'The years have flown by': Cork teacher retiring after 43 years

'The years have flown by': Cork teacher retiring after 43 years

Maeve O'Leary who is retiring after 43 years teaching at St. Vincents Primary School, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

ST Vincent's Primary School Deputy Principal Maeve O'Leary will retire after 43 years of distinguished service at the Cork city school on Wednesday, June 30.

Ms O’Leary started teaching in St Vincent’s national school in September 1978. 

The High Street native has loved her time teaching in the northside primary school. 

“I left college and I have been here ever since. The years have flown by. I taught under five principals and I have taught generations of pupils. I have great memories and I have worked with great colleagues. The school is in good hands. There are great teachers here. There are plenty of young teachers ready to take up the baton,” she said.

 Maeve O'Leary who is retiring after 43 years teaching at St. Vincents Primary School, Cork. Having fun at the front door of the school are Colette Clancy, teacher and school principal Niamh O'Sullivan. Picture Dan Linehan
Maeve O'Leary who is retiring after 43 years teaching at St. Vincents Primary School, Cork. Having fun at the front door of the school are Colette Clancy, teacher and school principal Niamh O'Sullivan. Picture Dan Linehan

Ms O’Leary who was appointed deputy principal in 2015 is currently teaching senior infants. 

She said she has seen a lot of changes in the teaching profession during her 43 years.

“I always wanted to be a primary school teacher. I have taught every class at some stage of my career. It is a great job. The biggest change is probably technology. Initially, it was just the blackboard and chalk, but I have embraced technology. I can do a certain amount, but there is always a colleague to help if required. We in turn have skills we pass to young teachers. There were no career breaks in the earlier part of my teaching career. A lot of teachers now avail of career breaks which is great to have.”

The retiring teacher admits to having ‘mixed emotions’ with regards to her impending retirement. 

“I have mixed emotions. I am looking forward to retirement and having so much more freedom and the ability to come and go at my discretion. I am delighted I am retiring in good health and with plenty of energy. I will miss my colleagues, but I will keep in touch. We have a WhatsApp group involving both current and retired teachers who meet up regularly over a cup of coffee.

“I will be emotional on my last day. It is tinged with sadness that my teaching career is coming to an end. I am retiring happy and healthy,” she added.

The Cork city native said St Vincent’s national school has always played a huge role in their local community due to its ‘lovely atmosphere’.

“It is a great school. Anyone who comes into our school all comments on the lovely atmosphere and ethos. Parents have told us there is something special in our school. It is a lovely place to work. The children are handled with respect. I am proud to have worked here.” 

Sending her on her way are school principal, Niamh O'Sullivan with staff members, Noreen, McCarthy, Lisa McGuinness, Áine Nugent, Deirdre O'Donoghue, Nora Riordan and Anne Collins. Picture Dan Linehan
Sending her on her way are school principal, Niamh O'Sullivan with staff members, Noreen, McCarthy, Lisa McGuinness, Áine Nugent, Deirdre O'Donoghue, Nora Riordan and Anne Collins. Picture Dan Linehan

Ms O’Leary is looking forward to having more time to pursue her hobbies after she officially retires. 

“I love gardening and walking. I live in Blackrock down by the Marina. I enjoy going on holiday. I am looking forward to going abroad on holiday. I have plenty of books to read, mountains to climb and beaches to walk. I am looking forward to retirement. I am going to enjoy it.”

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