From a Custodian to Teacher: Turning Dream into Reality

By Author: Jessica Chen
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It is never too late to pursue your dream. (Image: Lombe Kapaya via Pexels)

What do you plan to do when you are 40?

For many people, it may be to travel the world, buy a house, or prepare for early retirement.

But for Tylan Bailey, he wanted to become a teacher.

For the past 23 years, Bailey had worked as a custodian at Hightower Elementary School in DeKalb County, GA. While some people might consider his work a “lowly” profession, he enjoyed every minute of it. He was always welcomed by the kids and even the principal praised him for his diligence.

However, he said that he had always dreamed of becoming a teacher, with a specific passion for physical education. 

Even in his 40s, he did not forget about his dream, and worked diligently towards his goal. Since 2017, he would arrive at school around 5:30am, and leave late in the afternoon. After that, he would squeeze in classes at Georgia State University or take evening classes.

Motivated by his work in the elementary school, he said: “Just walking through these halls every day, you’re surrounded by education. Each corner of this building, education. So why not be a part of that.”

This May, Bailey graduated from Georgia State University with a degree in teaching. He plans on becoming a phys-ed teacher and is preparing for interviews.

A lot of us tend to have the belief that  “it’s too late,” and we relegate our dreams to “someday,” leaving us with the regret of “what if” when we get old. Somehow we can always find an excuse or a “personal challenge” to dissuade ourselves from pursuing our aspirations when we are young. Even if we hope and imagine the dream come true on our cozy couch, at the end of the day we leave them as wishful thinking. 

Instead of playing the “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve” game and waiting for that fateful “someday…” Why not be like Bailey and start to paint your dream into reality today? Who knows, late bloomers may sprout the biggest and brightest petals.

So, what is your dream?