Image Credit: Heidi Baumgartner

North Pacific Union Cohorts Offer New Teachers Support

There’s a certain nervousness when new teachers enter a classroom and start applying their learned skills and techniques.

North Pacific Union is in its third year of offering a layer of support for new graduates, second-year teachers and second-career teachers.

“This is giving teachers opportunities to collaborate with their peers across the union and discuss topics that are relevant as they enter their careers,” said Carisa Carr, NPUC early childhood director and new teacher coach. “Teaching goes hand in hand with learning. We are all growing together. New teachers need community support, prayer and grace as they grow as an educator.”

Teachers in the coaching program typically meet once in person for a time of professional development training. Follow-up sessions are held on Zoom and provide more interaction and collaboration.

Beyond networking and professional development, new teachers also need local community support.

"As education leaders, we would like to call upon our local school communities and school boards to embrace these young professionals with support and encouragement as they begin their ministry of sharing the gospel of Jesus and academically investing in the growth of our children," said Keith Hallam, NPUC vice president for education.

Currently, there are nine first-year teachers, 16 second-year teachers and nine second-career teachers involved in three active cohorts.

This year’s professional development topic covered building a positive classroom culture with training from Lynal Ingham, Northern California Conference associate director for elementary education. The cohorts then spent a second day visiting classrooms to observe other teachers.

The educators say they love the collaboration that happens when they are in person. They like the space to share and to observe other teachers and gain information. They have a new perspective of what they’ve learned in the classroom.

“I love seeing the growth of teachers,” Carr said. “When they come in the first year, they are worried about coming to a teacher professional development. The second year, they come with confidence and growth. That feeds into the first-year group in a positive way. They see a group of people who are a year ahead of them and know that is where they will be next year.”

Adventist education is always in need of quality teachers to help train the next generation. If you are looking to pursue a career in education, there are NextGen Scholarships available through Walla Walla University along with other opportunities.

As you pursue a teaching career, networks are in place to support you.

“The impact and joy from teaching can change your life along with your students’ lives,” Carr said.

Featured in: November/December 2023