A Survey of Mentoring Programs for Novice K-12 Teachers in West Virginia Public Schools

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During the first three years of teaching, most novice teachers are still learning how to apply the principles of teaching to the practice of teaching. Lack of personal experience often places novice teachers at a disadvantage when issues arise. Many find themselves unprepared for the daily mental and physical demands of the profession and become overwhelmed. Novice teachers need consistent support in order to be successful. Those who have access to support networks will be better equipped to gain the knowledge and experience required to meet the needs of their students and prosper in the profession. Mentoring is one such form of support that increases the effectiveness and retention of novice teachers. The purpose of this study was to investigate mentoring programs currently in existence for novice K-12 teachers in West Virginia public schools by exploring the nature, structure, and content of these mentoring programs with a survey of all 55 county school districts in the state. The study showed that nearly 100% of responding districts had mentoring programs that had been in place anywhere from one to 20 years. Other findings reflected the goals and timeframe of mentoring programs, mentor qualifications, mentor compensation, program assessment, and participant perceptions of the programs. The results of this survey may inform policy-makers and program designers in developing new or modifying existing mentoring programs to better assist novice teachers, especially novice music teachers, in their first years of teaching.

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Visions of Research in Music Education