Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Educators have a moral imperative and job-embedded expectation to effectively teach all students, which requires a commitment to continued personal growth. The purpose of this instrumental project study was to explore the lived experiences of first-year teachers and their mentors who teach in a culturally-diverse school district. The conceptual framework was based on supporting adult learning methods through the theories of critical thinking, constructivist perspective, the theory of mentoring, and culturally-instructional teaching. The guiding research questions addressed the perceptions of 5 first-year teachers and 5 mentors regarding individual and shared learning as a result of mentor-mentee relationship. A constant comparison method provided a process for analyzing the semi-structured interviews, observations, and field notes to determine a unit of data. Triangulation of the units of data then informed possible categories that were noted in words and statements. This process continued until saturation of categories was reached. Spreadsheets provided a structure to organize the data along the way and chart tables and taxonomic representation were used to display results. The mentees' results encompassed 19 themes such as feeling valued, safe, supported, trusted, and believed. The recommendations include the development of long-term solutions for supporting beginning teachers during the first 3 years of their profession with mentoring as an essential component. These findings illustrate that formal and informal beginning teacher professional learning is critical to produce high quality instruction, and to ensure that students graduate with globally competitive skills.