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Shane Walsh – GAA Star Changes Career to PE Teaching with Portobello Institute

BA (Hons) Physical Education

Shane Walsh – GAA Star Changes Career to PE Teaching with Portobello Institute


Shane Walsh – GAA Star Changes Career to PE Teaching with Portobello Institute

Shane Walsh is a talented and well-known Galway GAA player studying for his BA (Hons) in Physical Education at Portobello Institute on his path to PE Teaching. 

After working in a bank for a number of years while enjoying success with Galway GAA, Shane faced the question so many people do; ‘is this really what I want to do with the rest of my life?’  

By taking time to think about it and speaking with a career guidance counsellor, he came to the conclusion that he really wanted to work in sports and work with people. He discovered that a career in PE Teaching would be perfect for him. 

“What led me to choose this degree is that ultimately, I would like to become a PE teacher in a secondary school.  

“I had a previous background working in a bank, I was there for about six or seven years and eventually I came to the question; is this what I want to do with the rest of my life after football? 

“I’ve a big sporting background, I’ve played with Galway for the last 11 years so there was a big decision to be made and thankfully after a bit of research I came across Portobello Institute, and I’m delighted to be on this course,” he said.  

On his journey to figuring out what he wanted to do, he assessed what kind of things motivated him and he found that his passions lay in sports and helping people to achieve their best. 

“I think the opportunity to work with students and help people to improve, that’s always something that stood out to me. 

“I definitely think I am following my passion in choosing this course, for me I always felt like I was there to help people and if I can help people improve that makes my day so much better and I hope it makes theirs better too.

“That’s why I think that this is the perfect fit for me in the teaching role, when I am going into a classroom, I am going to try to make those students better by the end of the class and if I keep doing that, that’s my passion fulfilled,” he said.  

Shane leads a busy lifestyle with the Galway senior football team, he is managing work, study and his sports commitments thanks to the flexibility at Portobello Institute. 

“The course is so flexible around my life commitments between working and college and playing football as well. There’s a lot of juggling there but for me, it has been very good the way the timetables have worked and how flexible the tutors are between the online features and having our practicals on certain days, so it’s been very good for me.  

“The course is practical in what we are doing because all the work we do in the lectures and in the theory are very relevant when we are out on placement. From the lesson plans to the scheme of work, all those bits that we are doing are all feeding into how to make us better teachers at the end of the day and to help the students become better athletes,” he said.

Gaining entry onto the course you want can be a source of stress for people who have been in the workforce for a number of years and don’t want to face thinking about their Leaving Cert points or the CAO again.  

It was a huge relief for Shane that entry to Portobello Institute is based on an interview to assess your passions and interests and your academic ability to meet the demands of the course rather than points. 

“The course is accessible for me, after meeting with a guidance counsellor I did an interview with the sports department to get onto the course and that was a huge relief because there is pressure with CAO points or with the Leaving Cert so this was the perfect fit for me that the pressure was taken away. 

“I thought that Portobello was the perfect choice for me, I wanted to do physical education and it has this course specifically for me so for me that’s where my passion is in life to be active and working with people and that’s why I think it was the perfect choice for me and I even think the course chose me! 

“Whatever stage you are at in your life it’s never too late to make a decision on what you want to do. If you have a passion for helping people or working in sports, this course and this institute would be perfect for you with how accessible it is, and how flexible they are to work with. They are hugely appealing things for me so I think that is something everyone could take on board,” he said. 

Portobello Institute offers pathways to becoming a qualified PE teacher. We offer a three-year level 8 BA (Hons) in Physical Education which is awarded by Liverpool John Moore’s University for those who are starting out on their journey.

Others who may already have a sports or teaching qualification may gain a Graduate Diploma in Physical Education to continue on the pathway to PE Teaching.

We also offer an MSc in Physical Education combined with the Postgraduate Certificate in Education International & QTS package. QTS is a UK teaching qualification, application for registration with the Teaching Council of Ireland can subsequently be made through the “qualified abroad route” and is reviewed by the council on a case-by-case basis.

If you are interested in any of our sports courses or have any questions about your pathway to PE you can book a consultation call with our expert sports advisor Jason Lester, email [email protected] or call 01 892 0029. 

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