Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Educators at a public high school in Southeastern United States depend on mentor teachers to minimize the attrition rate among beginning teachers, yet the strategies implemented by mentors lack definition and clarity. The purpose of this study was to explore mentor teachers' perceptions of effective mentoring strategies and their needs when mentoring new teachers. Maslow's humanistic learning theory guided this bounded basic qualitative study. The research questions focused on the mentoring strategies mentor teachers perceived as effective and the needs of the mentors. Ten high school mentor teachers, who currently mentor new teachers, were purposefully selected to participate in individual and focus group interviews. Precoding, open and axial coding were used to inductively analyze the data. The results showed mentors promote school culture, are a source of information, build relationships, use data to drive discussion, provide opportunity for reflection, conduct observations, connect theory with practice, and model professional behavior as effective strategies. Mentor teachers indicated that effective communication is crucial when mentoring new teachers. Additionally, they need specific skills to help beginning teachers better understand the reality of teaching and address their unrealistic expectations of the profession. Based on the findings a 3-day professional development for mentor teachers was developed to address mentors' needs. This endeavor may contribute to positive social change when district administration provides mentor teachers with professional development to enrich their mentoring strategies which in turn may address the challenges new teachers experience and reduce the attrition rate.