Anna Dunlevy White – Teaching Assistant Fulfilling Her Potential with BA in Inclusive Education Practice
BA Inclusive Education Practice
Early Years & Montessori
Special Needs Assisting
Anna Dunlevy White worked as a financial underwriter before changing her career to become a Montessori teacher and an SNA.
She has been working as a teaching assistant in a mainstream school for almost seven years now and is currently studying for her BA (Ord) in Inclusive Education Practice at Portobello Institute.
“I work with children with varying needs and in particular with little ones with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Prior to this, I was a Montessori teacher, having studied ECCE and Montessori back in 2014, I also studied a special needs module in order to gain employment within a classroom setting.
“Before pursuing my studies, I was a financial underwriter for many years and when the financial downturn happened I decided to return to study in order to pursue my goal of becoming an educator,” she said.
Anna says her role and responsibilities evolve all the time, and she feels motivated to fulfil her potential to be the best practitioner she can be.
“My role is constantly evolving so in order to best support the individual needs of the children I work with I decided to challenge myself, for my own personal development, to become a better practitioner and pursue my goal of becoming a special education teacher.
“I have seen how the traditional academic approach to education in Ireland has not evolved quickly enough to fully and inclusively support students with Special Educational Needs (SEN), so I want to develop and broaden my skillset in order to become a better educator and advocate more effectively for the children in my care,” she said.
Anna is following her passion by studying for her BA (Ord) in Inclusive Education Practice.
“I started the course in October and it is because I am passionate about inclusive and special education. Teaching is a vocation within my family and is something that I just gravitated towards even when I was working in finance.
“I trained and mentored new staff and volunteered for the Junior Achievement program which allowed me to teach and mentor in schools in my community.
“That was the initial spark that made me pursue my studies and ignited my passion for working with children, especially those with additional needs or who may be marginalised within the community.
“Inclusive education has become a prevalent topic and there is a need for skilled and informed professionals within the education system as most mainstream teachers are not qualified in the field of special needs and inclusive education.
“This course is completely relevant to my current role as a teaching assistant and is also a means to pursuing my career goal of becoming a special education teacher in the future. It allows me to work full-time and can be fitted in around my busy life,” she said.
Anna researched numerous courses of study before choosing Portobello Institute, which turned out to be the right choice for her.
“I had been contemplating pursuing this course of study for a while but not many courses were specific to inclusive or special education.
“I had researched other courses and their provision and decided to choose Portobello as it is a blended approach which allows me to balance my full-time work with studying.
“I’ve enjoyed my time with Portobello, so far. Even though it is predominantly online tuition, the support from Jacinta, my lecturer has been second to none. She is so supportive. As a remote student, it can feel a little isolating but we are encouraged to engage with our peers and tutors which helps develop camaraderie.
“I enjoy the ability to work full time and study at my own pace. The online support has been incredible and lectures and tutorials are so interesting engaging and fun as well. It’s always good to connect with others.
“I would definitely recommend Portobello to others. The courses are very relevant and accessible and the support given by staff is excellent. The option of blended learning means I can work, study and balance a busy life which I would not have thought possible,” she said.
To find out more, read our longer deep-dive Discover Inclusive Education as a Fulfilling and Diverse Career Path.
If you are inspired to make a meaningful impact, transform the educational landscape, and champion a more inclusive future, a career in inclusive education awaits.
Portobello Institute offers a clear pathway to a successful career in inclusive education starting with a level 5 and level 6 Special Needs Assisting qualification, an Advanced Certificate in Early Learning & Care – QQI Level 6 Major Award, you can progress to a BA (Ord) in Inclusive Education Practice, BA (Hons) in Inclusive Education Practice and an MA in Inclusive Education and SEN.
This path is unquestionably fulfilling, continually reminding you of the difference you’re making in creating a more inclusive world, one student at a time.
If you are interested in any of our special needs assisting or inclusive education degrees you can book a consultation call with our expert advisor, Sarah Coyne, email [email protected] or call 01 892 0028.