Beginning teachers' perspectives on memtoring programs in rural elementary schools
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this study was to explore beginning teachers’ perspectives on mentoring programs in rural elementary schools. Symbolic interactionism was the theoretical framework of the study, and the methodology was grounded theory. Face-to-face interviews were the primary data source. Constant comparative analysis was used to analyze the data and to generate theory grounded in the data. Mentoring programs were found to be a supportive practice involving the beginning teachers and mentors. The beginning teachers formed positive relationships with their mentors and interacted with them through the mentoring program. These interactions consisted primarily of the mentors providing support for the beginning teachers in the areas of curriculum, instruction, classroom management, and parent interactions. Personal and emotional support was an additional area in which the beginning teachers received mentor support. Furthermore, the interactions between the beginning teachers and the mentors and the outcomes of these interactions positively affected beginning teacher morale, classroom instruction, conflict resolution management, and self-confidence. Five theoretical meta-themes are discussed: (a) When beginning teachers are given support in implementing curriculum and instructional support, student achievement is enhanced; (b) when mentors make themselves accessible to beginning teachers, the beginning teachers are more likely to reach out to their mentors for advice and support; (c) when beginning teachers feel their mentors are personally and emotionally supporting them, they view the mentor as more than a peer; (d) when mentors help beginning teachers learn to deal with extreme behavior problems, the teachers gain confidence in their abilities to resolve them; (e) when administrators do not offer full support to the mentoring program, the quality of the program is diminished. Implications for future research, practitioners, and higher education programs are discussed.