School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Kimberly Lester


Beginning Teacher, Efficacy Beliefs, Mentoring, Reciprocity, Special Education


Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration


Despite a growing body of literature on the needs of beginning teachers, little is known about the impact of mentoring on K-12 beginning teachers’ efficacy and commitment to teaching, and why beginning teachers in special education received less mentoring than their counterparts in general education. This qualitative phenomenological study compared the experiences of nine beginning teachers in general education and special education, factors within the school (e.g., principal, mentor coordinator, mentor), and characteristics of the teaching assignment. The central question was: What are the experiences of K-12 beginning teachers who receive mentoring? The sample consisted of 22 participants (9 teachers, 8 mentors, 4 principals, and a mentor coordinator). Data were collected from interviews, observations, a focus group, and site documents. Three themes emerged through the use of thematic analysis proposed by Moustakas (1994). The themes were: (a) beginning teachers require molding and shaping to impact school culture; (b) beginning teachers imitate to replicate school culture; and (c) a mindset of support impacts school culture. The central question and 6 sub-questions were answered thematically from the participants’ perspectives. Textural and structural descriptions were integrated, which resulted in the essence of participants’ experiences: The flow effect: A culture of reciprocity.