Psychology Teacher and House Coordinator
B (Psychological Science), M Teach (Secondary)
Rachel Fraser, Mentone Grammar’s Psychology and Health and Human Development Teacher, found her calling as a teacher on the stunning beaches of Sri Lanka. Now six years later, she has embarked on a career journey that is both diverse and fulfilling. Throughout her professional path, Rachel has embraced a wide range of experiences at Mentone Grammar that have contributed to her personal and professional growth.
Growing up in Park Orchards, Rachel spent her childhood chasing her two older sisters and enjoying camping trips with family and friends. She developed a love for the beach and spent her summers there, which eventually led to her passion for surf life saving and water safety.
During her high school years, Rachel excelled in psychology and participated in various House activities, such as athletics and swimming. In Year 12, Rachel’s leadership skills blossomed as she took on the responsibility of being the House Captain, “I really value the House system, so I loved leading my peers and getting involved in all the events,” she reflected. As Rachel considered her options for university, she recognised her passion for psychology and her aspiration to educate others. This led her to choose a Bachelor’s degree in Psychological Science as the ideal path to merge these interests.
After completing her undergraduate studies, Rachel decided to take a gap year to carefully consider her career options. “I needed to determine whether I wanted to pursue a career as a psychologist or follow my deep-rooted passion for teaching,” she said. During this period, Rachel devoting a significant amount of her time to volunteering with Life Saving Victoria. Rachel’s volunteer work involved extensive training in life-saving techniques and participating in a program in Sri Lanka to raise awareness about water safety and decrease drowning incidents. Reflecting on her experience, she shared, “We spent six months in Australia developing a comprehensive program and then travelled to Sri Lanka for an intensive three-week period. During our time there, we provided training to the Police, Navy, and Army on the best practices for water safety. It was challenging at times, especially when working with older men who didn’t speak English, but we managed with the help of translators.”
Rachel was deeply moved by the warm welcome and attentiveness of the Sri Lankan people. “Everyone was so welcoming and eager to learn, their genuine openness left a lasting impact on me.” This experience solidified her passion for teaching and inspired her to pursue a Master of Teaching degree.
Rachel eagerly embraced the opportunity to join Mentone Grammar when applying for positions in 2021. She was drawn to the school’s distinctive “together-apart-together” model and its emphasis on parallel learning. Reflecting on this, Rachel remarked, “My high school had the same teaching model, and I see it as a ‘best of both worlds’ approach. I think it recognises that boys and girls can develop at different rates physically, emotionally, and psychologically, which influences their learning styles.” Rachel also added with a laugh, “Mentone Grammar’s proximity to the sea was an added bonus!”
A career highlight was the chance to participate in the USA STEM Tour. Rachel accompanied staff and students from Years 9-12 on a whirlwind tour, including a week of space camp in Huntsville, visits to San Francisco, Washington, and Orlando. “I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the students and staff, it was such an incredible opportunity. Some of the highlights included visiting Universal Studios and witnessing an ice-hockey game, my dad was very jealous!”
In 2023, Rachel also became an inaugural Johnston House Coordinator. Rachel is devoted to building a strong House system and fostering the wellbeing of her students. “The House system has such a positive impact on students’ lives. I’m passionate about creating a supportive and uplifting environment for my students, so it’s been wonderful building this House from scratch… I now live and breathe the colour orange!” she laughs.
When not working, Rachel continues to contribute to her community by assisting with Nippers during the summer, sharing her life-saving skills with her nieces and nephews.
Rachel’s career story is marked by her passion for psychology, teaching, and promoting water safety. Through her dedication to her students and her commitment to their personal growth and wellbeing, Rachel has made a significant impact on the lives of those she teaches.
Rachel believes that if she could impart some valuable advice to her students, it would be: “Pursue your passions. You don’t have to have all the answers, just follow what you love. Through this, you will discover your dream job. I pursued psychology and teaching, and now I have found the ideal blend that brings me joy.”
Written by Steph Kinnear