Local Faces - Catrina O'Connor

Catrina O'Connor is a mother-of-two who works as a Special Needs Assistant in St Joseph's Special School, Balrothery. Catrina grew up in Tallaght and lives in Ellensborough. 

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I’ve been a Special Needs Assistant (SNA) at St Joseph’s Special School in Tallaght for the past seven years.

I usually get to work just before 9am, so I can escort the kids into their classrooms.

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I love my job and I feel like doing more, so I went went back to college to train to be a teacher in a special school and have one year left. 

I did my placement in a main stream school and loved it but I always get drawn back to working in special schools. 

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These kids are entitled to an education, and they deserve the same opportunities as all children.

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And, here at St Joseph’s they get the same opportunities but at their own pace. No one is left behind.

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SNAs play a huge role in the classroom, they are there for the care needs of the students and to support the teacher.

The SNAs re-enforce what the teacher is teaching and a lot of the students also feel that SNAs are there to talk to if they have any problems or concerns. 

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A classroom wouldn’t run without an SNA, and that's the same for all schools.  

During the day, I also bring students to different subjects like home economics, woodwork, IT, art, PE and Irish dancing. 

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It’s so rewarding to know that the kids are getting everything they need and all of the staff at St Joseph’s are just so caring... it’s a lovely place to be.

All of the kids are so different, they’re a very vibrant bunch, and they all definitely appreciate the work of their SNA.

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All images taken by Aidan O'Neill 

I can’t explain in words how much I love my job and I can’t wait to qualify as a special needs teacher.

For further details on St Joseph's Special School in Balrothery, visit the school website HERE. St Joseph's believes that all children should be encouraged to realise their full potential by recognising that every child is different with a range of talents.


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