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New Teacher Induction Makes a Difference

Fifty-one first-year teachers and 26 second-year teachers in five WELS districts are working with trained mentors to help them grow in their ministry effectiveness more quickly. The training program is called New Teacher Induction (NTI).

MLC Professor Jon Schaefer MLC ’02 (pictured) is the New Teacher Induction (NTI) coordinator. He works in cooperation with Commission on Lutheran Schools (CLS) to provide this post-graduation support.

A trained mentor communicates with the new teacher every week using classroom data to discuss and reflect on WELS teaching standards and instructional practice.

New Teacher Induction Offers Seminars and Online Training - Spring 2014

Beginning teacher seminars will be offered on January 16 and February 6.


Online training for instructional mentors:

  • Instructional Mentoring from Feb 3-28
  • Coaching and Observation Strategies from March 10-April 16

Course and material fees for WELS mentors are covered. If you are considering becoming an instructional mentor then application can be made using the NTI mentor application form.

"I am a firm believer in this NTI program,” says 2013 MLC graduate Colton Berger, grade 7-8 teacher at Salem-Greenfield MN. “Since the first NTI meeting, I have taken great strides as a teacher and a professional. With the help of my mentor, I’ve found ways to motivate my students and build great working relationships with each of them.”

Over 30 states require mentoring for their new teachers, but mentoring is only part of the NTI process. New teachers also attend seminars, either live or online, on timely topics, such as conducting parent/teacher conferences (October), getting through the winter blues (January and February), and end-of-the-school-year reflection and celebration (May).

Another leg of the program is year-long training and support for mentors, instilling techniques for effective observation, communication, and collaboration.

Finally, the program supports principals who have new teachers at their schools. “We offer training for them,” says Schaefer, “so they can support their new teacher in the dynamic ways a new teacher needs—ways that don’t always mirror the support needed by veteran peers.”

NTI makes a difference, fostering collaboration between veterans and newbies, and helping those new teachers acquire classroom strategies within a few months that, without a mentor, might have taken years.  

“I don’t know where I’d be as a teacher if I was not part of the NTI program,” says Berger, “but I do know I wouldn’t be as confident a first-year teacher as I am today."

Be the difference for a new teacher! Mentor candidates should have 3+ years of experience, an ability to work collaboratively, and a passion for ministry. If you are interested or you’d like to recommend someone, contact Professor Jon Schaefer ().

Read more articles in our Fall 2013 InFocus magazine.