The first year of teaching is a critical time for professional growth and teacher development requiring emotional and pedagogical support from an experienced mentor. To serve this need, many school districts and counties across the US have developed induction programs for beginning teachers. This study examined 20 First Year Teachers’ (FYT’s) experiences in a mentoring induction program conducted from 2006 to 2008. Data included phone interviews, questionnaires, and one-on-one interviews. Kram’s mentoring framework provided the theoretical model for describing stages of mentor-mentee relationships. In addition, a Continuum of mentor practices was developed to categorize the levels of mentor effectiveness as described by FYTs. Based on their perceptions, the effectiveness of mentoring practices varied greatly for these participants: nine teachers received adequate mentoring, while the remaining 11 teachers’ experiences indicated deficiencies. Mentors were trained and specifically matched with FYTs, yet, findings indicated that accountability measures were needed to adequately serve most of these FYTs.
Rikard and Banville are with George Mason University, School of Recreation, Health & Tourism, Manassas, Virginia.