Teacher mentors evaluating proteges: An investigation of participants' perceptions
Miltz, Diane E
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This qualitative study examined the compatibility of teacher mentoring and mentor evaluation in a formal mentoring program. The phenomenological approach used participants' verbal descriptions of their experiences within a program where mentors are expected to coach, guide and evaluate.The broad question that guided this research was: (A) What is the essence of mentoring for proteges and mentors involved in a formal mentoring program that includes evaluation by the mentor? The sub-questions were: (1) From the perspective of program participants, what role does evaluation play in mentoring? (2) If we carefully examine the meanings program participants give to their experiences of evaluation within a mentoring program, what can be learned about how those experiences impact the practice of teaching? Purposeful selection was used to choose the seven protege and six mentor participants who fully described their mentoring experiences through a series of three, in-depth interviews. Verbatim transcriptions were analyzed phenomenologically to develop textural descriptions of each participants' experience. The textural descriptions were further analyzed to reveal the structures and essences of mentoring experiences that include evaluation by the mentor. Analysis of the data was guided by theories of teaching and learning, adult and teacher development, trust, mentoring, and supervision of teachers. Based on the participants' experiences, the three core structures of mentoring for both proteges and mentors are Relationship, Professional Growth and Time. Analysis reveals a very definite interaction of time to relationship and professional growth as time both surrounds and weaves throughout the relationship and professional growth areas. The significance of this study indicates that mentoring programs can successfully include evaluation by the mentor. When time is given and the relationship is fully developed, formative and summative evaluation become a natural part of the professional growth structure. Mentoring programs must train and support the mentors and proteges in jointly constructing a balance of the three core structures for optimal learning and growth to occur.