Differences of Mentoring Experiences across Grade Span among Principals, Mentors, and Mentees

Feb. 15, 2013

Source: Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, Vol. 21, No. 1, 28–58, 2013
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes of mentors, mentees, and principals pertaining to the first year of mentoring in an induction program.

A survey containing items on demographics, administrative support, and mentoring program components was administered via the internet to 998 teachers, 791 mentors, and in print to 73 principals.


The findings revealed that principals noted little concern with program components and appeared the most satisfied with the mentoring program as a whole. Subsequently, mentors had more positive attitudes than did mentees across grade span, and mentees at the elementary school level had the most positive attitudes among all mentees across grade span.
In addition, it was most important to elementary school teachers to participate in mentoring, and also to observe veteran teachers as part of their mentoring activities. Not only did elementary school teachers have a stronger desire to be mentored, but also they reported a higher satisfaction of mentoring experiences.

Qualitative analyses revealed that problems encountered by mentoring teams included: (a) mentors matched with mentees who were not at the same grade level; (b) mentors and mentees experiencing a lack of time; (c) personality conflicts between mentors and mentees; and (d) poor coaching skills on the part of the mentor. In addition, mentees wanted mentors who possessed personal skills, rapport, and initiative as well as a working understanding of the school routines. Concurrently, mentors wanted a better understanding of how to mentor.


The authors discussed implications for mentoring programs.
Mentoring programs should be systemic in nature and integrated into school climate––and not just additive in nature. Notwithstanding, administrators also might consider the important structural components in the format of programs.
With respect to the challenge of time, and as noted by mentees, mentors, and principals in the present study, demands on teachers are viable and real issues with which to deal. Therefore, the following recommendations for mentoring programs were formed from this study to include: (a) teachers who have experienced positive mentoring relationship themselves should be mentors; (b) experiences should be a collaborative partnership and within the school mission; (c) guidelines should be established before a semester begins and include a handbook of basic protocols; and (d) a clear mission/vision of mentoring programs should be outlined at the onset of mentoring with inclusion of collaborative learning.
In closing, the authors provided a juxtaposition of views from mentees, mentors, and principals across various grade spans and experiences overall, which were subjectively quite different, with elementary school mentees having both more motivation and satisfaction pertaining to mentoring.

Updated: Aug. 30, 2016