No judgements as lawyer turns to primary teaching

Former lawyer Jessica DuBois is settling into her new career as a Kindergarten teacher. Kerrie O'Connor reports.

Image: Jess DuBois brought the gavel down on a desk-bound legal career and is all smiles after retraining as a teacher.

From the courtroom to the classroom, former lawyer Jessica DuBois makes a great case for returning to school.

After gaining a double degree in law and science at Macquarie University, Ms DuBois worked for several years on both sides of injury insurance litigation.

She loved her days in court and the problem-solving, but not the feeling of being stuck in an office and the grinding, endless hours leading up to trials.

“I like getting up and moving around,” Ms DuBois said.

“It wasn’t sustainable.”

Her natural “get up and go” would soon be needed for newborn twins and then two more babies, but it was COVID that turned her mind to teaching.

“I worked as a teacher’s aide at uni and liked it, but never thought of it as a career,” Ms DuBois said.

Looking for secure but family-friendly work during the pandemic, she worked as an aide in a preschool and as a Student Learning Support Officer (SLSO) at Mona Vale Public School.

“I loved it, and thought, ‘if I am going to do this, let’s do it properly,” she said.

With little ones still at home, she completed her Master of Education online and was delighted to learn she would graduate from SLSO to a permanent Kindergarten teacher at Mona Vale.

The 38-year-old started as a targeted graduate in January 2023.

“All the stars aligned,” she said.

“No day is ever the same.

“It is interesting, full of variety, you are always on your feet and get instant feedback.

“The law can be a negative environment; everyone is stressed.

“(In teaching) everyone was so encouraging, motivating and supportive.

“It’s a beautiful environment.

“All I wanted was to teach and have my own class.”

Two weeks in, Ms DuBois can confirm “kindy children love having fun”.

“It's been challenging of course, as it is all new for the children and myself, however, we have settled into a routine and got to know each other,” she said.

She’s enjoying “their quirky little personalities”.

“I have had so much support from my AP and the other kindy teachers.

“It's nice to have such a good team where we can laugh at the struggles together!”

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