Teleah Laffey is an educator on a mission
The Sector > Jobs News > For First Nations Educator Teleah Laffey ECEC is a way to do her community proud

For First Nations Educator Teleah Laffey ECEC is a way to do her community proud

by Freya Lucas

March 29, 2023
Image shows a young woman wearing black shirt with a green logo.

Teleah Laffey is a proud and resilient Aboriginal woman of the Kabi Kabi people who has always believed she was born to nurture the smallest children in the community, saying “there’s just something about their nature that brings out the best in me”.


Ms Laffey was born in the Queensland town of Gympie, and moved to Bunderberg at the age of 13. After completing a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC30121) in 2020, she was motivated to further her career options by continuing her studies with TAFE Queensland, going on to study a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC50121).


Despite facing personal challenges and setbacks along the way, Ms Laffey stayed the course in her determination to succeed earned her not only high marks but also the respect and admiration of her teachers and peers.


During her studies last year, she was confronted with the devastating news that her mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. To further compound the pain, following the difficulty of finding out about this diagnosis and the subsequent stress of supporting her mother through this significant ordeal, Ms Laffey broke both her kneecaps when she one day fell over while working.


“Both of these things were such a personal blow to me and I don’t know that I would have gotten through my course last year without the incredible support and understanding of my family and friends and my teacher, Jody Richter,” she shared.


“Things became quite difficult for me especially after the operation on my knees and this is where TAFE Queensland and my teacher Jody were such a blessing.”


Ms Laffey said the understanding and flexibility shown by her teachers in allowing her to work through her studies at a differentiated pace, which gave her the confidence and belief in herself that she could reach the finish line.


While the pain from her knee injury meant she was unable to attend her graduation at the TAFE Queensland Bundaberg campus at the end of 2022, Ms Laffey chose to focus on her recovery which was a slow three-month process, and the positivity in her life that now includes her being a professionally certified educator with a very bright future ahead of her.


“I just decided that after all mum and I had been through and the year that we had been dealt, there are some things in life that we need to be grateful for and there are some things you just have to let go,” she said.


“I personally couldn’t wait to get back on my feet – literally – and return to what I love most – working with children! And best of all, I’m just so grateful that mum is recovering really well from her diagnosis.”


Ms Laffey says that there’s something in the nature of children which brings out the best in her, and that she feels thankful for the incredible opportunity to work with children. 


Not surprisingly, thanks to her commitment and skills in working with children, she was offered a position as an educator at Acorn East Childcare Centre, a local employer in Bundaberg that recognised her talent and potential even before she finished her Diploma course.


“Being able to land a job there is really just the icing on the cake,” Ms Laffey said.


“There hasn’t been a day since where I haven’t learned or discovered something new and wonderful.”


Ms Laffey’s success is not only a testament to her hard work and determination but also her ability to use life challenges as motivation to work harder, study more, and become the best version of herself, her TAFE teachers have said. 


“Teleah, we think you’re ready to take on just about anything the future throws at you and we can’t wait to hear about the amazing children whose lives will not only be a bit brighter because of you but also flourish under your gentle guidance and loving hands,” they added.


Learn more about studying with TAFE Queensland here

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