Expectations for career and social support by mentors and mentees participating in formal mentoring programs in Rhode Island
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Teacher shortages are a nationwide concern, attributable primarily to high attrition rates among new teachers (Ingersoll, 2003; Ingersoll & Kralik, 2004; Ingersol & Smith, 2004). Ingersoll and Kralik (2004) claimed that an estimated 50% of new teachers left the profession within their first 5 years. Reasons for leaving include: isolating and non-supportive teaching environments, poor working conditions and overwhelming teaching assignments (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2005). To support beginning teachers, Rhode Island passed legislation requiring districts to develop a mentoring process (Law 16-7.1-2 Accountability for Student Performance).
One variable measuring mentoring success is how closely participants' expectations for the relationship were met (Young & Perrewé, 2000). This research looked at mentoring expectations in the context of Rhode Island's experience. The research questions were (1) What are participants' principal expectations for their relationship? (2) Are expectations similar between them? (3) What is the relationship between participants' level of satisfaction and roles, district classification, grade level taught, frequency of district-sponsored meetings, and perception of matched expectations?
A concurrent mixed method model was employed and data were collected using a questionnaire. The sample consisted of N = 153 participants. Descriptive statistics, t tests and an ANOVA were used to analyze item responses probing expectations for Career and Social support. Mentees (M = 3.96) had significantly higher agreement scores than mentors (M = 3.66) for "mentees should accept/request challenging projects to enhance skills (t = -2.89, p < .001, ES = medium). No significant differences were found regarding levels of satisfaction for participants' mentoring relationships between mentors and mentees, urban and suburban districts, or among grade levels taught. A significant positive correlation (r = .22, r 2 = .05, p = .01, ES = small/medium) was found between participants' satisfaction and frequency of district-sponsored meetings, and for participants' satisfaction with their relationship and their perceived match of their expectations for their relationship (r = .66, r2 = .44, p = .001, ES = large). The open-ended responses underwent content analysis to identify themes that dealt mainly with the importance of mentoring partners being in the same building and sharing similar work assignments. Recommendations for establishing effective mentoring programs were offered.