Rebecca Sajtinac is the Head of English and HASS at Bullsbrook College, a K-12 school just outside of Perth, Western Australia. Rebecca is a trained Primary and Secondary teacher and has also worked for several universities. Prior to becoming a teacher, Rebecca studied a Bachelor of Commerce and worked in Marketing.
Rebecca has been teaching at Bullsbrook College for four years, and now finds herself taking on the role of School Mentor as part of Teach For Australia’s Leadership Development Program.
A School Mentor is an experienced teacher at a Teach For Australia partner school who provides day-to-day practical support to Associates placed at the school. They also assist with integration into life at the school and within the local community.
“I love being able to mentor others so that I can help them achieve their goals,” Rebecca says. “Teaching is a challenging and dynamic profession and working with the Associates and seeing them reach their goals it very rewarding.”
While each school must provide a mentor for their Associates, it is ultimately up to the school as to how they utilise these resources.
“Mentoring at our school is very hands-on but it also allows for the Associates to feel safe to try new things in the classroom in a supportive way,” Rebecca says. “We have a culture of open classrooms at Bullsbrook College – I visit the Associates daily while they teach and coach them during lessons. I support them with out-of-classroom tasks and we have a very collaborative team environment.”
Rebecca currently mentors two first-year Associates, Lana and Claudia, both of whom have adapted to the Bullsbrook way of life and have hit the ground running as new teachers.
“Claudia has worked very hard this semester and taken on the explicit teaching model that we use at the school with enthusiasm,” Rebecca added when asked about her Associates. “Lana has a lovely way with the students. She is calm in her approach and very organised.”
Rebecca believes that one of the key elements to having a successful mentoring relationship is to build trust with your Mentee.
“Allow the Associate to problem solve while supporting them. Check in regularly with the Associate and have open discussions where Associates feel safe to ask question or advice,” says Rebecca.
She is looking forward to continuing her mentoring role in the second half of the year: “I am very lucky to work at Bullsbrook College – it’s a school that supports teacher development and encourages teacher growth so that our students grow and thrive.”
“Both of my Associates are well on their way to becoming outstanding practitioners who put the needs of students first – I am very proud to be associated with Teach For Australia.”