I have been writing lately; a literature review and project description for a collaborative study I helped to design and implement around electronic mentorship. I dont think I have ever really described the project here so I thought I would share. We recently finished year one of the project and have finished our content analysis. We are in the process of submitting our paper for publicaion. I'll let you know when it is released.
Teaching has been described as the profession that eats its young. In an effort to address the support and growth of novice teachers,the College of William and Mary and the Teacher Leaders Network partnered to bring together novice teachers and accomplished teacher leaders in an online mentoring community.(TappedIn)
Current research reveals that up to one-half of new teachers leave the profession within five years and that the most important variable in the academic achievement of students is the quality of their teachers. Clearly, novice teacher retention and development are priorities. More intensive mentoring of novice teachers is increasingly seen as a way to address these needs. Teachers in quality mentoring programs tend to be better able to serve their students, more satisfied in their professional roles, and more likely to continue in the profession.
ENDAPT- (Electronically Networking to Develop Professional Teachers)
The ENDAPT project began as a pilot in the fall of 2005 as an offshoot of a preservice group- mentoring initiative that I was using in my education courses. Dr. Judi Harris became interested in launching a one-to-one component similar to what she developed in Texas and the project was born.
Through a grant from the state department
of education and at the request of the newly formed ENDAPT committee, I recruited
several of my colleagues (National Board Certified and other highly
accomplished K-12 teachers from around the country) who had prior e-mentoring
experience in my preservice courses to serve as online mentors to first year
novice teachers who had recently graduated from W&M's teacher
The virtual mentorship project took place in a customized group mentoring environment constructed in a virtual learning community called Tapped In (www.tappedin.org). Inside the virtual “room” core discussions took place in a common arena, among all mentors and novice teachers—usually in an asynchronous manner. I facilitated and also served as the virtual community organizer. It was my role to stimulate and prompt discussion when needed through the posting of various discussion threads related to the needs of a beginning teacher. Over the course of the project, the participants (both mentors and novices) continued to respond to facilitator designed “starter prompts” as well as create threads of their own. As the project progressed, mentors and novices initiated most of topics (threads) of discussion; the dialog contained in these discussions were built around the “just in time” needs of the beginning teacher.
Private conversations were encouraged via private email exchanges between mentors and novices, and development of a dedicated area for one-on-one mentoring situations is being implemented as part of the project’s scaling for the 2006-2007 academic year.
Participants were recruited from recent school of education graduates through a letter explaining the project goals that was sent in both hard copy and electronic form. Potential candidates were offered a monetary incentive in return for agreeing to answer several online surveys about perceived needs and experiences around the professional support for teaching they received and to participate by posting a minimum of at least once per week during the academic year and at least six times during the summer of
teachers consisted of five elementary, two
middle and four high school teachers. Two of the novices were reading
specialists. Most of the beginning teachers in the program taught in Va., one was teaching in Florida and another in Arizona.
The eleven mentors were hand selected from a national group of teacher leaders. There were six elementary, three middle, and two high school mentors. They lived and worked in Alabama, California, Flordia, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, and Virginia.
As individuals they had 5-31 years of experience among them, with 20 years being the average. In terms of expertise, many of them have served as Teachers of the Year in their school, district, region, state or in a national capacity. They all are National Board certified. One is a Danforth fellow and several have been officers or presidents of state professional associations, served on state and national commissions, operated as department, team, grad-level chairs in their schools and have received various other awards from professional associations.
Year one of the project took place over a ten month period that coincided with the traditional school year. During September through October we recruited, did orientations to the virtual environment, and trained mentors. The training more of a refresher as the mentors selected had been trained previously to work online with preservice teachers in another project. We launched the virtual mentoring project in October calling it “ENDAPT” - ENabling new teachers to ADAPT to—and to adapt—the complex, ever-changing contexts of education as teacher leaders and in service of student learning. The acronym ENDAPT stands for Electronically Networking to Develop Professional Teachers. In December we conducted our first survey and in March–May we began our development of the content analysis methodology used for the research, conducted the second survey and concluded the group mentoring.
The most rewarding moment in the project for me happened on the very last day. One of the novice teachers, a young man with enormous potential, had revealed in his posts toward the end of the program that he wasnt certain if he would return to teaching. Passionate dialog took place between this young teacher and the mentors. It was obvious we all felt it would be a huge loss to the profession if he quit. On the last day he made this post and I knew the pilot had been successful.
on Jun 1, 2006, 3:05 PM
last edited on Jun 1, 2006, 3:05 PM
Today it ends. When the bell rang at 11:28 am, the students walked out the door for the last time this academic year. Tonight is graduation. Tomorrow is a work-day. Done. And my friends, what a ride it has been. Ask me how it was. My response: I have no clue- I'll let you know in a week or two.
Regardless, from a deep place inside, thank you all. It was very reassuring to know that you were available to run to when my world was collapsing. Your input has been internalized and has shaped my approaches this year. As I look forward to reflecting this summer, know that your input and our conversations will be one of my primary sources for material.
Again, my sincerest thanks.
2nd year teacher.
When I saw 2nd year teacher I jumped up and down. And marveled at the fact they pay me to do what I do...