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Mentoring Annotated Bibliography of Teacher Resilience

Margolis, J. (2008). What will keep today's teachers teaching? Looking for a hook as a new career cycle emerges. Teachers College Record 110(1), 160–194

Mentoring | Professional development | Teacher retention/attrition

This paper reports findings from a one year qualitative study in the US. It proposes that teachers with 4-6 years experience are ideally placed to become mentor teachers to students as they are looking for new roles and to regenerate their own enthusiasm. The study interviewed 7 teachers and provided them with workshops and a web based discussion board which enabled them to support each other.

Meister, D. G., & Ahrens, P. (2011). Resisting plateauing: Four veteran teachers’ stories. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27, 770-778.

Mentoring | Professional development | Teacher resilience

This article explored factors that kept four veteran teachers from plateauing and helped them maintain their enthusiasm for over than 20 years. Data were collected from interviews where teachers were encouraged to reflect on their career history and career development. Data analysed by open coding and axial coding revealed that all participants experienced periods of frustration through their career life cycles. However, they managed to rekindle their passion about teaching due to supportive leaders (e.g. department supervisors, principals and administrators), student affirmation and external support system (e.g. networking with their colleagues; support from family and friends). As a conclusion, the article proposed that administrators should be aware of the career cycles of teachers and find ways to support resiliency. Moreover, it was argued that mentors and professional development opportunities play a crucial role in cultivating teacher resilience.

Moore, R. (2013). Pedagogical stressors and coping strategies for bolstering teacher resilience. (Doctor of Education), Walden University, Ann Arbor.

Mentoring | Teacher resilience

This study investigated the resilience approaches used by K-12 public school teachers to overcome emotional exhaustion related to their profession. teacher resilience indicates “the enabling internal characteristic invoked by teachers to maintain their commitment to teaching or a process of development that occurs over time involving the ability to adjust to varied situations and increase their competence in the face of adverse conditions or the capacity of teachers to successfully overcome personal vulnerabilities and environmental stressors” (Mansfield et al., 2012, p. 358). The study adopted a hermeneutic phenomenology research design together with a cross-sectional 14 question Internet survey instrument which was administered to ten K-12 school teachers. The data analysis showed that student misbehaviour comprised the main source of teacher stress, followed by excessive workloads and long work hours. To recover from these adverse factors, the teachers employed the coping strategies of spiritual/religious beliefs, humour, and help from others. As a recommendation, the thesis stressed that resiliency training, positive peer collaboration and mentoring should be implemented to help teachers recover from work-related stress, as well as promote their well-being, retention and career longevity.

Olsen, B., & Anderson, L. (2007). Courses of action: A qualitative investigation into urban teacher retention and career development. Urban Education, 42(1), 5-29

Mentoring | Teacher retention/attrition | Teacher training

Olsen and Anderson interviewed 15 early career teachers in urban schools. While all were still committed to improving urban education, some planned to stay as teachers, some were uncertain about their future and others planned to shift into other related roles. Factors related to staying were administrative support, mentoring, opportunities for taking on multiple roles, and the presence of friends or like-minded peers. Lack of support and family pressure to leave teaching were negative pressures for retention. Implications for schools and teacher education institutions are discussed.

Painter, R. L. (2013). Characteristics of resiliency development and adult learning: Examining teacher perspective through narrative inquiry. (Doctor of Education), Regent University. (3573596)

Mentoring | Professional development | Teacher resilience

This thesis explored how the relationship between resiliency and adult learning influenced professional development in one suburban-rural school district in Litchfield County, Connecticut. Within the thesis, resilience was viewed as “a process that occurs over time in relation to personal and environmental conditions” (p. 3). Using a narrative design, six high school teachers were involved in in-depth flexible but structured interviews that elicited stories. Through the data, characteristics of personal and administrative effectiveness for resiliency and adult learning were identified. Traits of personal effectiveness included self-awareness, problem solving, optimism, reflection, leadership, and sense of purpose, whilst traits of administrative effectiveness comprised responsiveness, mentorship, and culture of learning. These characteristics were found to enable the teachers to confront work-related challenges effectively, and thus sustain their resilience. The researcher concluded by proposing that administrators should be aware of teachers’ experience and perceptions of resilience to help them stay enthusiastic in the classroom. Moreover, teacher resilience is more likely to be cultivated if teachers are involved in professional development that shows them how to respond positively to challenges.

