Why One MLC Grad Started Her Master’s Program Right After Graduation

Tassia-Channel Wolf, assistant principal at Grace Lutheran School in St. George, Grenada, calls it a heart story.

It began when a student with special needs enrolled at Grace a few years ago. Tassia did a deep dive into instruction and assessments, and then put a team in place to create an IEP.

That well-designed IEP, combined with a motivated teacher, has resulted in remarkable growth for this student. “The teacher sees that it works and is excited to continue, often running to my classroom to share moments of growth,” Tassia says. “The student, having witnessed the teacher’s excitement and having recorded successes, also demonstrates eagerness to learn.”

It’s a success story—the kind that, multiplied, creates a thriving school, full of eager students, motivated teachers, and happy parents.

It’s the kind of success story that only becomes possible when someone like Tassia knows the research and the proper implementation. This is what she’s learned in her master’s degree program at Martin Luther College. And she learned it early in her teaching career, because she began the master’s program immediately after her graduation.

When Tassia graduated in 2018 with her elementary ed degree, she knew her education wasn’t over. She was assigned as a mentor teacher and assistant principal at Grace and quickly realized “there was still much to be learned, especially as the assistant principal, supporting and advocating for both teacher and student. If teachers and students were to reach their full potential in the classroom, I had to increase my knowledge base.”

So she began looking for a master’s degree, knowing that a quick start would allow her to easily make connections to her undergraduate learnings. “I wanted to maintain the momentum and thirst I had for learning,” she said.

She didn’t look far. “MLC was an easy decision. I was already familiar with some professors—their professionalism and their student-first approach.”

She also knew what emphasis would be best. The Instruction emphasis includes seven short mentoring courses as electives—a perfect fit as she began teaching teachers how to teach.

A bonus was MLC’s early enrollment rebate offer. Graduates who enroll in an MLC master’s program within two years of their graduation receive 10% off each course. That’s over $1,000 in savings.

Tassia’s early start translated into direct application on the job from day one.

“Starting right after my undergraduate degree,” she said, “helped my team and me at Grace outline plans, set goals, and effect change where best practices in education are concerned.”

She’s almost finished with the program now, but she has enjoyed it every step of the way. She found it both rigorous and relevant.

“MLC’s program pushes and prepares you to tackle complex challenges in the classroom brought on by the constant changes in society and the evident need for God’s Word in the classroom.”

The beauty of the program, she says, is that she grows with her teachers and their students. “As I learn, I can immediately share the new knowledge and watch its positive changes in our school. I can support teachers and their varied questions, and help advise on plans to meet their students’ needs.”

Two classes she found especially beneficial were High-Impact Instruction and Assessment of Learning and Instruction. “These two courses,” she said, “consider a wide frame of teaching—curriculum, planning, instruction, assessment, mindsets—and bring them together to create long-term understandings of how each one depends on the others to foster both teacher and student success.”

Here’s an example of the direct application she’s so excited about: As a mentor, she helps teachers unpack the teaching standards so they can determine exactly where the learning gaps are with select students. During follow-up with one first-year teacher, she asked the intuitive question: Has this process we’ve done together made your teaching life easier or harder?

“So much easier,” the teacher said. “I know exactly what I need to do. It also helps me communicate with the parent exactly where we’re at and where we are headed.”

Tassia couldn’t be more excited. She is helping teachers teach better, and what a rewarding journey it is!

Wanting others to share this success, she encourages teachers to enroll in MLC’s master’s program—even right after graduation. “MLC’s undergraduate program provides a strong foundation. However, at that level a teacher is not done learning. I was impressed with how much I still had to learn.”

Tassia-Channel Wolf has moved from primarily a teacher mentor to a classroom teacher herself. She teaches grade 5-6 math and social studies, preparing students for the high-stakes sixth-grade exam that determines which secondary school each student attends.

For her final project, she is researching teach-abroad experiences in the Caribbean. Not only can she mentor new teachers doing a teach-abroad year in the Caribbean, but she is also searching for ways to better prepare them for teaching in a mission field.

Tassia is married to Daniel Lonnie Wolf, an electrical engineer from Appleton, Wisconsin. They’re busy raising a ginger domestic shorthair cat. She enjoys reading, writing, and hiking. And she’s picked up a new hobby recently, one she chose because it’s so different from her call as a teacher: event management, planning, and design.

Written by Laurie Gauger-Hested