Term of Award

Spring 2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Linda M. Arthur

Committee Member 1

Cherry Brewton

Committee Member 2

Paul Brinson

Abstract

The needs of beginning teachers have been addressed both on the state and national level because of increasing concerns about teacher quality and teacher shortage problems. Schools experience high rates of attrition for beginning teachers, more than forty percent in the first five years of teaching. Within the next decade, school districts will have to hire a large number of teachers for grades k-12. The traditional sink-or-swim induction of teachers contributes to lower levels of teacher effectiveness such as curriculum and behavioral issues and higher levels of teacher attrition. Beginning teachers experience isolation, difficult students, curriculum challenges, and inadequate preparation which cause them to leave the education field in high numbers. More states and school districts have begun to provide mentoring for their beginning teachers in an effort to help them transition into their first years of teaching. The purpose of this qualitative study was to evaluate the impact of mentoring on beginning teachers in a rural Northeast Georgia school district. The study provided important data about the mentoring practices that were the most meaningful to the beginning teachers. The methodology used to collect data for this study was individual interviews and focus group interviews. Nine purposive sample participants were included for the individual interviews: one from each of five elementary schools and two both from the middle school and high school. The focus group included two elementary teachers, two middle school teachers, and two high school teachers. The analysis of the data revealed the following themes: 1) Mentoring provided support for new teachers in the area of curriculum, discipline, and parental communication. 2) Secondly, the time spent with the mentors had an important effect on the success of the mentoring experience. 3) The variation of attitudes both of the mentor and the administration/school played an important part in a successful mentoring program. The results of this study support the positive results of mentoring on beginning teachers. The data collected correlated with the research questions and supported the idea that mentoring is an important program in the school district. When school districts promote teacher support through mentoring, teacher retention appears to be higher.

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