Staff Spotlight

Scroll down to learn a little more about the wonderful Learning Coaches at Back to Basics Tuition

Kate    Rachel    Sharni    Hilda    Bernadette    Michelle



I’m Kate and along with being the owner of Back to Basics Tuition I am also a mother, wife, teacher, daughter, sister, friend and a passionate Autism advocate (in no particular order).

I began my teaching career in New Zealand and have been involved in education for 16 years and counting. Although I am a kiwi-girl through-and-through, my husband and I moved to Australia on Christmas Day of 2005 and this is the birth place of our precious daughter, Indi. We see ourselves as fortunate to be able to belong to two great nations.

Education and learning are a part of my make-up. It is something that I am always seeking out. Along with running and working in BtBT and being an education advisor, I am also working on my Masters of Leadership and Management in Education. Mental Health and Behaviour Development are two areas of passion for me and I always look to support this in my personal and professional worlds. I believe we need to build our children from the inside, out; help them to believe in and understand themselves, and you will see them achieve wonderful things.

“If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others.”

I’m a fanatical All Blacks and Canterbury Crusaders supporter, a coffee drinker (mocha please), a Dr Who and Dr Phil fan (who doesn’t love the Dr’s?!), and I still like to believe in magic (all be it in a different form to my daughter).


Rachel is one of our long serving Learning Coaches. She started with Back to Basics Tuition in October, 2011. Rachel works predominantly with our students in the area of Literacy from prep through to adult.

“Guiding children through their learning journey is more than just a job; it’s a passion.”

“I have always loved working alongside children. They continually demonstrate strength, adaptability, open-mindedness and most importantly, resilience. It’s awe-inspiring and heart-warming. My love for working with children inspired me to study a dual degree in ‘Education – Primary’ and ‘Human Services – Child & Family Studies’ at Griffith University.

After I graduated I was drawn to Back to Basics Tuition. I believe the close working relationship that is provided here helps to establish and maintain a strong connection between learning coach and child.  I continue to experience first-hand the effectiveness of strong working relationships and how they aid in the development of a child’s emotional state, which subsequently has positive impacts on their academic work. When a child begins to independently apply the correct strategies to their work, and when they demonstrate their understanding and comprehension of the task at hand, it is truly rewarding. Rewarding to the child, rewarding to the child’s family, and rewarding to us as learning coaches. It is gratifying as the child begins to realise that they are very capable of fulfilling the learning requirements expected of them, which results in the child gaining more confidence in themselves, and ultimately their attitude towards school, schoolwork and tuition dramatically improves. Witnessing the child’s growth and resilience to their own self doubt is what makes tuition truly rewarding for me as a learning coach, and it is uplifting to see a child’s outlook towards learning change from solemn to excitement.

I am a strong believer in being a ‘lifelong learner’, as learning can occur in a variety of forms at any given time in our lives, and can therefore have a tremendous impact in our lives. I believe in instilling a sense of accomplishment and empowerment with learning, as it helps children and adults alike, adopt a positive outlook towards their own learning journeys. Once we start down a positive learning pathway, we are opened up to an abundance of opportunities and different avenues that we can explore. I speak from experience, as I am currently employed in the Oil & Gas Industry as well, implementing my ‘teacher’ skills into the corporate world. It’s elaborately different from working at Back to Basics, but the skill set that I have acquired along the way is still consistently relied upon and highly respected.

I am looking forward to continuing to work alongside the children at Back to Basic Tuition, as I believe we have a lot to learn from each other, and that’s a pretty exciting concept.”

sharni image.pngSharni

I have been a part of the Back to Basics Tuition family since the beginning of 2011, starting as a student. I began my journey back in grade 10 working my way through the individualised foundation mathematics program and then working one on one focusing on Maths B in Grades 11 and 12. After graduating high school I became part of the Learning Coach team. I mostly work with the older students focusing on Maths.

‘Success is no accident…’

I am currently completing a Bachelor of Science, with a dual major in Wildlife Biology & Microbiology at Griffith University. After this degree I would like to further my education by studying a Bachelor in Dental Science.

