13 Jun 2016
A teacher at TAFE Queensland Brisbane, Jo’s primary focus has been on educating migrants and refugees in the Adult Migrant Education Program (AMEP) and Skills for Education and Employment (SEE). She also teaches international students who have come to Brisbane to learn English.
“It’s so satisfying watching my students progress and seeing their confidence grow,” she said.
“They’re all self-motivated and they never take education for granted. There’s been a sacrifice made and I think that sacrifice is the crux of what makes these programs so important.
“They all have different stories and cultures. I’ve learnt that even when we don’t have a common language we can always communicate by smiling. Getting an education can be the first stepping stone in the rest of your life.”
Now lending her skills to TAFE Queensland Brisbane’s TESOL course (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), she’s able to train the next generation of teachers.
A passion for not only learning, but also sharing that knowledge, has also seen the former primary school teacher set up PD Fest. PD Fest is a full day conference aimed at sharing skills and bringing together the latest knowledge in teaching English to speakers of other languages.
The “passion project” which started as a small gathering of teachers 14 years ago, has now grown to sell-out crowds. The momentum has led her to receive the John Gallagher Professional Bursary, an award handed out by the sector’s national peak body, English Australia, for outstanding commitment to the industry.
“We have so many talented teachers in this sector and we all have different creative ideas on how to best teach,” she said.
“I think the more we can share, the better the student experience will be. At the end of the day that’s why we’re all here.”