Becoming an insider: The impact of mentoring on the development of early career teachers

Year: 2007

Author: McCormack, Ann

Type of paper: Refereed paper

The recent increase in interest in mentoring for early career teachers has been fuelled by the need to provide quality teaching and learning and address the current high attrition rates of teachers in their first years. This paper details a study which tracked 16 early career teachers through their first year of teaching. The teachers and their mentors were interviewed on three occasions in an attempt to provide a clear understanding of how these early career teachers achieve control over their professional growth and the role mentors played in this process. This paper makes use of qualitative data to discuss the nature of mentoring experiences, the skills required, the developing professional relationships and the concerns encountered. The results indicated the mentors in this study used primarily 'humanistic' and 'situated apprentice' (Wang & Odell, 2002) approaches to their mentoring with survival and adaptation to the school the focus. Little attention was given to challenging early career teachers' pedagogy or reflection on their teaching. The mentors cited a sense of renewal, increased self efficacy and improved leadership skills as positive personal outcomes from the experience. Suggestions will be made with the view to strengthening early career teacher support and retaining our future educators.