Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
The attrition of beginning teachers is an ongoing problem for public schools as it impacts campus moral, results in economic losses, and maintains the number of newly-hired teachers. Although induction programs for beginning teachers have been found effective in reducing novice teacher attrition, funding for many induction programs have been eliminated due to budget constraints, leaving local school systems with limited support of the mentors and no consistency as to expectations or outcomes. Compounding this problem is that little research has examined what is most successful and supportive for mentors to be able to function most effectively. Guided by Knowles' theory of andragogy, this qualitative study examined the perceptions of experienced mentors about training and ongoing support. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposeful sample of 10 experienced mentor teachers from 4 elementary schools who were of various ages, subject areas, and years of experience. The interview data were coded for key words, repetitive phrases, and analyzed for common themes. Findings revealed that the mentors at the study site valued professional development, respect among participants, and ongoing collaboration. The resulting project was a mentor teacher training program for the study district that incorporated the study findings by focusing on how to best support novice teachers through respectful collaboration. Positive social change implications include providing the study district with a research-based training for teacher mentors which might create a stronger new teacher mentor program and ultimately reduce the attrition of beginning teachers.