Mentoring Beginning Second Language Teachers: Perceptions of Challenges and Expectations of Support

  • Author / Creator
    Kastelan-Sikora, Kristina
  • Today’s beginning teachers are confronted with a variety of challenges and issues as they develop their professional identities. Their needs and challenges in specific subject areas are further misunderstood or unrecognized. This qualitative research study focuses on the perceptions and expectations of mentoring as lived by three triads within an ATA local mentorship program. Beginning second language teachers, their Assistant Principals, and their off-site Mentor teachers were interviewed and offered responses to: challenges facing second language beginning teachers; how mentoring relationships contribute to a teacher’s subject-area identity in second languages; how the perceptions and expectations of mentoring compare and contrast for beginning teachers, mentor teachers and assistant principals; and how challenges faced by second language teachers compare to those of other subject-area specialists. Participants reflected on their philosophy of mentorship and their expectations of being mentored or mentoring. Key findings revealed that beginning second language teachers felt they got as much mentorship as they could from a series of people, and it was up to them individually to learn what they were missing or needed on their own. These beginning teachers also expressed a desire to belong in their school and feel a part of a community, as well as have their subject area fully recognized. In contrast, mentors frequently did not recognize beginning second language teacher needs and therefore could not provide appropriate support. Mentors and Assistant Principals could benefit from knowledge about research on mentorship, needs of XXI Century beginning teachers, and specific needs of subject specialist teachers. Mentors and Assistant Principals in new positions or schools themselves may be more helpful to beginning teachers after they have settled in to their new responsibilities. The second language beginning teachers in this study purported experiencing the same challenges as subject specialist teachers of music, art, drama and physical education, including; classroom management; experiencing isolation; administrative support; and specialized subject advocacy. Recommendations for multiple stakeholders are offered for improvements to the mentorship program. Future research should focus on strategies for how to advocate in specialized subjects and how beginning teachers cope on their own to come to better understand marginalized subject-areas.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Secondary Education
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Bilash, Olenka (Secondary Education)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Morin, Francine (University of Manitoba, Faculty of Education)
    • Foster, Rosemary (Education Policy Studies)
    • Thomas, Gregory (Secondary Education)
    • Parsons, Jim (Secondary Education)
    • Melnychuck, Nancy (Secondary Education)
    • Dust, Thomas (Secondary Education)