Joanne O'Reilly

Post Primary Teacher of Mathematics, Business Studies and Economics
BA Economics & Mathematics
MA Finance, Diploma in Educational Leadership

Current Status

Post Primary Teacher of Mathematics, Business Studies and Economics

Why did you study Mathematics at University?

While I wasn't always completely sure as to which career path I wanted to take I was definitely sure that I wanted to study Maths in college. For the leaving cert it was always the subject that I enjoyed studying the most. I enjoyed the logic of the thought involved and the structured approach in studying it. Problem solving was always interesting and I just knew that it was something I wasn't finished with after school and wanted to know more about.

Describe what you do now and how mathematics is useful to you.

I am currently a secondary school teacher and so use mathematics every day. While it is more basic maths than that which I studied in college I enjoy the challenge of dealing, not only with students who would enjoy and even love the subject, but with those who do not have quite the same appreciation for it!! There are many people who are put off by the very thought of Maths and it's actually just a lot to do with confidence. I try to remove the fear of the subject as well as teach the material when in school. The great thing about teaching is when you see that glimmer of understanding in a student as they finally get to grips with a topic that they were finding very difficult. When they become enthusiastic about the subject I loved because they believe they can progress at it, it's really rewarding.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of doing a degree in Mathematics?

I would say not to be put off by complicated sounding topics or courses. Think back to when you didn't know what Calculus/Algebra was and how difficult it sounded. It is a course of study that will stand to you in so many ways when you are finished college. Whether you decide to continue on and study pure maths or whether you branch into a different area, it provides a training that is second to none. Even in completing an MA in Economics and Finance I was at a major advantage starting off because of my degree subjects. You should think of it as a gateway to so many branches and areas of work and study that you will have plenty of choice.

Would you recommend that people study Maths in Maynooth?

Absolutely! It is a brilliant University to start with. Situated in a university town it provides an atmosphere like no other. You get to know so many people on campus and the setting is spectacular. The Maths department in Maynooth is such that you can get to know many of the lecturers and post-grad students. There are always people available to ask a question to or to consult with about work or assignments. The classes were small too which meant you got to know plenty of people across different years as well as in your own class. The attention and help you received from the staff across the board was of great benefit.