The New Jersey beginning teacher program and the mentor/protege relationship

Roy Rocco Montesano, Fordham University


Mentoring has emerged as one way to provide an induction program for new teachers by having selected experienced teachers work with them on professional development. Mentoring programs offer the potential of leadership opportunities and career enhancement for experienced teachers, while at the same time meeting an organizational need for induction support for beginning teachers. In addition to the benefits to the individuals involved in a mentoring program, it also offers potential benefits to the school organization. The purpose of this study was to explore teacher mentoring and the effects mentoring has on the mentor teacher, the protege teacher, the principal's role in mentoring and the effects of mentoring on the school organization. The study examined three mentor-protege pairs in two different school districts in New Jersey. Both districts developed mentor teacher programs in response to a state mandate requiring all New Jersey public school districts to provide new teachers with a mentor during their first year of teaching. The researcher collected data from interviews, on-site observations, and an examination of school documents such as mentor logs, policy manuals, and school/faculty handbooks. This information was used to address six research questions. The influence of the mentor program on the participants, other teachers in the organization, and the organization itself were reviewed at length. On the surface, the findings of this study do not lend much support for mentor programs as a form of professional development for experienced teachers or as an effective way to induct new teachers into the profession. Out of the six mentor-protege pairs, only three were successful, and only two mentors reported any sense of professional growth. The protege teachers benefited from the relationships in different ways, yet the impact of the relationship on their attitudes towards teaching or their teaching practice remains mere speculation with little supportive evidence. Based on the findings, implications for practice focused on four key variables: the structure of the mentor program, the community/district/school environments, the people who are selected to become involved in a mentor relationship, and the support the program receives.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

Montesano, Roy Rocco, "The New Jersey beginning teacher program and the mentor/protege relationship" (1998). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9839514.