6 min read

K-12 Teacher & Staff Onboarding 101: How to Train Effective Teachers

K-12 Teacher & Staff Onboarding 101: How to Train Effective Teachers

“What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

The best teachers are those that have appropriate training to help them connect with and engage students to deliver the best possible outcomes. While getting a degree in education is certainly part of the process, so is K-12 teacher and staff onboarding to train teachers.

At Alludo, we understand hiring and onboarding new teachers is the top hurdle faced by school districts. That’s why we help school districts to create effective onboarding programs to get new teachers, including substitutes, up to speed before they step into the classroom.

The best case scenario is that your onboarding system can serve as an onramp to hire new teachers from your pool of qualified substitutes by providing them with the training and support they need to thrive. Here’s what you need to know about how onboarding for K-12 teachers and staff can help you train teachers.

Table of Contents

  1. How Do You Train New Teachers to Be Effective?
    1. Key Elements of Teacher Training
    2. Important Topics for Teacher Training
  2. What Are the Seven Principles of Teaching?
  3. What Skills Should Teachers Have?
  4. Why Should Teachers Engage in Professional Development?
  5. Alludo's Take

How Do You Train New Teachers to Be Effective?

Teacher training is a priority for every school district because it provides teachers with the opportunity to become better at their jobs and do a better job of educating their students.

Key Elements of Teacher Training

Creating teacher training for K-12 teacher onboarding isn’t difficult but it does need to be done mindfully to get the best results:

  • Break teacher and staff training down into discrete skills that can be practiced alone and cumulatively.
  • Build time into teacher training to allow participants to create a plan or script for what their training should look like in their classrooms.
  • Allow time for teachers to role play and practice.
  • Provide feedback and follow-ups.
  • Repeat the training cycle until teachers are comfortable with the skills they have learned.


Onboarding is not a quick process. It should provide teachers with ongoing training and support that allows them to feel comfortable in their own classrooms.

Important Topics for Teacher Training

The other element of creating effective onboarding for K-12 staff is choosing the right teacher training topics. Here are some to consider:

  • Time management and creating a good work/life balance
  • Effective communication
  • Getting to know students
  • Managing expectations as a new teacher
  • Classroom management
  • Record keeping


As teachers progress and get acclimated to your school and district, they can move on to topics that will allow them to gain new skills and connect with students with different learning styles.

What Are the Seven Principles of Teaching?

Researchers Arthur Chickering and Zelda Gamson developed seven principles of teaching for undergraduate education. These principles are also applicable to K-12 education and can be used to train effective teachers:

  1. Encourage contact between students and faculty. It should be easy for students to reach out to teachers with questions or to get additional help.
  2. Encourage student cooperation. Students should be encouraged to collaborate both in person and online, using synchronous and asynchronous tools to complete small group projects and assignments.
  3. Encourage active learning. Active learning provides students with the opportunity to engage directly with the material they’re learning.
  4. Provide prompt feedback. Feedback helps students understand their progress and identify potential areas of concern.
  5. Provide clear instructions regarding due dates and participation. Students should never be left guessing what they’re required to do or when they must turn in an assignment.
  6. Provide clear expectations for student work. Providing students with rubrics and guidelines will ensure that they know what’s expected of them and how their work will be graded.
  7. Use multiple methods of instruction, engagement, and assessment. What works well for one student may not work for another. Teachers can maximize engagement and success by using multiple instruction methods and materials.


These seven principles can provide a solid framework for teachers to connect with and engage their students and deliver the best possible student outcomes.

What Skills Should Teachers Have?

One way to approach teacher training and onboarding is by considering the skills an effective teacher should have and providing them with the training needed to help them acquire or develop those skills. Here are 10 skills that effective teachers can use to improve their performance in the classroom:

