Mentorship Programs for Teachers

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Many research studies have been conducted in order to understand and determine causes of teacher turnover. According to Alliance for Education (2008), researchers estimated 150,000 men and women leave the teaching profession every year and more than 232,000 teachers change schools. Teachers who leave or change schools make up an entire 12% of the total teacher workforce. Retired teachers account for 16% of attrition. Unfortunately, more than one third of teachers leave the profession within the first 5 years of teaching (Shaw & Newton, 2014).

Previous literature claims teachers leave the profession for a variety of reasons. These reasons include poor working conditions, difficult assignments, lack of support, and low levels of student success. According to NEA Today (2004), insufficient classroom resources, underpaid teachers, lack of support, and large class size are examples of reasons teachers provide when changing careers.

Teacher turnover is costly. It is estimated that the national annual cost of teacher attrition is 7.2 billion dollars (Carol & Foster, 2010). Not only is turnover costly, but detrimental to student learning and achievement. Since the very beginning of education, educators have placed high emphasis on increasing student achievement. High quality educators are crucial to the success of students.

Research suggests it takes 3-7 years for a beginning teacher to become experienced enough to be considered highly quality (Long, 2010). In attempts to increase student learning and achievement, teacher development programs were established to increase teacher quality. These programs date back to 1975 and were designed to improve the overall classroom skills of the new teacher and reduce teacher isolation (Lortie, 1975).

According to Cuddapah (2016), the types of skills that typically need developing in new teachers are classroom management, formative assessment, summative assessment, instructional strategies, differentiation, working with caregivers, motivating learners, and literacy. Formerly, programs to develop such skills were known as professional development programs, however, modern terms for these programs include teacher mentoring and teacher induction. Teacher induction often means group session learning while mentoring is a one on one approach. For the purpose of this research proposal, mentoring programs and their effect on teacher retention is discussed.

Of all the literature the researcher has studied, consistent results have been identified regarding teacher mentorship programs and their successful impact on increasing student achievement and teacher retention within schools. Research by Ingersoll and Strong (2012) concluded teachers who participate in mentoring programs were more committed to their job, had higher job satisfaction, and were likely to be retained in the teaching profession. Anthony and Kritsonis (2006) calculated 66% of beginning teachers who received formal mentoring within the school district claimed it improved individual classroom teaching skills a lot.

Examples of successful mentoring programs include BTP, which stands for Beginning Teacher Program and the Santa Cruz New Teacher Project. BTP was established to support new teachers in a challenged urban school district. BTP is a summer program that confronted new teacher attrition and attempted to increase quality within inexperienced teachers by meeting their unique needs.

BTP contains eighteen sessions every few weeks and new teachers work together with experienced teachers to work on specific classroom skills. Within the first three years of the program, BTP increased the district’s teacher retention rate from 40-50% to 95%. The Santa Cruz New Teacher Project was a high-quality mentoring program in which mentors were on full time release from teaching in classrooms for a period of time to provide support to new coworkers (Cuddapah, 2016).

An additional study conducted by the National Science Foundation (NSF) supports teacher retention through teacher mentorship programs. NSF is an independent agency in the Executive Branch of the United States Federal government. According to the implementation of their mentorship initiative known as the National Science Foundation’s Urban Systemic Initiative, strategies were learned to help prevent teacher turnover.

In this study, administrators reported that new teachers received twenty-five to forty hours of training the first year of teaching. This training involved developing classroom management skills, curriculum competency, and content knowledge. Administrators also stated that new teachers were assigned mentors. This study proved mentorship as an effective retention strategy (Stevenson, Jr., Dantley, & Holcomb, 1999).

In a 2015 report to the Texas legislature, the Texas Teacher Mentor Advisory Committee clearly stated seven characteristics that high quality mentoring programs comprise. The high quality programs were developed to improve novice teacher skills and teacher retention. The seven characteristics of the mentoring program include mentor selection, mentor assignment, mentor training, mentor roles and responsibilities, program design and delivery, funding, and accountability. Mentors need exclusive training in instructional practices, coaching skills, standards-based instructional delivery, adult learning, conflict resolution, behavior management, student engagement, and classroom management. TTMAC required mentors and novice teachers to meet for 12 hours a semester or 45 minutes per week (TTMAC, 2015).

There are additional studies that outline what qualities successful mentors possess and how to develop and implement successful mentorship programs. Teacher retention can be increased by one third to one half if strong induction and mentoring programs take place within schools (Hewitt, 2009; Ingersoll & Smith, 2003). Callahan (2016) states that mentoring programs are only as strong as the mentors of the program. For example, Pirkle (2011) defined a mentor as a master teacher. One who is wiser and more experienced, who guides a new teacher for a period of time through observation, instructional support, and feedback.

