and parents with respect. Additionally, pupils or their parents can be challenging. As can some other teachers. All of these factors mean the job of a primary school teacher can be stressful. Additionally, external school inspections will also bring stress.
Type of Person Suited for this Work
- An extremely innovative and thoughtful person makes a good primary school teacher.
- You will also need to be someone who can apply problem-solving skills with confidence.
- Tied into this you need to be a good listener. This is because it will be your responsibility to work out what problems might arise in delivering education.
- You will also need to be someone with a calm outlook. This includes the ability to deal with stress because the work can be very pressured.
- Additionally, you must keep up to date with new educational ideas. These factors mean you need to be someone willing to learn as your career progresses.
General Expected Working Hours
You can expect to work at around 30 hours a week in a school. Further, you may have some evening work relating to marking homework or lesson planning.
Location of Work
As a primary school teacher, you would be located in a school. However, you will also be expected to conduct some trips outside school from time to time.
It is possible to build a successful and well-paid career as a primary school teacher. You will do this by building your reputation. Further, this is likely to continue throughout your career. This is because experience and understanding will mean you can be promoted within the teaching team. You might also move to a larger primary school.