Despite wanting to become a teacher at a young age, Josh Jones went into a career in plumbing. Now, a member of Teach For Australia’s Cohort 2016, he has taken the plunge into teaching and is loving every bit of it.
In Year 9, Josh knew he wanted to become a teacher when he grew up.
Unfortunately, though, a conversation with one of his teachers at the time drove him away from this goal:
This comment had a profound effect on Josh and his dream. He slowly became disengaged from education and left school early.
“After leaving school I got a job on a fishing boat. I liked fishing and I suppose that was my backup dream,” said Josh.
After a while Josh decided he was tired of getting seasick so he completed a trade in plumbing.
He enjoyed plumbing and later started up his own business.
“I really liked meeting and helping people who were in some very sticky situations,” he said.
“I wanted to do a lot of the work for free, as most of my customers were pensioners or close friends. It was challenging. You have to be ruthless to run a successful business and I am way too soft,” said Josh.
He taught plumbing at TAFE and started a pre-apprenticeship plumbing program at South West Institute of Technology – a program that gave high school students a chance to enter into the plumbing industry.
“I saw and heard about so many young people at school who were completely disengaged from the material they were meant to be learning,”
It was in this teaching and mentoring role that Josh flourished. He loved teaching students who were disengaged from school like he once was.
This steered him towards education again.
“I decided that if I was going to put that much effort in then I wanted to study something that I was really interested in,” he said.
Josh completed an undergraduate degree in ancient history online via Macquarie University, an achievement he believes was only possible because of the support he received from his partner:
Despite the dual challenges of full-time study and parenting, the pair worked tirelessly to ensure Josh could achieve his goal.
“It didn’t matter that we had a toddler and a new baby when I first began studying, we worked through it together. If the baby woke early, I’d stick him in the pram and blast my lectures at the poor neighbours as I walked him around Bunbury,” he said.
“I was faced with driving up to Perth, which is over two hours every day, to complete a graduate diploma in education. Luckily, I stumbled across the Teach For Australia program one day and applied,” he said.
Josh lacked confidence and didn’t think he would get into the competitive program when he applied.
“My wife helped me apply and made sure I was nicely dressed for the interview. She believed I’d get in even if I didn’t,” he said.
“To be finally told that I’d been accepted as an Associate was a dream come true,”
“I was in a classroom teaching before I would have even started my graduate diploma,” he said.
After just one year, he became a shared year coordinator.
“I’m really looking forward to finishing my studies at the end of 2017. I will proudly call myself a Teach For Australia graduate,” he said.
Josh can’t wait to continue his career as a teacher.
“My sons have never known me not studying, so I’m really looking forward to spending more time with my family,” he said.
Josh now dreams of one day teaching in a school where his whole family can be involved: “I want to play sport with my students and sons after school.”
He looks forward to raising the status of the teaching profession and hopes to convince his students to never give up on their dreams.