Top award for teacher Isabel

A BALLYMONEY teacher who battled breast cancer while studying for her degree this week received a top education award.

Among them was PGCE graduate, Isabel Kerr who received the General Teaching Council (NI) Student Teacher prize.

Isabel was awarded her certificate for achieving excellent results in her French teaching degree, and for showing exceptional determination and commitment throughout her studies.

Isabel began her career as a commercial translator, and lectured in France at the University of Toulouse for several years.

When she returned to Northern Ireland she took a few years out of full-time employment, and whilst working for a few hours part time in her daughter’s primary school she realised how much missed teaching.

“I realised that if I wanted to work full time as a language teacher, I would need to study for a PGCE,” she said.

“The best option by far for me was the Open University’s flexible PGCE which allowed me to combine study with part time work and family commitments.

“I had no idea just how flexible I would require this OU course to be. During my Level 2 School Placement, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to take 2 years out from my studies to receive treatment. My tutor and everyone at OU were very supportive in helping me get back into studying and teaching.

“Finishing the course seemed like an impossibility for a while, but I am so proud to have got there and thankful to all those who encouraged me along the way.”