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Meet Kate Hieb - A Beginning Teacher

last modified 2012-12-06 06:26 PM

Kate admits that she was not excited to be mentored as part of the synod’s New Teacher Induction program. She confesses, “I did not think I needed a mentor and took it as an insult that someone would expect me to have one.”

Meet Kate Hieb - A Beginning Teacher

Kate Hieb

You see, Kate had already been teaching two years, and her previous school provided its own mentor. “My first two years I was 'mentored' by people who were not trained, and I learned little shy of survival from them,” Kate adds.

She soon learned that the synod’s mentoring program was transformational. “Wow, did God ever work on my heart and teach me humility.” Her synod-trained mentor helped her reflect on her teaching using real student data. “The data helped me to meet the needs of my students more efficiently, and it opened my eyes to many things I couldn’t observe going on in my classroom while I was teaching.” Her mentor also supplied much needed encouragement. “The encouragement and affirmation helped me to find more joy in teaching, and the benefits of that joy carried me through the stressful parts of the year.”

The keys to a good mentoring experience, she says, are “openness, dedication, willingness to grow and learn, humility, TRUST, not being afraid to ask for help, professionalism, respect for time, and understanding. . . Educators must first and foremost be humble. It is only in humility that one can see their weaknesses and begin growing in ways to strengthen practice.”

Reflecting her growing maturity as a Lutheran teacher, Kate describes what she has valued most about the New Teacher Induction mentoring. “The mentoring process keeps the beginning teacher constantly connected to the WELS Continuum of Teacher Standards . . . a key tool in the professional community of education.”

Kate urges all schools and principals to use the synod’s New Teacher Induction program with their beginning teachers. She advises, “If you truly love the students who come through your doors, if you want to see your teachers stay, succeed, and love what they do, and if you want your teachers to give their first fruits as an offering to Him who gave everything for us . . . stop looking at the dollar signs and look at what the research has shown. Beginning teachers will perform better if they are mentored. Not mentoring your beginning teachers is walking away from an opportunity to grow.”

Kate teaches Kindergarten at St. John Lutheran School, Mukwonago WI.

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