Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Studies

First Advisor

Yasha Becton

Abstract

The problem of practice addressed in this mixed methods, action research study was how to provide better support to beginning teachers. The main objectives were to provide more emotional and instructional support for teachers in years one through three. This additional support was provided using cohort group mentoring as an alternative to the traditional one-on-one mentoring model and extending the mentoring program to provide teachers on an annual and first-year continuing contract with a mentor.

Six themes emerged from the qualitative data gathered from observations and responses to interview and survey questions. The six themes discovered were (1) being involved in the more comprehensive program, which utilized a team approach to mentoring negated feelings of isolation; (2) involvement improved teachers’ classroom management and instructional epistemology (capacity building); (3) the model created space for building meaningful and positive relationships; (4) the program made it possible for mentors to learn from one another through modeling in a group setting; (5) the more comprehensive induction model increased the amount of quality feedback by giving beginning teachers access to multiple mentors; and (6) the program provided more overall comprehensive support. The quantitative data revealed that teachers’ overall satisfaction with the mentoring program increased from September to May. Responses to these questions indicated teachers were satisfied with the program, felt it was more supportive than the traditional one-on-one model, believed that it provided both emotional and instructional support, thought that instruction was frequently being discussed during meetings, felt as if they related to their cohort group members, were pleased that the program was extended to include annual and first-year continuing contract teachers, enjoyed having lunch with their cohort group, and felt that it was a safe place to ask and answer questions. After the first year of implementation, the retention rate of both induction and beginning teacher participants at the school increased, and the school’s retention rate was higher than that of the district. Participants felt the community of practice developed through the comprehensive induction program helped them cope with stress and transitioning to eLearning during the COVID-19 shutdown and gave them reassurance during that time.

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