Mentoring the New Teacher: The Influence of Induction Programs on Teacher Retention

Eliminating teacher shortages in public schools as a result of turnover and attrition has been considered imperative to the success of all students. A fundamental factor of teacher turnover and attrition is teachers in their first years leaving the profession due to teaching conditions, accountability measures, and lack of support. Further understanding of teacher turnover, attrition, and retention is vital for public administrators seeking to improve education overall. Induction programs including a core mentoring component have been implemented throughout numerous states to combat teachers coming in and out of the profession. Peerreviewed literature examining teacher retention has reported that the problems of teacher retention have been longstanding and appears to occur in relationship with a number of factors including salary, professional support, classroom sizes, and lack of mentorship. In 2016, California adopted state specific standards that required all new teachers participate in an induction program that would provide mentoring and support for individual curriculum planning. To date, there has been limited evaluation of the effectiveness of California's standards of teaching induction. This graduate project will measure the importance of induction from the mentor's perspective. The mentors were identified using the participants from a publicly available secondary data set collected from 8,546 teachers in California who participated in induction programming (Commission on Teacher Credentialing [CTC], 2020) for the 2018-19 vii academic school year. The relationship between the mentors and the teachers of the induction program will be examined to further examine the elements previously studied by the CTC evaluation such as the length of time teachers were in the program, when they were assigned a mentor, the engagement between mentor and mentee, and the mentor's ability to prepare their mentees to support their students. Analysis of previous data collected by the CTC suggests that teacher induction programs have a positive impact on teachers' willingness to stay in the profession. The data also shows that over half of the teachers that participated in the California induction program felt they developed increased teaching skills and good habits as a result of their participation in the program. The self-reported data collected on the teacher's experiences were extensively studied, but there was no data collected on the mentors who were a part of their induction. This graduate project expands on the data that was collected by CTC that focused on the teachers experience in the induction program and presents a research proposal to include the mentor's perspective on their experiences through the induction program. Volunteer teachers who serve as the mentors for new teachers are the unpaid backbone of support and sharers of knowledge for new teachers. Generally, mentors are not paid for their role in induction programs. Specifically, the purpose of this graduate proposal is to explore the relationship between mentors and teachers within teacher induction programs in California.