Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Kristine Reed


Teacher attrition rates continue to hold a place in education. Beginning teachers are leaving the profession for a variety of reasons, but lack of support is amongst the top of the list (Borman & Dowling, 2008; Darling-Hammond, 2003; Ingersoll & Strong, 2011; Rajendran et al., 2020). Induction programs, with an emphasis on mentoring, have been implemented in districts across states in an attempt to provide the support that beginning teachers indicate they need. This study examined the lived experiences of first through third year secondary mathematics teachers who had experienced mentoring and remained in teaching. Seven teachers from two school districts in an upper Midwestern state participated in the study. All seven mathematics teachers had three years or less of teaching experience. Data were collected through individual interviews and focus groups. Data were analyzed by coding significant words and statements with patterns identified that developed into themes. The four themes that emerged were varied types of support, informal supports from colleagues, observations and feedback, and unclear expectations. Based on the findings, beginning secondary mathematics teachers indicated that their experiences included varied types of support from their mentor. The types of supports identified included personal, instructional, collegial, and classroom management support. Beginning secondary mathematics teachers also experienced informal supports from colleagues in their school. Proximity to these colleagues and availability to respond to questions, especially content-specific questions, were reasons that participants reached out to colleagues instead of their formal mentors. Observations and feedback were a valued part of the mentoring experience and participants welcomed the constructive feedback to grow professionally. Lastly, participants experienced unclear expectations throughout their mentoring experience. The conclusions from the data revealed that mentoring relationships look different for each individual and mentoring relationships have room to grow in their ability to optimally support beginning teachers. The findings provide an understanding of the phenomenon of mentoring experienced by first through third year secondary mathematics teachers.

Subject Categories

Adult and Continuing Education


Teacher attrition, Beginning teachers

Number of Pages



University of South Dakota