Where are you from in Ireland?
What country are you teaching in?
What is the name of your school?
Phillips Exeter Academy
What’s the best thing about where you live now?
I love teaching English and running all of our travel programs in a school where I have only twelve students per class, and where the students decide the direction of the discussion every day. We use a teaching method here called Harkness, and teachers from all over the world come to visit our classes to examine how we give students such ownership over their learning. I never create a lesson ‘plan’, since the students are the ones who decide what is important for their analysis in every class across all subjects. I’ve also been fortunate to travel with students or for the school to India, China, South Africa, Brazil, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, and all over Europe. I’m heading for Russia in late August. New Hampshire is also a wonderful state in which to raise my own kids, with mountains, ocean and cities all within easy reach, and I’ve learned to love the snow, because what’s the alternative!
Name 3 things you miss from home
My family, Tayto Cheese and Onion crisps, and mosquito-free summer evenings that go so late before the sun finally sets.
What do you think makes a great teacher?
I’m fortunate to teach in a school that is considered one of the best in the USA, with kids coming to us from all over the world. I’ve been able to grow and develop as a teacher here, and I think a great teacher is one committed to lifelong development and fresh materials and ideas. Of course, to teach in a boarding school you have to tolerate the full life of the teenagers in your care too, and be ready to share their latest tastes in music, food and social media.