AFTER 36 years, well known English teacher Marie McClean is closing a chapter and retiring from St Mary’s High School.
Mrs McClean began teaching in St Mary’s in 1976 and has been there ever since.
A native of County Armagh Marie now lives in Finaghy outside Belfast, however she has never stopped supporting her county team.
Throughout her career she taught English and in recent years Media Studies.
“I always had a great love of literature and one of the most enjoyable aspects of teaching was bringing literature alive in the classroom.
“I look back with great pleasure on our re-enactments of scenes from Shakespeare, our lively debates, the beautiful poems and stories written by students over the years and the sheer pleasure of escaping into the world of a good novel,” said Marie.
“What I have found really interesting is how pupils’ tastes in reading have changed over the years.
“When I began teaching it was the novels of Jane Austen and Dickens as well as favourites like ‘Anne of Green Gables’. That has been replaced by the Harry Potter series, the novels of Jacqueline Wilson and ‘The Hunger Games’,” she revealed.
About ten years ago Marie set up the Media Studies Department in St Mary’s and it has been a great success. One of their greatest achievements was winning a major award in Cinemagic’s National Digital Storytelling competition.
The girls who won were invited to Stormont where their film was showcased in front of a group of educationalists from all over the UK and Europe.
“One of the greatest pleasures of teaching has been the interaction with the pupils and we have had some great times in the classroom.
“Working with young people has kept me mentally young and enthused and I’m going to miss all that,” she said.
“I have made some great friendships and it’s going to be a real wrench to leave St Mary’s. I am looking forward to spending more time on leisure pursuits. I enjoy painting and gardening and I have begun to learn a new language.
“I’ll also continue to follow the fortunes of the Armagh football team,” said Marie.