Jo Bailey

Secondary School,
New South Wales

What inspired you to get into teaching?

With an undergraduate degree in Business, I worked for more than ten years in a number of high-level communications and marketing roles for both public and private sector organisations. I wanted to diversify my skill set and was supported by my then-manager to complete a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. I absolutely loved being able to share my knowledge and support others' learning, so I knew that a career-change to teaching was in my future. Retraining to be a secondary teacher meant that I could use my existing qualifications and experience to broaden my students' knowledge.

Why do you teach?

I teach because I have a story to tell. It's a story about being a life-long learner, and there always being an opportunity to grow and develop one's knowledge and experiences. I teach so that my students can not only understand and interpret the curriculum but so that they can see how the skills and experiences gained in high school can be applied in the real world. I truly believe teaching is the best job in the world, and one of the most important. I am so inspired by the students I teach and am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to play a part in these incredible students' quest for learning, continued improvement and commitment to academic rigour. I am also energised by the commitment and wisdom of my experienced colleagues and their readiness to help me learn.

Have you received a special keepsake from your student/s that you treasure?

I have been given the most amazing keepsake from a student only in the last week. A Stage 6 visual arts student had been tasked with creating a portrait of a teacher from school. Titled 'Garden of Knowledge', she credits me on the oil painting's label with approaching life and work with my best foot forward always, taking the time to nurture and cultivate an inviting learning atmosphere. I feel proud that I have made a difference to a student's life, because that's all I have ever wanted to do.

What is your advice for new teachers or people considering a career in teaching?

Teaching is hard, but it's worth it. As a career-change teacher, I have found that my skills and experience have helped me to impart a valuable and unique real-world perspective to my teaching. Good teaching comes from good communication - which incidentally, underscores the hallmarks of quality teaching including explicit instruction, quality feedback and being a good listener (formative assessment).

Attribution: Artwork by Rosemary L, Year 11

Headshot – Jo Bailey, looking at camera, smiling
Painting of Jo Bailey, Artwork by Rosemary L, Year 11

Are you a teacher with an inspiring story and do you have a keepsake from a student that reminds you of a special teaching moment?

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