Full-time mentors: a qualitative study of new teacher perceptions
Armstrong, Patrick Sean
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This study examines the perceptions of new teachers regarding the benefits of full-time mentorship based on one particular new teacher induction program. Six new teachers and three mentors were interviewed in this study. Data indicated that full-time mentors could effectively introduce new teachers into the teaching profession if certain conditions were present. New teachers perceived the following benefits from effective full-time mentorship: increased confidence in their abilities, opportunities for non-evaluative observation and feedback, practice teaching of lessons prior to administrative evaluations, support with resources and materials specific to their situation, and the opportunity to ask critical questions in complete confidence. However, these benefits were not perceived when an unmanageable mentor-to-teacher ratio was present. One finding not prevalent in the literature was the characteristic of disassociation whereby teachers new to the profession had difficulties disassociating their professional work lives from their personal lives. The suggestion is made that further study is warranted to determine if the characteristic of disassociation could be used as a predictor of new-teachers at risk of leaving the profession. This study concludes by making eight recommendations for improving full-time mentor support and new teacher induction.