Systems of support for the novice teacher : an explanatory sequential mixed methods study regarding novice elementary teachers in urban settings and their experiences with mentoring and concepts of andragogy.

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Educators universally agree that teacher mentoring programs and professional learning are two essential factors in the scope of support for early-career teachers (Smith & Ingersoll, 2004). As schools grapple with the decline of certified teachers exacerbated by the pandemic, it is more important than ever to consider the type and frequency of support available to novice teachers that are employed in urban school settings. To that end, research indicates that teachers in urban, impoverished school settings have increased needs for these supports when compared to their peers in non-urban schools (Darling-Hammond, 2003; Ingersoll & Kralik, 2004). The purpose of this retrospective mixed methods explanatory sequential study was to understand novice teachers in the A-1 School District and their experiences with mentoring and professional learning. Moreover, the research study interrogated three critical questions to develop a thorough response to the persisting phenomenon. The problem of practice focused on understanding how novice teachers experienced two critical aspects of support that have proven to decrease teacher attrition through both quantitative and qualitative measures. The study deployed two distinct phases of data collection and analysis, beginning with administering an electronic questionnaire followed by semi-structured interviews of teachers. Data analysis occurred through coding and theme development as well as statistical measures of central tendency. The final step in the mixed methods data analysis is data integration. This data integration clearly indicates the need for the A-1 School District to create or restructure a mentoring program that embodies a specially-designed professional learning strand for novice teachers with job-embedded mentoring. This mentoring program will address organizational growth by empowering mentor teachers to serve in leadership capacities. Additionally, the mentoring program supports novice teachers growth and development. By addressing both mentoring practices and professional learning, the A-1 School District will increase proven systems of support for novice teachers, leading to increased retention and satisfaction.

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Mentoring. Professional learning. Novice teachers. Urban school leadership.

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