From Ireland!! That's great. Believe it or not, I am Irish. My lineage is from Cork. Cool!
Ok, I don't what the qualifications are in Ireland, but I can tell you about America. After taking all of your required classes, student teaching, and taking the state board exams, the state in which you graduate from college will issue your certificate to teach. Some certificates work in other states, some states require a class or two to get the certificate from specific states.
In terms of teaching, we all have a target age group that we want to teach. I always thought that I wanted to teach kindergarten or first grade. When I was offer my contract from the district in which I currently teach, I was offer a contract for 6th grade. You have to take the contract for the grade they need. Once you get the contract, then you can move around if positions become available, but TAKE THE CONTRACT!
I hope this helps...welcome to education!
Mrs. Joan Coughey
6th grade Literature Teacher
Mt. Lebanon School District
My first job was at a small country school. I was hired as a first grade readiness, but then assigned to fourth grade my first year. The next year I was placed in fifth grade. That was tough because I had figured I could learn from all my first year mistakes and get a fresh start, but I had half of the same kids the second year. I stayed in fifth grade for two years and then had a fifth/with combination class where I was teaching all subjects to two grade levels. That was a lesson in organization. (I didn’t get two paychecks for two jobs either, but I would have earned it) Then I was moved to third grade for the next year. The school only had about 200 students in K-6th grades, so you went where you were told. We all moved a lot. But it was my favorite school as we all knew everyone. Like a huge family. You were either liked by everyone or not. There was no in between.
My next school I taught second grade for two years, then third grade and finally fifth grade. Three of my students were in my second, third and fifth grade classes. It was fun teaching them three times in their six years.
The next school I was hired for fifth grade and stayed in that grade but my classroom changed three times in five years. I started upstairs, then had a wheelchair bound child so moved downstairs, and then was moved right back to my upstairs classroom two years later. (No elevator in that building hence the downstairs necessity) I volunteered to move to fourth grade when a new school opened and we downsized. I craved their huge closets! My last few years I taught second grade.
So, you need to be willing to be flexible and not think where you start is where you’ll be forever. You have to apply for whatever is available even if it’s not your ideal grade. Then you can strive to be where you’d prefer if you’re lucky.