The Effects of a Mentoring Program on Teacher Retention Rates at Tashkent International School



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Teacher retention has become a focus of many schools and school systems in recent years. The United States, United Kingdom, and Australia have grappled with increasing attrition rates among new teachers. International schools experience similar rates to varying degrees. There are similarities among countries and international schools with respect to why teachers leave schools or the teaching profession.

The high monetary cost of teacher attrition and the upheaval in school culture and curriculum development warrant further investigation into teacher attrition prevention strategies. This study explored the effectiveness of a mentoring program for newly hired teachers at Tashkent International School (TIS). By investigating first whether the TIS program has achieved its intended outcome and, second, by determining characteristics of the program that have best achieved this goal, the study showed a clear path forward regarding mentoring that may inform similar international schools as they consider strategies to manage teacher retention.

The purpose of this mixed method study was to examine the effects of a mentoring program on school-related factors that affect teacher retention rates in an international school. Eight teachers employed at Tashkent International School from kindergarten to grade 5 who participated in a mentoring program were surveyed, interviewed, and observed in weekly meetings. The data collected were analyzed according to themes grouped as early intervention, a supportive communal culture, and distributive leadership. New teacher survey results and interviews indicated that the mentoring program positively affected teachers? perceptions of the school?s collaborative culture and the level of support provided by the school. Data collected from mentor-teacher surveys and interviews indicated that lead teachers benefitted from leadership opportunities. Observation data reflected a focus on student work in meetings and a questioning/coaching model used by mentors.

While the study revealed these positive aspects of the program, analysis also revealed areas of possible improvements. These areas include formalizing responsibilities of lead teachers and providing ongoing training to increase the lead teacher capacity as mentor. The results of this study suggest that international schools should consider adopting a new teacher mentoring program as a teacher retention strategy.