02/11/2021 - 08:00

Helping teachers to act as leaders

02/11/2021 - 08:00

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Jane Mulder’s decision to leave behind primary school teaching was not a case of burnout or job dissatisfaction.

Helping teachers to act as leaders
Jane Mulder became state manager of Teach for Australia in July. Photo: David Henry

Jane Mulder’s decision to leave behind primary school teaching was not a case of burnout or job dissatisfaction.

“I fundamentally believe that all teachers are leaders in their classrooms and hence I was incredibly happy in that space,” she told Business News.

“Increasingly, I was finding that the pathways to broader leadership in the system, and those being modelled to me, were ones that led to being a deputy principal or principal roles.

“These roles of course have their place, however, [they] are becoming more detached, in some instances, from the children themselves and I knew that this was not for me.”

That goes some way towards explaining Ms Mulder’s decision to join Teach for Australia, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to resolve the economic and geographic inequities across Australia’s education system.

This is done in part through its flagship leadership development program, in which associates are recruited and coached over a two-year period as they earn their Master of Teaching in secondary learning.

Ms Mulder joined the group as a team manager in 2018 before winning the job of state manager in July.

Her promotion comes at a fortuitous time for the organisation in Western Australia, which has deep connections to the business community through its partnerships with Wesfarmers, established in 2017, and Woodside Petroleum, signed in 2019.

Asked where Teach for Australia will increase its footprint in WA, Ms Mulder said she hoped to recruit more than 55 teaching associates alongside more teaching and leadership advisers.

“The reality is here and now, and we’ve got a lot of schools that are interested in partnering and re-partnering with TFA and supporting our associate teachers,” she said.

“Of course, very much a part of this is we’ve got to be able to support and coach these new educators and growing the WA team is part of this.

“There is something quite crucial about getting out to these regions we serve, getting in amongst a community, meeting the principal and the staff, spending time in the school [and] meeting all the people involved with a school.

“It’s about forming authentic relationships and building on that, as we expand and grow.”

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