Mentor preparation: A qualitative study of STEM master teacher professional development

Heather Lynn Click-Cuellar, University of Texas at El Paso


The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 has required districts to staff all classrooms with highly qualified teachers. Yet, retaining certified teachers in the profession has been a national concern, especially among new teachers who leave at alarming rates within their first three years. This comes at a heavy cost to districts financially and in trying to maintain highly qualified status, but also to the continuity and effective education of students. Mentoring has been identified by many researchers as a plausible solution to reducing attrition rates for beginning teachers. ^ In this dissertation, I conducted qualitative research to explore and understand the perceptions of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Master Teachers' mentoring professional development in the context of the Master Teacher Academies program situated at Desert State University (pseudonym), a large institution located on the Texas-Mexico border. Additionally, I examined the reported teaching self-efficacy of STEM Master Teachers (mentors), as well as that of their novice teachers (mentees). Another purpose of the study was to investigate the forms and elements of interactions between these mentors and their mentees. Participants of this study were Texas certified Master Mathematics or Master Science Teachers, and their novice mathematics or science teacher mentees; all of whom teach in a high need U.S. Mexico border city school district serving a student population that is over 93% Hispanic. A grounded theory approach was used in examining and analyzing mentor and mentee perceptions and experiences through case studies. A constructivist framework was utilized to derive findings from interviews and the review of documents and contribute a diverse context and population to the literature. The study reveals conclusions and recommendations that will benefit educators, universities, school districts, and policy makers in regard to teacher mentor preparation.^

Subject Area

Education, Mathematics|Education, Administration|Education, Teacher Training|Education, Sciences

Recommended Citation

Click-Cuellar, Heather Lynn, "Mentor preparation: A qualitative study of STEM master teacher professional development" (2014). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3623386.