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Damien Barry
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Damien Barry and I am from Ennis, Co. Clare. I graduated from MIC in 1998 with a B.Ed and I spent my first six years teaching in Ennis. I then spent two years teaching in Charlotte, North Carolina in the USA and one year in London. I currently live and work in Hong Kong and am now in my third year here. I also graduated from NUIG in 2006 with a postgraduate degree in law. I am married to Amy, who is from Nova Scotia in Canada and we have a 17 month old daughter, Ella Lynn.
Tell us about your time in Mary Immaculate College?
I had a great time in MIC. I was lucky enough to make some fantastic friends and I was also heavily involved in Gaelic Games in the college. I recently attended a wedding of one of my closest friends in college and it was great to catch up with everyone again. It is still hard to believe that it is over 14 years since we met as it only feels like yesterday that I was walking into my first microteaching, shaking with fear and anxiety about standing up in front of a group of kids!
One memory that stands out in your mind from your time in MIC?
On my first teaching practice, I managed to bluff and bumble my way through an Irish poetry lesson. I managed to confuse the class and myself by the end of it. The kindly classroom teacher who was weeks from retirement smiled at me and the class, told me that it was a lovely lesson and then announced to me, my teaching partner and all of the students that we would now do the lesson properly. She then proceeded to reteach the whole lesson!
A member of staff who had an affect or made an impression on you during your time in MIC?
Most definitely Noreen Lynch. A wonderful person who always encouraged me and taught me a lot about how to deal with people. She always had a word of encouragement for everyone and was also a fantastic head of sport. Siobhan Hurley also made a big impression on me through her commitment to and passion for education.
What changes would you like to see within MIC?
I would like to see a Coop style year brought into the B.Ed in third year and the B.Ed extended to 4 years. BA students have the opportunity to get some real life experience before completing their degree and I feel this would also be beneficial for B.Ed students. They could volunteer in disadvantaged schools as teaching assistants, study abroad and look at international teacher training or volunteer abroad for a year. Often, we are sending out teachers at 20, 21 into classrooms with little life experience and expecting them to become instant role models for children.
Do you maintain a relationship with MIC today?
Living abroad makes it difficult but the new online alumni association should help me reconnect. I am also in close contact with former classmates.
What is your current occupation?
I am currently the Year 4 Team Leader in a brand new private international school in Hong Kong called Discovery College. We cater for over 60 nationalities and we are a through school all the way up to the end of high school. We follow the PYP, MYP and IB curriuculums. My wife also works in the school and we have a diverse range of nationalities on staff, from countries such as Australia, New Zealand, UK, USA, China, Canada and Hong Kong.
What are your hopes/plans for the future?
Not too sure! We are quite happy in Hong Kong at the moment but we would like to move to either Ireland or Canada in the future. Our daughter was born in Hong Kong so we are conscious of making sure she knows where her roots are in time.
If you were President of MIC for a day what would you do?
Bring in the coop year for the B.Ed. Nothing else really!
If you could quickly sum up your time in MIC or have any advice for MIC students what would it be?
Enjoy it! It goes pretty quickly and college really is one of the most important and exciting times in your life.
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