Keeping New Teachers in the Profession: The Importance of a Mentorship Program
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Too many teachers are leaving the profession within the first 5 years after an extensive investment in their training. New teacher attrition rates are due to the overwhelming duties required and the lack of support that is given. The profession can be isolating and demanding and often leaves new teachers to flounder. New teachers are often given difficult course loads and are expected to maintain the status of a veteran teacher. This paper investigates how to keep teachers in the profession through induction programs. It looks more specifically at mentorship and how mentoring can support both new teachers and those teachers who are changing teaching positions. Review of research is done on an international, national and local level and key themes are drawn from the research. Research supports the need for a structured mentorship program that provides time for mentors and mentees to meet regularly. It also supports the need for extensive mentor training in order for mentors to provide the accurate backing for new teachers. New teachers benefit from mentorship programs as well as mentors learning from their mentees. The culture of mentorship coincides with the idea of collaboration and peer observation and is enhanced through Professional Learning Communities. Funding is needed to support a sound program to provide release time for teachers to meet. The research supports the need for mentorship programs to keep new teachers in the profession longer than five year. Information from this paper can be used to help maintain a mentorship program or to implement a new program.