Aoife O’Connell

I was born into a family with a long lineage of teaching professionals, I am the fifth generation to be exact! Being the eldest of five children, it was apparent from a very young age, and years of minding children, that I would follow tradition and become a teacher. I graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. During my early career I taught at two different schools in my home county of Cork. It was during this time, that I gained my experience working in the LINK Department, and I obtained many skills and strategies that I still use in my teaching today. 

About Me

In 2008, I moved to a school in Dublin – where I was employed until I moved to Dubai in 2018. I spent my latter years at this school in charge of the English as an Additional Language Department. I dedicated my time to ensuring that every student developed the skillset to confidently achieve their academic targets. In 2017, I decided that I wanted to begin a new chapter in my teaching career. Gaining exposure to the British Curriculum has allowed me to not only learn new teaching methods, but also share my experience with new colleagues.

I moved to Dubai with my husband in August 2018, I knew instantly that Safa was the school for me. After one year, I was fortunate enough to be asked to take on the role as Head of Year for a brand-new secondary school. It was an opportunity that I said ‘yes’ to immediately. It is wonderful to see the secondary school grow this year; I am privileged to be part of this new and exciting stage of Safa’s expansion. My aim always, is to motivate and inspire the next generation through creative and hands on lessons. I take immense pride in my work as a teacher, seeing the progression that students make throughout the course of every school year, is what makes my job as a teacher such a gratifying one. I aim to inspire students to become independent thinkers – who can develop all the strengths and skills they will need – to take on tomorrow as well as life after secondary school.

My Experience

Bachelor of Education Degree (B.Ed)

When you have been teaching for a very long time, it is quite difficult to choose just one stand out moment. One that does stand out in my mind, was when I organised a FIFA World Cup week. I set out to ensure that the themes of culture, acceptance, health and community were key aspects of their learning throughout the course of the week. In the weeks leading up to the World Cup, I had the students decorate the corridor with handmade bunting to represent each participating country, this linked in nicely with Geography lessons. We looked at the currency of Brazil and we used foreign exchange rates to work on their numeracy and problem-solving skills. Not one academic subject was left out. Shakira’s ‘Waka Waka’ from the previous World Cup was our theme song, there wasn’t a student who didn’t know the moves inside out. To be honest, I had the students so hyped up before the week began, that I worried how I would get them back down to earth when all the fun was over.

Now for anyone who has visited Ireland, you will know that it usually rains (yes even in summer) but fortunately for us, the sun was splitting the stones the entire week. Students were broken into their country teams, rounds set up and different parents were involved in refereeing all the games. Local shops provided us with refreshments and other parents came to give out medals and cheer on the students. A real sense of community spirit surrounded the games.