Georgia Man Worked 23 Years As a School Janitor; Now He’s Earned a Degree to Become a Teacher

After 23 years of working as a school janitor, Tylan Bailey earned his bachelor’s degree to become a teacher. This fall, he aims to start his career as a physical education teacher.

Despite working for over two decades in one area, Bailey proves that it’s never too late to change careers and pursue your passion.

“Returned to college at 40 years old,” Bailey shared on Twitter. “Graduated at 43 years old with a B.S.E in Health and Physical Education, minor in Special Education with Honors “Cum Laude”.

From School Janitor to Teacher

Bailey has spent the majority of his career working as a janitor at Hightower Elementary School in DeKalb Country, Georgia. He’s been the head janitor for over two decades, ensuring the school was in good condition and functioning properly since 1998.

But it was time for a change. Bailey’s lifelong dream was to earn a degree and become a teacher. In 2017, he enrolled in Georgia State University’s degree program. Bailey took classes at the College of Education & Human Development so that he could pursue the curriculum for teachers. After four years of balancing janitorial work and academic studies, Bailey achieved his goal. This month, he graduated from Georgia State University and is interviewing for roles as a physical education teacher.

“I always wanted to be a college graduate,” Bailey shared with WSBTV. “I always wanted to be a teacher. So having everything sink in at that moment was the best feeling I could ever have.”

Janitor Uses Degree to Inspire Others As a Teacher

Bailey’s work ethic has not gone unnoticed by school officials. Sheila Price, principal at Hightower Elementary, shared her appreciation for all the contributions that Bailey has made to the school.

“He’s mentored our kids and he’s been a positive role model for our students,” Price shares during an interview with WSBTV. “He’s going to be an awesome teacher. ”

Bailey shared that he loves being around the kids because they are always happy. Before he leaves Hightower Elementary School, he will have a chance to give the students some encouraging words. Principal Price has asked Bailey to serve as the 5th-grade graduation commencement speaker.