Having the ‘student’ experience provides me with a different outlook into your child’s world while they are here and learning, letting me gain a better understanding of their abilities and emotion. I am in constant awe of the students and am always incredibly proud seeing them gain the skills and knowledge required to do well not only in school but also in life. I love my work at Back to Basics Tuition as I get to make an impact on learners’ lives, helping them navigate their way through challenging work and having success on the other side. Not only is my work as a learning coach rewarding but I am always learning something new.


I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, ever since I was 6ish. I loved going to school. I went to a lot of schools in Primary and I can’t think of a single teacher who didn’t try their best to help me get through the ‘new school’ hurdles or the new subjects I’d come in half way through.

I was the first in my family to graduate high school. I didn’t get the OP I wanted in order to go to Uni to become a teacher so I got a job in retail instead. I worked in retail for 7 years until I was told about the Cert 3 in Teaching Assistance. This was great for me; I could still work whilst studying for it. I gained placement in a local school and I loved it. I worked with refugee children and I fell in love with seeing them progress from having zero English to being so confident they could move into mainstream school. I finished my placement and started volunteering on my days off from my retail job. Soon I was getting 2 days paid work and loving it. My retail job finished and I was given 5 days paid work straight away. I was over the moon. To do my placement and get paid work in the same school felt awesome. I’d been working in the school just over 3 years when my friend, (who also worked in the school), asked if I was interested in coming in and interviewing for a Learning Coach position. I thought about it and contacted Kate. I went for an interview and stuck around to check it out. I had that same proud feeling after just spending a couple hours with these kids as I had working at school. I’m working these 2 jobs now, but I just love working with children and helping them achieve the best they can.

I’m still going to go to Uni and become a primary school teacher. That has, and always will be my dream. Until then, I’ll stick with these awesome kids and enjoy helping and watching them grow.  

 Bernadette    16179688_1733340320311164_1833960445239241902_o

I’ve worked with children since I was a teenager myself and have always found great enjoyment and satisfaction in doing it. I was a volunteer for helping sick children in hospital, and a facilitator of after school learning activities before I came to Back to Basics Tuition while I was at university, and I feel like here I can make the most impact.

To be able to give a student the support that they need and foster an environment that lets them feel like they can ask questions, and say they don’t know things, and feel comfortable with not knowing something because they’re learning about it, is first and foremost the best thing we can do to help them.

Every child has their own strategies and I find it very enjoyable to be able to learn about their own unique ways of doing things and sharing with them my own. There are, after all, many more ways to get to four other than 2 + 2.



And then we have a few other special helpers in our Learning Studio….

This is Indi

39916173_10216924461974385_5121517779131826176_nI’m Indi and I’ve been part of the BtBT team since I was born! I help by making things for the students like maths sheets and activity books. I help by shopping for the prize box. Sometimes I help by reading with students if they are early or showing Mum which SSP Sound Cloud to use, and I always keep Mum company in Learning Studio on the weekends when she is working.

I love YouTube and Minecraft. I love pancakes and milkshakes. I love making things, painting and drawing, and I love playing with animals.

I have Asperger’s and this means my brain works differently to others. It’s a good thing; because of me my Mum can teach other students and parents about Autism and what strategies can make it easier for them at their home and school. 

I believe that learning is hard sometimes but if you try hard you can do it!

This is Lucy.


Lucy is out therapy cat. Lucy is not so much into pats but likes to be near and to watch and listen to our students. Students have to be able to be in control of their bodies and voices for Lucy to want to stay nearby. She is a big fan of sleeping on top of the hot water cylinder and will claw at the Learning Studio door to ask (tell) us to let her in.

This is Ruby.


Ruby loves EVERYONE. Ruby is keen to sniff you legs and will wag her tail for a pat. She is VERY well behaved and only comes into the studio if everyone there at the time is comfortable with her. She hangs out under Kate’s desk, keeping her company during the day and waiting for the first Learning Coach to turn up (she hopes they bring snacks). Ruby follows her Mum and Dad’s commands and our students love her. If the students (and parents) choose to, they are allowed to meet Ruby. However if they are not comfortable with this then they do not have to. We’ve had students in the past who were terrified of dogs but over time asked to meet Ruby, and even though they only saw her once or twice a week through the window, they grew to like her too…some even over coming their fears and looked forward to giving her a weekly pat!

When we have had students with animal allergies, Ruby and Lucy are not allowed into the Learning Studio. And of course, it is vacuumed and cleaned every day – that’s just good hygiene practice!

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