3 strategies to upgrade your mentoring program for new teachers

By Joshua H. Barnett
August 2022
Investing in high-quality, effective mentoring programs is a key, research-based strategy to increase teacher retention and new teachers’ effectiveness (Ingersoll & Strong, 2011). But not all mentoring programs are created equal. In fact, too many of these programs operate as little more than a buddy system in which mentors play informal, poorly defined roles and receive little training or supervision. Fortunately, this trend can change — and it must do so quickly, as districts hire a large number of new teachers to address staffing shortages, including many teachers who are learning on the job in alternative certification programs. A survey of new teachers in three states found that although 78% of new teachers were provided mentors, only a little over half of those teachers reported

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Behrstock-Sherratt, E., Bassett, K., Olson, D., & Jacques, C. (2014, April). From good to great: Exemplary teachers share perspectives on increasing teacher effectiveness across the career continuum. Center on Great Teachers and Leaders, American Institutes for Research.

Ingersoll, R.M. & Strong, M. (2011). The impact of induction and mentoring programs for beginning teachers: A critical review of the research. Review of Educational Research, 81(2), 201-233.

Ingersoll, R., Merrill, E., Stuckey, D., Collins, G., & Harrison, B. (2021). Seven trends: The transformation of the teaching force, updated January 2021. Research Report. Consortium for Policy Research in Education, University of Pennsylvania.

Kardos, S.M. & Johnson, S.M. (2010). New teachers’ experiences of mentoring: The good, the bad, and the inequity. Journal of Educational Change, 11(1), 23-44.

National Institute for Excellence in Teaching. (2021, Fall). Why new teacher mentoring falls short, and how to fix it. Author.

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Joshua H. Barnett ( is chief executive officer at the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching.

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