Meet a Teacher: Who is Celia Fairley?

Three minutes
Teach For Australia Friday, January 8th, 2021

A little bit about Celia

Cohort 2013

Live Before Teach for Australia


Teaching Areas

Science, Agriculture & Horticulture, Maths, Performing Arts

Current Employment

Classroom Teacher at Horsham College

View transcript

My name’s Celia, I started teaching at
Stawell Secondary College in 2013,
as part of cohort four.
I now teach at Horsham College.
I originally taught just science,
but I’ve also taught performing arts,
humanities, VCAL subjects, lots of different things.
Before I joined Teach for Australia,
I was working as a horticulturalist
for a landscaping company, so I was doing a lot of
plant selection for particular landscape designs.
I chose Teach For Australia because it worked
with my life at the time, I was changing
from a different career, I had previously
looked into studying education full time,
and just couldn’t figure out how to make it work
with my life and with my lifestyle.
Discovering Teach for Australia meant that
I could work and earn and learn all at the same time,
and really feel like I wasn’t having to pause my life
to pursue a different career, I could jump
straight across, and start teaching
virtually straight away.
When I learnt that I had to relocate for
Teach For Australia, I was a little bit
concerned, being away from my family
and my partner at the time,
but what I found I enjoyed the most
was being out in the bush, and amongst trees.
I grew up in the bush, but right before TFA,
I was living very close to Melbourne,
4km from the CBD, and I really loved
just being out in the natural environment again,
I really love being a part of a small community,
and it’s not something, even if you live
in a smaller town in the city, it’s not something
you get to experience in the same way
you do in the country.
The biggest piece of advice that I could give
my former self would be to back yourself,
just go with your gut, teacher self-efficacy
is incredibly important to teacher success,
which is obviously important to student success,
so at every turn go with your gut,
absolutely back yourself.

Celia had an established career as a horticulturist. Now she’s a science teacher.

“I wasn’t necessarily looking for an entire career change, but as soon as I heard about TFA it seemed like a perfect fit,” Celia says. She realised that she was drawn to teaching, but felt that she couldn’t afford to pause her life in order to study.

“My partner and I had a mortgage; I was working in a completely different industry and didn’t feel my employer would be supportive of my taking time off for placements. TFA provided me with a realistic opportunity to work, learn and earn, all while experiencing the sense of fulfilment that arises from engaging in something meaningful.”

One of her favourite memories from teaching was in a Year 8 science class, when she’d set a creative response task for students to demonstrate understanding of the rock cycle.

“Three students created a parody of the chorus to the song ‘Stolen Dance,’ complete with video clip and correct scientific detail. It included the opening line ‘rocks are cool, they come from volcanoes…’ That was in 2014, yet I frequently have their parody stuck in my head!”

We asked what she would say if she could give her younger self at the start of the program some advice.

“Back yourself. Teacher self-efficacy is incredibly important, not only to student outcomes, but to teacher wellbeing. Put stock in your own intelligence, education and reflective capacity and don’t let self-doubt hold you back.”

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