Date of Award

Spring 2006

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Ann Diller


This qualitative study uses a grounded theory methodology to examine how seven teacher mentors in two formalized New Hampshire public school mentoring programs conceptualize their roles and what happens to that conceptualization as they go through their first year of mentoring. The findings suggest that mentors, who have a history of engagement in buddy support, have difficulty shifting their conceptualization of supporting new teachers from the directive practices characteristic of buddy support to the relational practices that characterize "learning-focused" mentoring. Simply having a formal mentoring structure does not ensure such a shift. In fact, a number of major drawbacks to mentoring were observed. In addition to data collected from the two public school mentoring programs, anecdotal data of three participants in a New Hampshire state pilot mentoring program (Project ACROSS) are also examined and discussed in order to illuminate program structures that may lead to professional development for both mentor and mentee. In conclusion, I propose an approach to mentoring where all teachers engage in co-mentoring and the learning community supports new teacher development rather than having a single mentor take on the sole responsibility.