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Joanna Palmer - Bachelor of Education - 2008

Joanna Palmer

Educator and entrepreneur 

Bachelor of Education (Primary) graduate Joanna Palmer knows first-hand the pressure teachers and schools are under to cover vast amounts of curriculum and the impact this can have on children and their families when a child falls behind in class.

Realising that individual tutoring, even for only an hour a week, can make a dramatic difference to a child’s learning and success later in life, Joanna established her own tutoring business in south west NSW.  Today The Learning Tree employs a number of tutors (pictured with Joanna) to meet the strong demand for this service in towns like Wagga Wagga, Holbrook and Finley.

Here Joanna shares why she chose to study at CSU and what keeps her motivated.

My childhood was... bliss!  Growing up south of Jindabyne we skied every weekend in winter and spent summers packing up the car and camping in the surrounding national parks and the south coast of NSW.

I chose CSU... because I wanted to get back to my rural roots after 6 years at boarding school and a year at the University of Technology in Sydney.

My best experience at CSU... was participating in the University Exchange Program in my third year. I spent six months at the University of Kentucky and it was one of the most fabulous life experiences so far.

My worst experience at CSU... was 45 degree days spent living in Doman (a student residence  on CSU’s Wagga Wagga Campus) with no air conditioning. 

At university I was inspired by... my friends. I was constantly surprised with the variety of people who studied at a rural university. The friends I made at CSU are still some of my closest and dearest friends.

Today I’m motivated by... wanting to do something outside the box. I want to use the skills and experience that I gained in completing an education degree without being tied to the classroom environment.

In my profession it is important to... be aware of what children bring with them to school. Not physically in their school bag but in their heads and on their shoulders. It never ceases to amaze me what some kids go through at home and that the six hours they have at school is for some kids the only part of the day they feel safe.

I’m most proud... of the gorgeous little girl my husband and I have managed to produce.

My greatest achievement is... spending over a month travelling around Britain, sleeping in our car and only having one fight with my husband.

In the future I’d like to... be operating my business in small rural towns in the region. I want to provide a service to families who in the past would have had to travel to a bigger centre for tutoring or did not have access at all.

The topic I Tweet about most is... the New York City based Charity:Water. This is a charity that is close to my heart that raises much need funds for clean water projects in the third world.

The single-most important issue in the world is... the fact that girls do not have the same access to education as boys.

The thing I wish I had done but never got around to... was to go and teach in a remote community somewhere in Australia.

If I could do it all again... I wouldn’t change a thing, well maybe spent a bit less of my Youth Allowance at Romano’s (a bar in Wagga Wagga).