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Diane Monahan

Qualified Teacher of the Visually Impaired

Diane Monahan graduated with a degree in Mathematics and Music in 1974. She now works as a Qualified Teacher of the Visually Impaired

What did you do after graduation?
After about 8 years of working as a mathematics teacher in a secondary school teaching O-level, CSE and A-levels, I was looking for promotion. I spotted an advert for a mathematics post for which an interest in working with visually impaired pupils would be an advantage. As I was a volunteer braillist, I successfully applied for the position.

What is your current position?
I am a QTVI which stands for a Qualified Teacher of the Visually Impaired with some management responsibilities.

What does your current role involve?
My job is to enable visually impaired pupils to access the school curriculum and I also provide training. I manage a number of support staff. At a national level, I often find that I am called upon to share my expertise in making mathematics and ICT accessible. (Could you use a computer without touching the mouse or being able to see the screen?) I am also on an assessment committee that tries to improve the consistency of external examinations prepared in braille or modified large print. I am also concerned about the inconsistent standards of tactile diagrams and the accessibility of e-learning and e-assessments.

How do you use the knowledge you gained from your studies in your job?Communication skills, enthusiasm and energy are important factors. I have found it a great privilege to be a witness to a good deal of excellent teaching, to observe colleagues who are able to communicate their subject whilst maintaining discipline in the classroom.
I have always been interested in many subjects and I find there is immense variety and challenge in making the school curriculum accessible to pupils with little or no vision, being able to think laterally, logically and find the best solutions to problems is very useful.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I enjoyed supporting a blind student who was doing A level mathematics,  participating in two International Conferences on Tactile Graphics and helping to train future teachers.

How do you think that maths graduates would benefit from following your chosen career?
There is never a dull moment and you can find an outlet for any other talents you might have!