New Faculty Dive Into Masters Experience During Weeklong Institute

Being new to a school is a challenging experience, even for teachers. That’s why, every summer, before the school year begins, incoming Masters faculty participate in the New Faculty Institute (NFI), a five-day intensive that aims to welcome them into and get to know all aspects of the community.

This year, NFI took place from Monday, August 24, through Thursday, August 28. The six goals of the program are simple yet powerful: create a sense of belonging and mutual support, create a common language to talk about teaching and learning, build a faculty that is familiar with current key research in cognitive psychology about learning, nurture an adult culture of learning, support teachers in knowing who they are as teachers, and facilitating opportunities for teachers to explore what makes learning more meaningful and lasting.

Director of Learning Initiatives Jason Hult, who co-leads the program with upper school math teacher Marianne Van Brummelen, explained that “The goal of NFI is to empower our newest faculty members to join our community at full force.” Van Brummelen added that the program balances sessions that are mission-oriented and those that cover the logistical “nuts and bolts” of teaching at Masters. 

This year, sessions covered topics ranging from Harkess and lesson studies to anti-racism and identity, equity and inclusion. Hult noted that NFI included three new sessions that focused on anti-racism and equity and inclusion — a step taken from the School’s anti-racism and anti-bias action plan. 

Brittany Farrar, who joined Masters this year as a middle school Latin and upper school classical studies teacher, said that until participating in NFI, “I have never had the opportunity to put my work in front of other teachers from other subject areas.” The experience, she noted, “led me to new questions and takeaways from my lesson I hadn’t thought about on my own. I left that activity feeling: ‘This. This is why I needed to come to Masters.’” 

Although there are many highlights throughout the week, Hult and Van Brummelen agreed that meeting their new colleagues is the best part. “It is just exciting to meet my terrific new colleagues,” Hult said. “This is a great group.”
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