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Education inspires Emma

Born and raised on a cotton farm, TAFE Queensland Senior College teacher Emma Bond had a passion for both sides of education.

Growing up, she used her holidays from high school to study fashion, travelling over six hours each way to attend a fashion certificate program in Sydney.

"I've always been curious and loved learning. During my senior studies I completed the maximum number of subjects and in the evenings, I studied visual arts."

"I found that completing vocational programs alongside my high school studies inspired me for a life of learning and working hard after school," said Emma.

She began her career teaching fashion in 2013 and was promptly awarded a National Wool 4 School Teacher Award in 2015. Since then, she has furthered her training and experience in the fashion and vocational education industries. In 2019, Emma joined TAFE Queensland's Senior College as a Vocational Teacher to share her passion for education with her students and inspire them for life after high school.

"I have taught math and visual arts at Senior College for over two years — helping students plan, prepare and find their place in the world."

Based at the Alexandra Hills campus, TAFE Queensland's Senior College offers high school students a practical and independent alternative to the traditional school system. This allows students a way to complete their Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) and work towards gaining an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR).

It's also perfect for students who know what career they want to pursue because the teachers tailor individual study programs towards their needs and career goals, helping them plan for their future after high school.

"I love working with Senior College students and igniting their passion for learning," continued Emma.

“We teach a diverse group of students, and the way we teach here means they get mentoring and encouragement in a flexible environment, where they can complete vocational programs alongside their QCE to become the amazing individuals they’re supposed to be, who enjoy learning and working towards their future."

Emma's biggest reward as a Senior College teacher is meeting a student at the beginning of their first year at the college and then celebrating all their achievements with them at graduation after their second year.

"Every senior college student's journey is different, and our job as teachers is to mentor, facilitate, educate and advocate for their success. Seeing them cross that graduation stage with huge confidence and excitement for the future is awesome.”

The key to her students' development is linking the subjects she teaches to the real world using her professional experience to make assignments relevant, giving students an insight into the types of tasks they'd do on the job.

"I use practical-based exploration techniques to teach my visual arts classes, and I encourage my students to experiment with a range of different media, different mediums and techniques for every assignment."

The more hands on students get, the more they learn, the more they explore, and the more their passion and confidence grow."

"This is how I approached my learning at an early age, and now seeing it from a teacher's perspective is amazing — I'm learning so much from them."

In 2020, Emma was one of seven Australian designers selected to participate in QUT's Fashion Accelerator program, launching her fashion label Madi & Pip which produces locally made, sustainable womenswear designed to be inclusive to a range of abilities; without compromising a fabulous aesthetic.

Emma utilises Australian cotton in her designs and advocates for our local industry. She has been selected as a 2022 Australian Future Cotton Leader and invited to partake in the Future Cotton Leaders Program, an initiative of Cotton Australia in partnership with the Cotton Research Development Corporation.

"Education is powerful, and the arts teach problem solving, risk taking, curiosity, collaboration and empathy. Senior College gives students a flexible environment with caring teachers," concluded Emma.