Effectiveness of teacher mentoring as perceived by proteges
Attention is being directed to the improvement of ways in which new teachers and other educators are brought "on board." The need for training and improvement is prevalent in education. Teachers are asked to incorporate knowledge, skills, and values necessary for teaching practices that are based on theory and in many cases a brief orientation to the school environment via the student teaching experience (DeBolt, 1992). The teacher who is new to the classroom or the teacher who is new to the district or a particular school is a prime candidate for mentoring. Mentoring is a nurturing process in which a more skilled or experienced person, serving as a role model, teaches, sponsors, encourages, counsels, and befriends a less skilled or less experienced person for the purpose of promoting the protege's professional and/or personal development (Anderson & Shannon, 1988). Mentoring may be assessed in terms of induction/initiation, interaction, technical assistance, and professional development. Two hundred surveys were disseminated to a public school district in a southeastern state in order to examine the perceptions of the effectiveness of mentoring by the protege. One hundred and seven of the surveys were returned. Based on the results of the study, it was concluded that mentoring is perceived as effective by teachers in general, specifically in terms of induction/initiation, interaction, technical assistance, and professional development. Mentoring perceptions of effectiveness were higher by those teachers who were new to a district or school as opposed to new teachers. Mentoring was perceived as being effective to teachers at different grade levels. Mentoring perceptions of effectiveness were higher at the middle grades/junior high school level as opposed to those at the elementary level. The study also indicated that the perception of the effectiveness of mentoring is not significant as it relates to teaching experience or teacher education level.