Think of it as a crash course in all things Masters.
During the week of August 24, teachers who joined the Masters community at the start of the 2021-2022 academic year participated in a five-day intensive New Faculty Institute (NFI) in which they explored the School’s mission and educational philosophy, got to know school leaders and the campus, and bonded as a cohort.
NFI, now in its eighth year, is led by Director of Learning Initiatives Jason Hult and Chair of the Math Department Marianne Van Brummelen. Throughout the week, new faculty
engaged in workshops about assessment, implicit bias, social-emotional learning, educational technology, teaching the School’s mission, and anti-racist classroom practices. They also heard from Head of School Laura Danforth and current students.
The combination of high-level conversations and nuts and bolts was an important and useful way to join and get to know the School, explained Pascal Maharjan, upper school mathematics and physics teacher. “We were not only onboarded to all the logistical contexts and frameworks of working at Masters, but we also got to learn about and grapple with the philosophical side of things, like the mission statement and the ethos of what makes this such a special community.”
It wasn’t all intensive study. Faculty faced off in a game of frisbee golf and had a pizza party, too. “I enjoyed all of the opportunities that we had to share our authentic selves with one another,” said Jillian McCoy, head librarian and coordinator for digital information and learning. “I feel that I really know my new coworkers' personalities and aspects of who they are as people outside our work environment.”
Peter Mihalcik, an upper school Mandarin teacher, appreciated getting to know his colleagues and understanding the impact of their work. “During the academic year, life gets very busy, and it’s rare we have time to sit down and listen to colleagues about what sparks their passion for education,” he said. “It made me reflect on the effect teachers can have on a person’s development.”
For Maharjan, the most challenging part of the week was the time constraint: “Some of the group discussion exercises, especially surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion and social justice work, could have gone on for weeks with great added value and rich dialogue,” he shared. “In the interest of time, however, we had to put a finite time limit on this valuable interdisciplinary work.”
“NFI is a true point of pride for us at Masters. Jason Hult, Marianna Van Brummelen and others invite our new colleagues into the ongoing dialogue about what it means to deliver on our mission, and by intentionally welcoming the cohort of new teachers into this community in this way, we support their inclusion into this outstanding faculty,” said Sam Savage, Associate Head of School for Faculty and Academics.