College of Education Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Curriculum & Instruction

First Advisor

Dr. Roxanne Owens

Second Advisor

Dr. Marie Donovan

Third Advisor

Dr. John Taccarino

Abstract

This study examined the impact of mentoring on retention, quality and commitment of graduates from one school-university partnership. This project explored this issue through a review of relevant literature on effective teaching, components of quality teacher preparation programs, beginning teachers, mentoring and Professional Development Schools. How to best prepare teachers for the multi-faceted, challenging job that needs to be done has been a question that has faced universities and school districts for many years. With the growing numbers of veteran teachers now ready to retire and the increasing need for more teachers, the proportion between experienced and inexperienced teachers is going to change.

This phenomenological study looked at a specific group of students from one school-university partnership to learn from their experiences in order to determine how a mentoring program affected their retention, quality and commitment to teaching. The findings from this study indicated that the mentor support that this group of students received was critical to their development as teachers and how well prepared they felt as they entered their own classroom; however, having a mentor was not the only support that was needed for this group. Being schooled in a collaborative and teaming environment was also instrumental. Another finding from this study is the importance of having extended clinical hours in an actual classroom before taking one over. Teaching is an art and a science, and it is hard to learn all that needs to be learned in a traditional ten or sixteen week student teaching period. This group of students had an entire clinical year where they observed, co-planned, co-taught and then took over the classroom. This experience was invaluable and helped the transition between clinical and full time responsibilities. Having a mentor program does not insure that new teachers will get the support they need. There needs to be a collegial and shared responsibility attitude within the environment. Teachers need to model good instructional practices and collaborate with one another so that ideas can be shared. A strong support system for novice teachers is crucial to develop and retain quality teachers.