Temera O’Brien of Bray, Co.Wicklow, is set to become Ireland’s first ever Traveller primary school teacher as she enters her first year in Maynooth University’s “turn to teaching” programme.
The student, who is entering the new access programme, could be the first person from a Traveller background to enter into a profession that has normally been dominated by people who are ‘middle-class, white, and female’.
The access programme is designed to break down the barriers to the teaching profession faced by marginalized people from all walks of life.
Temera told the Irish Times; “I’m hoping I’ll be a role model for other Travellers. If I can do it, then other Traveller children will think, ‘why can’t I do it as well?”
Travellers are up to 50 times less likely to complete secondary education and O’Brien is seeking to change that.
“I’m excited…I’d like to change how teaching is done. If there are students from Traveller backgrounds or other minorities, I want to make sure they enjoy school and make sure no one is left behind.”