Caithlin brought her skills and experience as a hip-hop dancer to her Bachelor of Education course, and says the degree “really is setting you up for the rest of your career.”
Caithlin Stamp is a woman of many talents. She’s got a thumbs-up from the judges on Britain’s Got Talent and she’s done a hip-hop dance as a Rose of Tralee contestant. But her real passion is teaching.
Having completed her Bachelor of Education at DCU’s Institute of Education, she has just started her first teaching job at Francis Street Primary School in Dublin’s Liberties. She teaches a Senior Infants class and says, “I love them.”
The Enniscorthy Co. Wexford native always thought her career might have something to do with children but she wasn’t sure what shape that might take. In school, she enjoyed helping her classmates if they were having trouble understanding a lesson. “In class, I'd always be the one who would want to help out. I'd want to see someone do well.”
Her teachers took notice and started to ask her if she might consider teaching as a career. She started to look at the available teaching courses and a visit to DCU’s St Patrick’s campus on Open Day “just stood out for me, it just felt right.”
Once the course started, it didn’t take long for the B Ed class to gel. She says “the atmosphere, was just brilliant from start to finish,” and everyone looked out for each other.
Caithlin was diagnosed with arthritis as a teenager and in first year the symptoms flared up, making walking difficult. Her new friends stepped in to help. “They'd carry my stuff for me. They were always there and willing to help.”
Caithlin says the workload on the B Ed can be daunting at times, but that didn’t stop her from throwing herself into extracurricular activities. She’s passionate about hip-hop dance and is a member of the “District Funk” company. The group was spotted by scouts at the World Championships in Blackpool and was invited to audition for Britain’s Got Talent.
The group got a “yes” from all the judges, but didn’t make it to the live TV show. However, Caithlin was delighted to have this “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”.
“It was just crazy like meeting Ant and Dec, being on that stage in front of the judges, it was like everything I ever dreamed of,” she says.
She also brought her hip-hop skills to the stage when she entered the Wexford Rose of Tralee. For her ‘party piece’ she got the escorts up for an impromptu dance routine.
Caithlin is full of praise for the teaching staff at DCU’s Institute of Education. “I could not fault them in terms of how helpful they were,” she says. “If I was ever stuck for something I didn't have to think, ‘am I annoying this person by emailing them’. They wanted to help you.”
For Caithlin, one of the key learnings from her lecturers was the idea that ‘behaviour doesn't define the child’. Teachers have to look deeper to understand what is causing the child to act out, she says.
Caithlin is now employed in Francis Street School, where she did her final year placement, and is enjoying life as a teacher.
She believes that the Bachelor of Education course at DCU gave her the skills and knowledge she needed for her career. “I felt prepared, I felt organized,” she says of her first day on the job. “It really is setting you up for the rest of your career, and it's so worth it. I definitely would recommend it to anyone.”