My name is Susan Leahy and I’m an educator based in Ireland, where I’ve been teaching Spanish in the King’s Hospital School since 2005. I’m curious about new teaching methods and like to experiment with them in class. Some I keep, some I ditch, some I revisit years later! I think that digital learning is important, but it has to be tackled the right way.
In 2016, I trained as a Yoga Instructor, and have been teaching Yoga and Meditation in the King’s Hospital School since then. In 2018, I trained to teach the .b programme as a Mindfulness Instructor with the Mindfulness in Schools Project. I now teach Mindfulness in my school as part of the curriculum. I also use it in different ways with my different classes, depending on their age, experience of Mindfulness and the stage they’re at in both the academic term and their time in school.
In 2015, I finished a four year term as President of the Association of Teachers of Spanish (ATS) in Ireland after which I spent a year as Vice-President, before stepping down fully from the committee. During my four years as President, I transformed the Association, creating an online community of over 1000 educators via Facebook, bringing native teachers from Spain to deliver quality grammar workshops to our members, and creating a tradition of peer-to-peer training with the first Languages TeachMeet in Ireland taking place in 2014 along with the innovative Methodology Carousel during which our members engage in structured conversations around language teaching techniques that work in the classroom.
As well as my deep interest in continuing teacher education, I’ve worked with a number of universities in Initial Teacher Education. I regularly examine the Leaving Certificate Spanish Oral Examination and have corrected the Irish State Examinations at both Junior and Leaving Certificate Level. I was a member of the National Working Group on Modern Languages, which explores creative teaching & learning projects and designs programmes of Continuing Professional Development for teachers of Modern Languages in Ireland.
My students have won the ATS Debating Competition in 2018, 2016, 2013, 2011, 2008 & 2007. In 2015, one of my students achieved the second highest mark in the Leaving Certificate Spanish Examination. In 2013 and in 2009, students of mine achieved the highest mark in the Leaving Certificate Examination in Ireland. In 2012, one of my students came second in the Junior Certificate Examination in Ireland. In 2012, my then Form 1 and my then Form 5 students and I opened our classroom door to the National Centre for Technology in Education to show what we were doing. In 2011, my Form 2 students and I were filmed for the VITALL (Videoing Ideas for Teaching and Learning Languages) initiative to showcase examples of good practice in language teaching.
I’m always interested in hearing from other teachers and from students of Spanish, so if you have any ideas, suggestions or questions for and about the blog, please let me know.
To get in touch, send a message to s[dot]leahy[at]thekingshospital[dot]ie. If you’re an educator, connect with me here on Twitter. If you’re a student, follow my Facebook page or connect with me here on Twitter.