Patterson, J. H., Collins, L., & Abbott, G. (2004). A study of teacher resilience in urban schools. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 31(1), 3-11

Mentoring | Professional development | Teacher resilience

These authors interviewed teachers and teacher leaders who have succeeded in challenging urban schools. The reported nine key findings that have particular implications for school administrators. Resilient teachers have a set of personal values that guide their decision making, including placing a high premium on professional development and providing mentoring to others. These teachers were seen to be proactive individuals who take charge, stay focused on their students' learning and do whatever it takes to help their children succeed. Resilient teachers have supportive friends and colleagues, are willing to explore new ideas, and know when to get involved and when to let go.

Schlichte, J., Yssel, N., & Merbler, J. (2005). Pathways to burnout: Case studies in teacher isolation and alienation. Preventing School Failure, 50(1), 35-40

Mentoring | Teacher retention/attrition

This paper describes a small case study where five novice special education teachers were interviewed about their positive and negative experiences and coping strategies in their first year of teaching. The importance of mentors, administrative support, and emotional relationships with and support from students, families and colleagues are highlighted. Some tentative implications are raised including that teacher educators should encourage networking and collaboration between their students as these bonds could be important networks for beginning teachers.

Smith, T. M., & Ingersoll, R. M. (2004). What are the effects of induction and mentoring on beginning teacher turnover? American Educational Research Journal, 41(3), 681-714

Beginning teachers | Mentoring | Teacher retention/attrition

This comprehensive quantitative study uses data obtained from a stratified sample of all beginning teachers in the US in 1999-2000. It investigates the prevalence of induction programs, the frequency of new teachers' participation in such programmes, rates of turnover and identifies 'stayers', 'movers' and 'leavers'. New teachers were found to be more likely to stay if they have had a mentor in the same subject area, have participated in collaborative planning with other teachers, and if they have participated in an external network of teachers organised by an outside agency or on the internet. Implications for policy makers are discussed.

Tait, M. (2005). Resilience and new teacher success. Education Today, 17, 12-13, 41.

Beginning teachers | Mentoring | Teacher resilience

Beginning teachers face many challenges, including overwhelming workloads, disciplinary problems, unreasonable expectations, poor mentoring support, and inadequate resources. To beat the odds, novice teachers need resilience, “the human capacity to face, overcome, and even be strengthened by experiences of adversity” (p. 12). One of the factors that constitute resilience is positive relationships with other people, e.g. students, parents, colleagues, and administrators. Collegial and supportive teacher preparation is another element that fosters resilience in early career teachers. Moreover, classroom concerns such as class management, student motivation, planning and organisation, have to be effectively addressed to help improve novice teachers’ confidence and sense of efficacy. Induction programs should be put in place to encourage new teachers to practice their communication, personal and social skills. A strong mentorship relationship is also crucial to help an early career teacher foster their resilience. A supportive school culture where collaboration, active participation and critical thinking are encouraged is another important factor that increases teachers’ capacity to bounce back after a setback.

Waterman , S., & He, Y. (2011). Effects of mentoring programs on new teacher retention: A literature review. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 19(2), 139–156.

Beginning teachers | Mentoring | Teacher retention/attrition

This article explored the supportive role of mentoring programs on retaining early career teachers. Examining 14 studies on the subject, the researchers found that findings regarding the connection between mentoring programs and teacher retention from past research were inconclusive. Whereas most studies showed that early career teachers felt supported by mentors who met with them frequently, one study revealed novices rejected regular meetings with mentors while another study showed novices who rarely met with their mentors were more likely to stay in teaching than those who met with them daily. Furthermore, some studies showed positive associations between mentoring programs, administrative support, ongoing training and teacher retention, while some studies indicated the lack of or inadequacy of mentoring programs led to teachers leaving the profession, as it contributed to the atmosphere of “professional, social, and emotional disavowal” (p. 148). As an implication for further studies, the paper suggested that there should be more research collaboration across schools, districts, and states to encourage the sharing of resources and research capacities to examine more thoroughly the effects of mentoring on teacher retention.

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