Tylan Bailey is a man who never gave up on his dreams. He worked as a school janitor for 23 years, but he always wanted to be a teacher. He enrolled in college at the age of 39 and graduated with honors at 43. Now, he is ready to start his career as a physical education teacher and inspire the next generation of students.
Bailey’s journey was not easy. He had to balance his full-time job as the head custodian of Hightower Elementary School in DeKalb County, Georgia, with his studies and family responsibilities. He also faced financial challenges and had to take out loans to pay for his tuition. But he persevered and earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Georgia State University, with a minor in special education.
Bailey’s story is remarkable and inspiring. He is an example of how education can transform lives and open new opportunities. He is also a testament to the power of hard work, determination and passion. He said he followed the motto, “Meet your blessings halfway.” He explained, “Your blessings will come to you if you go for it. Sometimes we want blessings to come to us. Just meet them halfway and you’ll get there.”
Bailey’s achievements have been recognized and celebrated by his colleagues, students and community. He was invited to be the commencement speaker for the fifth-grade graduation at Hightower Elementary School, where he shared his wisdom and encouragement with the young graduates. He also received a surprise invitation from actors Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson to attend the premiere of their movie “Jungle Cruise” in California, along with roundtrip airfare, hotel rooms and park passes at Disneyland for him and his family. He also received an at-home Echelon bike and treadmill, as well as a $15,000 donation from Echelon for his new school, Briar Vista Elementary School in Atlanta.
Bailey’s story is not only inspiring, but also relevant and important. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for janitors and building cleaners was $28,950 in 2020, while the median annual wage for elementary school teachers was $60,660. Bailey’s decision to pursue higher education and change careers will likely improve his economic situation and quality of life. Moreover, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 2% of public school teachers in 2017-18 were Black males, while 15% of public school students were Black. Bailey’s presence as a Black male teacher will help diversify the teaching workforce and provide positive role models for students of color.
Bailey’s story is one that deserves to be told and celebrated. He is a man who followed his dreams despite the challenges and obstacles he faced. He is a man who achieved his goals through hard work and dedication. He is a man who will make a difference in the lives of many children as a teacher. He is a man who met his blessings halfway.