Supplemental qualities include leadership skills, interpersonal skills, instructional effectiveness, and similar content knowledge as the beginner teacher. Mentors should not be viewed by new teachers as evaluators. Mentors should be viewed as facilitators to help the new teachers transition to the reality of school environment and professional teaching. Mentoring programs should be consistent, well-planned, and comprehensive development practices (Leimann, Murdock, & Waller, 2008). “Good programs support mentors and mentees by providing them with opportunities to spend time together in meaningful activities” (Ganser, 2002b, p.32).

Arbitrary mentorship programs contain random new teacher mentor assignments while purposeful programs make considerations about the choice and qualifications of mentors (Enz, 1992; Nasser-Abu Alhija & Fresko, 2014; Odell & Huling, 2000; Stanulis & Brondyk, 2013), what mentors need to know and be able to complete (Achinstein & Davis, 2014), mentor professional development (Carroll, 2005; Grossman & Davis, 2012; Gut el al., 2014), and the roles of the new teacher and mentor (Cornell, 2003; Zachary 2002).

Lastly, there is extensive literature and research that supports teacher retention through mentor programs designed to provide the new teacher with emotional support. Many researchers support the notion that teachers who are provided encouragement and emotional support are more likely to remain teaching (Billingsley, 2003; Ingersoll & Kralik, 2004; Wong, 2004). A mentor study conducted in Alabama revealed three major themes consistent with previous research. These themes include positive relationships, assistance and support, and avoiding isolation in the classroom. Positive relationships developed through the mentor program gave new teachers a reason to encourage retention.

By offering assistance and support, the new teachers validated the purpose of mentoring programs as essential to development. Avoiding isolation means the mentor must understand the commitment to the new teacher. Making time for the new teacher reduced feelings of isolation and promoted positive retention (Sparks, Tsemenhu, Green, Truby, Brockmeier, & Noble, 2017). There are two doctoral theses that support teacher mentorship programs effect on teacher happiness and retention. The three themes in the theses include educational advising/orientation, mindfulness, and emotional intelligence (De Stercke, Goyette, & Robertson, 2015).

In conclusion, all of the literature collected supports the mentorship study because the literature provides background information on previous studies conducted regarding mentorship programs increasing teacher retention. The literature also provides key information concerning the specific reasons why teachers leave or change professions, qualities of good mentors, and effective strategies to implement successful mentorship programs. By learning more background information, the research study becomes data-based because data-based decisions will be made regarding procedures and data collection.


  1. Achinstein, B., & Davis, E. (2014). The subject of mentoring: Towards a knowledge and practice base for content-focused mentoring of new teachers. Mentoring and Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 22(2), 104-126.
  2. Alliance for Excellent Education. (2008, May 1). Understanding and Reducing Teacher Turnover. Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review , 22-26.
  3. Anthony, T., & Kritsonis, W. (2006). National Implications: An analysis of e-mentoring induction year programs for novice alternatively certified teachers. National Journal for Publishing and Mentoring Doctoral Student Research,3(1), 1-6. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  4. Billingsley, B., Carlson, E., & Klein, S. (2004). The Working Conditions and Induction Support of Early Career Special Educators. Exceptional Children,70(3), 333-347. doi:10.1177/001440290407000305
  5. Callahan, J. (2016). Encouraging Retention of New Teachers Through Mentoring Strategies. The Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin: International Journal for Professional Educators , 83 (1), 6-11.
  6. Carrol, T., & Foster, E. (2010). Who Will Teach? Experience Matters. Washington DC: National Commision on Teaching and America’s Future.
  7. Carroll, D. M. (2005). Learning through interactive talk: A school based mentor teacher study group as a context for professional learning. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21(5), 457-473.

Cite this paper

Mentorship Programs for Teachers. (2021, Mar 11). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/mentorship-programs-for-teachers/



How do you structure a mentoring program?
A mentoring program can be structured by first identifying the goals and objectives of the program, selecting suitable mentors and mentees, establishing a communication plan, setting up regular meetings and evaluations, and providing resources and support for the participants. The program should be flexible and adaptable to meet the needs of the individuals and the organization.
How teachers can be the best mentors?
Teachers can be the best mentors by being patient and understanding. They can also be the best mentors by being good role models.
What are the best mentorship programs?
The best mentorship programs are those that are able to provide mentees with the guidance and support they need to achieve their goals. The best programs are also those that are able to create a supportive and positive environment for both mentees and mentors.
What are the five qualities of a mentor teacher?
A good mentor possesses the following qualities: Willingness to share skills, knowledge, and expertise. Demonstrates a positive attitude and acts as a positive role model. Takes a personal interest in the mentoring relationship. Exhibits enthusiasm in the field. Values ongoing learning and growth in the field.
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