Married teachers, Trevor and Jenine Jamison, are today celebrating their graduation from Ulster University after topping the class, both with distinctions.
Trevor, a science teacher at Hazelwood Integrated College, and Jenine, a religious studies teacher at Belfast Boys' Model School, are among the first cohort of students to graduate from Ulster University's postgraduate certificate in middle leadership. It is designed to enhance teachers' skills, knowledge and understanding of management and leadership and support their continuing professional development.
Jenine said: "I am the typical cliché in the sense that teaching is all that I have ever wanted to do. I love to learn and have had some fantastic learning experiences in my life due to some truly inspiring teachers. I am from North Belfast and attended Belfast Model School for Girls. I benefited hugely from a secondary school education and now as a teacher I get to give something back.
"I want to see the young men from my part of this city realise their full potential. As a religious study teacher I am passionate about my subject and the values it instils in the boys I teach.
"Between my husband and I, we have nearly 30 years experience in teaching. Trevor and I both have a desire to continue to improve in a personal and professional capacity. As new middle leaders in our schools we wanted to prepare ourselves for the task of leading teams and developing our subject areas while improving the quality of our own teaching. The Ulster University course gave us the structure to do just that. It also gave us an opportunity to network and share best practice with education colleagues from across Belfast.
Trevor added: "Let's just say I wasn't the most interested pupil during my time at school. I wasn't pushed at home and had little guidance or aspiration. What I did have were three excellent teachers that took an interest and believed in me.
"Once I completed my undergraduate degree I started to think about a career in teaching. I've always been pastoral at heart and love to see people do well. I want to be that excellent teacher who inspires and believes - I want to be the difference to my pupils that allows them to succeed.
"Both Jenine and I love to learn, we strive to improve our own teaching and develop ourselves and those around us. The Ulster University course was a great opportunity to advance our own professional development. It was great to explore the latest academic research and apply the most relevant material in practice. In September we are going back to Ulster University again to do a postgraduate diploma in headship.
"Today is a really special day for us - we get to celebrate all the new skills and knowledge we have gained that will enhance both our careers and also the lives of the young people we teach."