“We're Not Just Interested in the Work”: Social and Emotional Aspects of Early Educator Mentoring Relationships

May. 10, 2010

Source: Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, Volume 18, Issue 2, pages 155 – 175. (May 2010).

The current study examines the processes by which early childhood educators and their mentors negotiated the social and emotional aspects of their working relationships.

The participants were twenty-five mentors. These mentors worked with over 200 infant/toddler caregivers and preschool educators as part of a community-wide professional development initiative.
Qualitative data were obtained through surveys, interviews, and focus groups and analyzed using grounded theory.

Findings suggested that mentors and mentees recognized the emotional nature of their relationship and explicitly negotiated their roles and boundaries within the relationship. Mentors recognized differences in educators' readiness to change, and this impacted how they negotiated their relationships with mentees.
Finally, mentors continually reflected on their own interpersonal skills through interaction with their supervisors and other mentors.

Implications for early educator mentoring programs are discussed.

Updated: Jan. 04, 2011