Mentor perceptions in urban middle schools: a qualitative study of one school district

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Karen Boyd (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Carl Lashley

Abstract: Research supports the use of mentoring programs and induction assistance for retaining quality teachers and easing beginning teachers’ transition into the teaching profession. Over the last three decades researchers have looked at the varying levels of the mentoring process. However, few studies have explored the perceptions of the teacher mentors serving in those roles. This qualitative case study was designed to take an in-depth look at the perceptions of teacher mentors working with first year teachers at the middle school level. The research questions that guided this study were designed to determine how experienced teachers serving as mentors describe their experiences and what are the best, most needed or most helpful mentoring practices. The fifteen study participants taught at the middle school level in a suburban school district in North Carolina. The primary methods of collecting information for this study were one-on-one interviews, surveys, and focus group interviews, which allowed for a comprehensive perspective and a crosscheck of information. After a detailed analysis five distinct themes that emerged from the data were: (a) the qualities of the mentor and mentee relationship; (b) willing helper; (c) personal growth for the mentors; (d) support provider; and (e) advocate. The themes were interrelated which led to the factors that are necessary to create an optimal mentoring situation. The findings from this study revealed that mentors must create a positive relationship that is built on trust and respect with the mentee in order to combat the many challenges that occur during the first year of teaching. The experienced teacher must have a desire to help in order to create the optimal conditions be an effective mentor and provide the personal and professional support that many first year teachers need. The role of the mentor extends beyond the one-on-one relationship with the mentee. The mentor serves as an advocate for mentoring by promoting its importance to school and district leaders which in return will hopefully invoke changes in the recruitment, training, and evaluation of the mentoring program.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2009
First-year teacher, Mentoring, Mentors, Middle schools, Teacher support, Urban schools
First year teachers $x In-service training.
Mentoring in education.
Teacher orientation.
Teachers $x Professional relationships.
Middle school teachers $x Training of.

Email this document to