  • Patience. There’s no denying that teachers need to be patient in the classroom, as they will be educating students from different backgrounds, intellectual capabilities, and learning styles. Some students may resist learning and be oppositional in the face of any instruction. Patience helps teachers keep their cool and figure out the best way to engage with their students.
  • Communication. Good communication skills are necessary in teaching because teachers are professional communicators. It’s their job to instruct and engage with their students, providing clarification and outlining expectations. Teachers and staff must possess the ability to communicate effectively when speaking and in writing, since they may need to compose emails to students and parents.
  • Critical thinking. Critical thinking is an essential skill for teachers because it informs what they teach and how they teach it, in addition to being something they must help their students learn to do. It’s critical thinking that allows teachers to evaluate the appropriateness and relevance of course materials, keep students engaged by observing their learning styles and adapting to them, and engaging with parents to help them understand what their children are learning and what kind of help and support they might need at home.
  • Organization. Organization is undeniably important because it allows teachers to keep track of student assignments and lesson plans, track students’ progress, and make sure they have necessary supplies and resources. It’s also useful because most teachers, particularly in middle or high school, teach multiple classes with different students and must use their organizational skills to keep work from each class together.
  • Leadership. Teachers are leaders. It’s their job to stand in front of a classroom and shepherd their students through the assigned material while managing students’ conduct and providing clear expectations. They must demonstrate the responsibility and accountability they expect from students and must also show leadership in their interactions with fellow teachers, administrators, and parents.
  • Teamwork. While teachers may stand alone at the front of their own classroom, they are also in a profession that is collaborative by nature. They should be prepared to share information about students with their colleagues and may sometimes work together with guidance counselors, nurses, and other staff members to provide students with support.
  • Imaginative thinking. Creating engaging lesson plans that turn students into enthusiastic learners requires creativity and imagination. Teachers are best able to inspire their students when they understand the role that imagination plays in education.
  • Time management. Good time management is a necessary skill in education because teachers are often required to wear multiple hats during the course of a day and may find themselves working extra hours to keep up. Creating a schedule and setting aside time to create lesson plans or grade papers can help teachers maintain a healthy work/life balance.
  • Computer/tech skills. There’s no denying the impact that technology has had in the classroom. Today’s K-12 students are all digital natives and teachers have the best opportunity of connecting with them if they embrace technology and use it to enhance student learning.
  • Conflict resolutions. Teaching kids of any age requires teachers to engage in conflict resolution at times. Students may disagree with one another or squabble over sharing resources. A good teacher can step in and use conflict resolution techniques to resolve the issue and return the classroom to order.

Many of these skills may be incorporated into onboarding and as part of your district’s ongoing professional development.

Why Should Teachers Engage in Professional Development?

Onboarding and professional development can both help set teachers up for success. Instead of being put into the classroom without proper preparation and training, you have the opportunity to provide them with the guidance they need to perform their jobs well.

The NEA has pointed out the correlation between teacher professional development and student success. Students are more likely to experience positive outcomes when teachers receive ongoing training and professional development.

Professional learning sets teachers up for success by expanding their knowledge, providing them with information about new teaching methods and technologies. On a related note, it boosts teachers’ confidence by equipping them with the tools they need to engage with their students.

Professional development also delivers for school districts by helping them address one of their most pressing issues: retaining teachers. When teachers are empowered to pursue long-term goals and feel supported with onboarding and professional development, they’re more likely to be satisfied and stay in their jobs.

Alludo’s Take

Alludo is dedicated to providing school districts with an online learning platform that empowers teachers. We have included many activities and resources in our professional development catalog that are suitable for new teacher training and onboarding.

We assisted the Yucaipa Calimesa JUSD in setting up an onboarding system for substitute teachers. It was successful enough that it evolved into an onramp for hiring new permanent teachers

We can assist your school district with teacher training by providing professional development in a personalized, standardized asynchronous format that prioritizes teacher choice and maximizes engagement.

Train Effective Teachers in Your District with Alludo

K-12 teacher and staff onboarding provides an opportunity for school districts to empower teachers to do their best work in the classroom, deliver the best possible outcomes for students, and improve teacher retention rates during a time when teachers are in short supply.

Do you need assistance creating effective onboarding and training for K-12 staff and teachers in your district? Alludo can help! Click here to get your free trial of Madagascar, our online learning platform.

What's New in the Alludo Catalog ?

What's New in the Alludo Catalog ?

“It would take us years to roll out all the PD that we can on Alludo." - Kathy Jackson, Director of Teaching and Learning for K-12, YCJUSD

Read More
Analytic vs. Holistic Rubrics: Which Type of Rubric Should You Use?

Analytic vs. Holistic Rubrics: Which Type of Rubric Should You Use?

“One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.” ~Maria Montessori

Read More
The Art of Rubric Design: Crafting Effective Assessment Tools

The Art of Rubric Design: Crafting Effective Assessment Tools

As educators, we've all experienced the challenge of evaluating student assignments filled with scattered ideas and jumbled thoughts, leaving us...

Read More