Title page for ETD etd-03192003-105806

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Smith, Judith
Author's Email Address jjsmith64@earthlink.net
URN etd-03192003-105806
Title Forces Affecting Beginning Teacher/Mentor Relationships in a Large Suburban School System
Degree PhD
Department Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Parson, Stephen R. Committee Chair
Byers, Larry Committee Member
Johnson, Paula A. Committee Member
Krill, Cecelia W. Committee Member
Niles, Jerome A. Committee Member
  • beginning teachers
  • induction
  • mentoring
Date of Defense 2003-02-26
Availability unrestricted
According to the U. S. Department of Education (National Commission on

Teaching and America’s Future, 1996), U.S. public schools will hire an estimated two

million teachers within the decade. The experience of the beginning teacher is a stressful

one with more than 40% of new teachers choosing to leave the profession during the first

three years. One promising practice to address this problem is mentoring, an expert

teacher helping the beginner one-on-one. The heart of mentoring is the mentor/mentee

relationship. This study investigated the nature of the beginning teacher/mentor

relationship and the forces that affected that relationship. The methodology was a

cross-case analysis of three pairs of mentor/mentees at the elementary level. The data

were collected from focus groups, teacher interviews, observations, email responses, and

document review. Data were analyzed using a constant comparative method examining

emerging themes across all three cases. Trustworthiness of the research was fostered

through multiple sources of data, practice interviews, oversight by peers and committee,

participant review, and description of themes in the participants’ own words. The data

revealed that the mentor/mentee pairs developed very strong relationships grounded on

reassurance, collaboration, reciprocity, friendship, problem solving, multi-layered

support, and informal structures for getting together. Positive forces affecting the

relationships included personality of the participants, perception of mentor role, closeness

of age, proximity of classrooms, and common teaching assignment. Time constraints

acted as a negative force that presented many challenges addressed by mentors and their

mentees in very unique ways.

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