Lucky to have found a job that makes me so happy

Susan Collins Duggan Owner of Theatre Tricks Drama & Communications features in our My Career
Lucky to have found a job that makes me so happy

Susan Collins Duggan Owner of Theatre Tricks Drama & Communications

Name: Susan Collins Duggan

Age: 41

Lives: Enniskeane, Co. Cork

Job Title: Owner of Theatre Tricks Drama & Communications

Salary bracket: Variable

Education: LLCM (TD), Fellowship in Drama (FLCM), QQI Level 6 Training Delivery, Diploma Accounting Technician.

Hobbies: Walking, Reading, Cooking/Baking & Yoga/mindfulness.

Describe your job in 5 words: Rewarding, Fast paced, Unique (teaching style), Energetic, Articulate.

Describe yourself in 5 words: Caring, Kind, positive, dedicated, energetic.

Personality needed for this kind of work: Endless creativity, communication and interpersonal skills, animated, empathetic, energy!!!

How long are you doing this job? I am teaching 22 years but full-time with 13 years.

How did you get his job? From a young age I was involved in speech & drama and began my first teaching assistant role at the age of 18. I attended to Skerry’s business college to study a secretarial course (not sure if that is heard of now!) I then went on to my first full-time job in an International company call Starwood Hotels & Resorts in the European call-centre in Cork(now the Marriott group). While in the first six months of my job I was promoted to the finance department and I also commenced my Accounting Technician course by night in CIT. I progressed in the company over the next three years to become Finance Supervisor and had managed a team of six. 

I also got to travel to many parts of the world and spend time in some of their amazing hotels . I was still teaching speech and drama part-time in the evenings during this time and after a few short years, my teacher had decided to move away from teaching drama and asked if I would be willing to take the classes over so it was from there that I began to be a part-time sole trader. 

In 2006 I decided to take another leap of faith and leave Starwood to set up an office base for my husband’s in the construction industry and we worked it quite well until the recession came and it was then that I decided to go back to work in the city in a solicitor firm (RDJ), I worked there in the finance department for another two years until our first child was born and it was at that point that I began to realise, I didn’t wish for her to be without her parents all day from 6am in the morning to 7pm at night so after several discussions I decided to take the plunge and begin Theatre Tricks Drama & Communications. I had always loved teaching and knew that at some point it was what I had wished to do. So it has grown from there and the best part is that I get to be there for my children whilst doing what I love to do most which is training and teaching children, teenagers and adults!

Do you need any particular qualifications or experience? A Diploma qualification in Speech & Drama, empathy, a good listener and boundless energy!

Describe a day at work: I begin my day with a morning meditation in my room before I commence the day . Once I have my children in school, I usually take time preparing items for class, research work on topics we may be covering in the weeks ahead, emails, phone calls, then the usual household chores and preparation of dinner. 

My work can vary from week to week but the core of my teaching begins at 3pm or 4pm and depending on the day it could be until 9pm or less some days. As we are online at present I found at the beginning it was usual to be back at a desk again as I am usually moving around a lot when teaching face to face. 

I am also a voluntary board member for the speech and drama teachers of Ireland so I would have correspondence in relation to that to attend to, and I also deliver trainings to adults as a Mini Me Yoga Ambassador for Cork and the voluntary role of team lead for Ireland so I would correspond with other ambassadors and the HQ in the UK. 

What I love about my job is that each day can vary, beginning with younger children, teenagers and I could finish with training a group of adults online. I also have the flexibility of being able to collect my children from school and to hear their stories of the day.

How many hours do you work a week? Depends on the week.

What do you wear to work? Own branded business clothing. Comfortable shoes (as you are on your feet a lot) 

Is your industry male or female dominated? Many speech and drama teachers are female but overall in the arts and communication industry it is balanced.

Does this affect you in any particular way? No, as I have worked with industries that have had a balance throughout my life, well except maybe for construction sites.

Is your job stressful? No I don’t find my job stressful, I think if you enjoy what you work at then it isn’t stressful. My younger students would tell me that the only time they see me stressed is backstage at our annual productions!!

Do you work with others or on your own? I work alone but I don’t feel that way as I spend my days meeting people either online or in person.

When do you plan to retire or give up working? No plans to retire as I love what I do.

Best Bits: No day is the same, getting to meet so many people from different walks of life. Hearing stories from all ages. Bringing joy and smiles to people’s faces when they realise how confident they have become and self-esteem is so important so being able to teach that to people is a joy. In my Mini Me Yoga programmes empowering and training adults to bring yoga and mindfulness to children in their settings.

Worst bits: Without the support of Network group members and fellow teachers in the industry it can be lonely. Not being able to switch off your creative side of your mind as you are always planning. It is a good thing in many ways I suppose, hence why I do daily meditation.

Advice to those you want your job? It is demanding and you will need boundless energy but it is so rewarding to see the smiles on people’s faces. Be willing to work hard for it.

Any other comments? I think it is important to find a job that you enjoy and reach out to people for help and support when you need it. My moto is ‘you are always learning, you will never know it all’. I would also say be open minded and never give up. I find myself lucky to have found a job that makes me happy and gives me great satisfaction. As a teacher you need to have empathy and a good listening ear. You are never too old to try a new adventure!

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