Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Studies suggest that many promising new teachers who experience isolation do not reach their full potential and may leave the teaching profession prematurely. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between the experience of isolation among new teachers and the potential for teacher attrition in an urban school district in the northeastern U.S. Grounded in constructivist theory, the phenomenological research design examined in-depth interview data collected from 8 new public elementary school teachers with three or less years experience. A coding procedure began by extracting key phrases and statements from the raw data and reduced information into categories and themes based on frequency and alignment to the research focus. An analysis of the thematic data revealed several shared factors regarding mentoring and isolation including consensus that mentoring was instrumental in reducing feelings of isolation, that isolation is experienced in different ways and to varying degrees, and that new teachers have a strong desire to remain in the profession, but might leave their current assignment due to feelings of isolation. It was concluded that new teachers participating in the study found that mentoring and a strong belief in the importance of education helped them feel less isolated and more connected to their learning community. Recommendations for action included implementing quality induction programs for new teachers, requiring participation in these programs for at least two years, and providing better peer mentoring experiences for new teachers. These recommendations have the potential to create a more positive experience for new teachers. This study has implications for positive social change in new teacher training which involves mentors, school leaders, peer coaches, and communities of teachers working together to meet the needs of today's new teachers.