A Case of Mistaken Identity at Tafe

female tradie

If there is one thing that I want my blog to do, it would be to leave a legacy. I hope my daughters will be interested in reading about their mother’s experiences working in a non-traditional role. I’m sure when they are older there will be more opportunities for them to work in any field they wish and hopefully experience less judgement and hurdles if they choose to pursue a ‘man’s job’.

I can’t believe that I finished my apprenticeship 4 years ago. The time has flown. I remember being at Tafe thinking when will this end? And here I am four years later with two children, running a plumbing maintenance business with my dad and writing a blog.

Which brings me to my next reflective post. A memory from my time at Tafe that still brings a smile to my face and I can’t help but chuckle at its recollection. This is one moment I can’t forget to mention.

In my 3rd Stage of Tafe, I was fairly studious with the studies because I had been told that Stage 3 was more difficult than the previous stages because there was a lot of maths involved with the gas calculations.

I loved doing the gas calculations. But in order to do them I needed a gas standards book which I didn’t have. Pretty much all the boys in my class didn’t have the standards book and we were given some time to get the book. Of course we would only be told what we needed for each stage on the first Monday of our Tafe block. The first day of Tafe was always cruisey because the teacher would explain what would be covered in the classroom and in prac and until we could get books out of the library or have our standards, there was little that we could do.

I remember the next morning (which was a Tuesday), the Tafe teacher lead the class to a demountable classroom which was a fair distance from the teachers staff room. The teacher did the role call and explained to the class that he had to go sort out some paperwork back at the staff room and that we had to make a start on filling in our theory booklet.

When the teacher left, books were closed up, legs were crossed with feet (boots and all) on the desks and the chairs were backed into a rocking chair position. The class room became noisy with chatter with conversations about what went down on the weekend and how crap Tafe was.

I listened in on the conversations but kept doing the theory booklet work. I wasn’t interested in joining in on their casual display.

Some time passed and the teacher still hadn’t come into the classroom.  Suddenly my classmate next to me rocked his chair back into the normal position and opened his book to start work which caused a chain reaction for all the guys to follow.

He cried “Oh f— who is this (other expletive) who’s come to teach us?”

I looked up through the window to see who was coming to our classroom and couldn’t stop laughing at his reaction.


It was my dad.

Dad had gotten me my Gas Standards book and had been walking past the classrooms to find me and give it to me.

The whole class roared into laughter when I explained to my class mate that the bloke he had just gone off about was my dad.

His reply to me was ‘Oh f—- Bec, I’m sorry. I thought he was a Tafe teacher coming to check in on us.’

I told him the joke was on him and of course the rest of the class thought the whole thing was hilarious about the way he totally dissed my dad in front of me.

I laugh at this memory because it was one of the few times that reminded me how childish and ridiculously rude some of the apprentices were. And yet most of them were just young boys fresh from high school, not really wanting to be at Tafe either.

That day, I realised, we finally shared something in common.