Educator sets gold standard
Assisting women with opportunities in the workplace and community has been a lifelong passion for Busselton resident Barbara Taylor.
Barbara was born in Sydney but raised in Manchester and said developing a career was something very important to her.
After leaving high school, Barbara originally wanted to be a nurse, but after starting her first job at a nursing home, she decided it wasn’t for her.
“At first, I thought I wanted to do, it was what girls of my era did; you did teaching, nursing or clerical work,” she said.
“There weren’t many options for women, so once I closed the nursing option myself, eventually I became a teacher and it seemed to fit in very nicely with my lifestyle.”
After spending three years doing her training as a primary school teacher in Manchester, in 1974 Barbara began working as a high school geography and science teacher.
“I taught for about eight years in Oxford at a girls’ boarding school and at that time I upgraded my diploma to a bachelor degree, so when I came to Australia I was one of the few primary school teachers with a Bachelor of Education,” she said.
In December 1982, Barbara returned to Australia once again, arriving in Sydney before driving across the country to Perth.
“It was wonderful trip. Being a geography teacher, it was a geography field trip,” she said.
“We came to WA because we thought the resources boom was about to happen, but it ended up taking another 10 years.”
Barbara first settled in Melville, teaching at the Penrhos College Junior School, staying there for 11 years.
In 1994, Barbara made a career change and began a Masters of Science Education at Curtin University and was then offered a job managing a leadership development program for women, which she did for 11 years.
“I really wanted to be independent and never be stranded without a career,” she said.
“Teaching seemed to satisfy me for the stage of my life I was at — when I had small children, teaching seemed to satisfy me and once I became able to choose a job that suited me and my personality, that job was great because I was my own person in that job.”
In 2010, Barbara moved to Port Hedland and began working at an indigenous training college providing literacy and numeracy development, which she did for 18 months, before relocating to Busselton in 2011.
Barbara had begun holidaying in Busselton in 1983, but said she never thought she would end up settling here.
“I never ever thought I would live here — it was a holiday destination,” she said.
Since moving to Busselton, Barbara has taught at Yallingup Steiner School, worked as the secretary of the Naturaliste U3A and played in the Ladybugs ukulele group.
“It takes quite a while to become involved in community activities and as you get older, people can sometimes feel isolated, so getting involved in community groups is important,” she said.
“It’s important for women to get involved and be good role models for the next generation.”
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