Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)

Program

Educational Leadership

Date of Award

12-2007

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Nancy Dishner

Committee Members

Glenn Bettis, Eric S. Glover, Cecil N. Blankenship

Abstract

Teachers, especially beginning teachers, continue a trend of leaving the profession at alarming rates within the first 5 years resulting in excessive costs to school systems and diminished instructional quality. Some programs, however, have shown impressive results. The purpose of this qualitative study, using an emerging interview process, was to examine the perceptions of beginning teachers in their 1st or 2nd year and those of veteran 3- to 5-year teachers regarding the effectiveness of mentoring and other guidance they received as beginning teachers in a secondary school and to understand their vision of how mentoring should be structured for beginning teachers. Specifically, the study addressed satisfaction with 1st year experiences specially designed to support the personal and professional well-being of beginning teachers.

The study included 8 beginning teachers, 7 of whom had received mentoring in their first year of teaching and 1 who had received no mentoring and 13 veteran teachers, 7 of whom had received mentoring in their first year of teaching and 6 who had received no mentoring. The study was conducted in a secondary school in rural East Tennessee.

Findings of the study are congruent with the literature in terms of perceptions of both beginning and veteran teachers regarding effectiveness of their mentoring experiences and recommendations for enhancing mentoring programs. Most beginning and veteran teachers indicated that mentoring could be helpful given certain conditions such as motivational support, encouraging communication, routine guidance in day-to-day school operations and mentor/mentee compatibility. Some said they felt that their own mentoring experiences actually helped them to remain in the profession. However, obstacles to effective mentoring such as lack of adequate time, lack of physical mentor/mentee proximity, lack of mentor interest in the process, and lack of mentoring skills were identified.

Recommendations of beginning and veteran teachers for enhancing mentoring program effectiveness include using only those teachers who have a real interest in mentoring, matching mentor/mentee personalities for compatibility, creating clear guidelines and providing dedicated time for mentoring, logistically arranging mentors/mentees in close proximity, and providing appropriate mentor/mentee training.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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