Realise that you are not a tree - You can MOVE!







Ciara Mc Guane, Rahoo


Ciara Mc Guane, Rahoo







I am absolutely thrilled to have Ciara Mc Guane from Rahoo to guest blog on this week’s teacher career change story. For anyone outside of the world of teaching or from outside Ireland, Ciara runs a highly successful teacher professional development company who run summer courses, personal interest courses, online and face-to face courses.  Rahoo was established only a few years ago in 2017 and has since gone from strength to strength.

This is her journey. Many thanks Ciara for giving us an insight into your journey to date.

Training and Teaching in the U.K.

I lived in the UK for nine years. I trained as a teacher at the Institute of Education in London. I worked in a range of school settings from a school in one of the most disadvantaged areas of England to one of the top ten schools in the country. I quickly excelled in my role and had ample opportunities for promotion and career development.

Passion for Professional Development

I branched out into teacher training in 2013 where I began working with professional development providers for teachers across the UK, including global leader -The TES Institute. This work involved training groups of teachers, working 1:1 with teachers by observing lessons, assessing and supportive trainee teachers.

I am passionate about the impact professional development can have on teachers – and thereby their students. In 2015, I reduced my hours to pursue my role as a self-employed education consultant. I worked in school 3 days a week and I spent 2 days working in professional development.

Ciara’s Return to Ireland

Personally, I was “stuck” when I returned from the UK to Ireland in 2016. Despite my teaching experience in the UK, I found myself at the bottom again. Long story short, I would have been in a position where I would have had to do casual substitution work with no guarantee of hours or contracts. I have teacher friends who are in this position for a number of years with no end in sight.

For me, this was a non-runner for three reasons:

1. It would not have provided financial security.

2. I could not depend on or wait for someone else to “give me work” and have that level of power or control over my life.

3. I had a small baby – it did not make financial sense for me to pay for childcare with no steady income.

Overall, I felt it would have been a huge step backwards. And that is one of the reasons I went down the road of setting up my own business to help myself and other teachers.

Working as an Educational Consultant and Considering Self-Employment

When I was in the UK, as well as working in school, I worked as a self-employed education consultant. Part of that role involved visiting teachers in schools, observing lessons, offering support, feedback and advice.

As well as that, I supported teachers via distance learning. They are required to undertake tasks and reflective assignments. When I returned to Ireland, I was able to continue with the online element of the work as it was done remotely.

I always began to look into the possibility of setting up my own business.

Getting Support

I connected with the Local Enterprise Office in Clare and registered my business idea in the Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition. Part of the competition process was free attendance at a two-day business bootcamp – I desperately wanted to take part in it and learn everything I could! Luckily I made it through the application and got to attend – I learned so much and kept going in that regard by booking onto a six-week Start Your Own Business programme.

Dip Your Toe in First

A lack of confidence, personal insecurity around putting myself out there in public, being afraid of failure and being judged - often made it difficult for me to broaden my network, ask for help and dream bigger.  Whilst I can’t say that I have completely overcome it, I have done what I do best to help alleviate imposter syndrome – and that is to learn.

I would recommend that learning should be the first thing someone does if they are thinking of doing something different – research, investigate and learn – dip your toe in first!

Working in-house as a CPD lead for teaching and learning in a big, busy London school is where I got started and progressed on to being an external trainer for staff groups and 1:1 mentoring and coaching – all whilst working for someone else and getting paid to do it!

Setting Up Rahoo

When I was first starting out at setting up Rahoo, sometimes it was quite daunting and overwhelming with everything that I had to do – with no guarantee of it working out!

I worked with a business coach for a few months to help with my planning and she used to say that whenever it gets too much, just ask yourself “How do you eat an elephant?”

One bite at a time!

Family and Friends Will Have Their Concerns

I warn against telling your friends and family too much about what you are doing – it will be their natural instinct to protect you so they will likely try to stop you from taking any risks.

And I understand that. In my case – I had no job so I had nothing to lose but people are still cautious when you do something different so be mindful of that.

Ciara’s Advice

The advice I would give to other teachers considering career change is that you are not a tree – you can move! Whilst not everyone can, or should, up sticks and leave jobs when they feel this way, they can certainly take matters into their own hands to take control of their careers and lives by upskilling, networking and putting a plan in place rectify this.

Many thanks once again to Ciara for taking the time out to share her story and the birth of Rahoo – just 3 years ago! It really goes to show that with self belief, enthusiasm, support and a dream teachers can make their dream a reality. You can learn more about the online courses that Rahoo have to offer here: http://www.rahoo.ie/ And you can email Ciara and her team at: info@rahoo.ie

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