In 2006 Tabitha Mojilip started teaching as the newest member of the Mathematics faculty at Redbank Plains State High School. Thirteen years later she is the longest-serving member of the faculty, having been a leader in change at the school and in education. In all her actions, a focus on her students has informed everything. Tabitha has led curriculum implementation, resource development and enhanced learning for students from diverse backgrounds and facing a range of challenges. As subject coordinator for different Maths subjects across secondary year levels she has created units of work and assessment in line with curriculum and syllabus.
Tabitha uses data taken from pre-assessment in preparation for teaching a new unit. This is done to optimise engagement, and to plan for and differentiate her teaching to meet the specific learning needs of her students across their full range of abilities. As a senior teacher she also leads her peers in evaluating teaching and learning programs and following the same approach. Head of Mathematics Department Kamlesh Kumar mentions Tabitha always challenges her students to do their best. “Tabitha is soft-spoken, caring, very approachable and a helpful teacher whilst being firm and striving to establish a culture of high expectation in her students. This helps her build trusting and productive learning relationships with her students,” Kamlesh says. Tabitha has been a member of the school’s Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL) team since it started in 2012, working with staff from different departments. The team developed a school behaviour matrix that influenced student behaviour across the school. Her work with PBL had an impact on her own classrooms too, seeing an uptick in positive learning and a reduction in problem behaviours. She currently facilitates the team planning lessons about the school’s behavioural expectations for students (REAL lessons). Since 2013, this has involved organising team overviews and planning rosters for these lessons and sending out weekly resources and reminders. Tabitha has also been a member of the school’s Mathematics B Panel since 2009, participating in moderation and verification. She was a marker for the Mathematics Senior External Assessment Trial in 2017. She has passed all six Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) accreditation courses and attended QCAA workshops on the new Senior Assessment and Tertiary Entrance (SATE) syllabus. All of this work has been aimed at benefiting students, helping her fellow teachers with understanding and implementing the Australian Curriculum and SATE syllabuses with fidelity. She has also supported NAPLAN preparation by teaching students and teachers how to apply problem-solving strategies and deconstruct NAPLAN questions. Relationships are key to her work with colleagues, parents and students. She communicates regularly via technology or in person with parents. She was previously involved in the After-School Homework Centre and last year supervised the Tongan Dance Group for Harmony Day. Tabitha, with her vast experience and knowledge, has supported colleagues and mentored beginning teachers. As Acting Head of Department, she has been very effective and is noted for her generosity, working countless hours before, during and after school with peers. “Tabitha is an asset for this school and State Schooling system as a whole,” Kamlesh says. Congratulations Tabitha on your nomination.