A FORMER Mullagh National School principal has made history by becoming the first Clareman elected as chairperson of the Teaching Council.
Seán Mc Mahon, B.Ed, M.R.D. a graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Limerick and N.U.I. Galway has had an extensive involvement in education throughout his professional career.
Since 2016, Mr McMahon served as deputy chairman of the Teaching Council, the statutory professional standards body for the teaching profession, which promotes and regulates professional standards.
He was also chair of the council’s investigating committee in relation to Fitness to Teach during this time.
Seán said he is honoured to be elected council chairperson and looks forward to working with members and staff to support all school committee in realising the full potential of their collective work – teachers, parents and students alike.
“The Teaching Council plays a vital role in supporting quality teaching and learning by all teachers in every school in the country.
“In Ireland, we have a proud and powerful record in education which, as a nation, we have always treasured and nurtured. Building on that proud tradition, teachers almost instinctively know that we must embrace the innovations of technology, old and new, to ensure that all learners receive an education that stretches all and breaks none,” he said
Asked about the proposed re-opening of national schools in late August and early September, Seán said it was important to be cognisant of HSE guidelines for the protection of students, parents, teachers and management in this “new normal”.
He said the Department of Education is preparing new guidelines for schools, which are imminent.
He confirmed the Teaching Council does not have any monitoring role in terms of the operation of social distancing in schools, which is a matter for the HSE.
Since the closures of schools last March, he recalled the council has played an active role assisting teachers with the use of digital technology for their students remotely.
“The teaching profession is continuing to rise to the challenges of these unprecedented times to connect with pupils across a wide variety of innovative digital platforms,” he said.
A native of Doonagh near Mullagh, Seán attended Coore National School, Ennistymon CBS, Mary Immaculate College and NUIG.
He commenced his teaching career in an all-boys school in Rathdowney, Co. Laois and also taught in Annagh National School. Returning to his home county in 1990, Seán was appointed principal of Mullagh National School and remained there until his early retirement in early 2018.
Having worked with the Department of Education and Skills as a part time School Development Planning Facilitator, Seán has also been involved in the provision of professional development for Boards of Management.
He was an elected member of the Irish National Teachers Organisation Executive from 2007-2016, serving as INTO president in 2014 and 2015.
He has also served as chairperson of Clare/Limerick Education and Training Board and is a member of the Governing Bodies of Mary Immaculate College, and Limerick Institute of Technology.
Married to a fellow teacher, Geraldine, the couple have five children.
Seán congratulated two newly-elected Clare members of the council Doora National School principal, Mary Curley and Anne Howard, St Patrick’s Comprehensive Secondary School Shannon.
Since January 2014, registration with the Teaching Council is mandatory for any teacher paid by from state funds.
Registration provides teachers with statutory recognition of their professional status, and recognition and verification of their education and qualifications.
Through a professional conduct code, the council provides teachers with clear professional guidance.
Fitness to Teach protects the profession of teaching through the establishment of a formal complaints mechanism.
The council provides support in the transition from college to classroom for newly qualified teachers, through Droichead, the professional induction framework for newly qualified teachers (NQTs) and developing Cosán to support ongoing teachers’ learning
It promotes and celebrates professionalism in teaching each year at FÉILTE, the festival of education in learning and teaching excellence.