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Troubling the taken-for-granted : mentoring relationships among women teachers Thompson, Merrilee Susan 1999

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Troubling the taken-for-granted: Mentoring relationships among women teachers by Merrilee Susan Thompson B.Ed., The University of British Columbia, 1973 M.Ed., The University of British Columbia, 1986 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL F U L F I L L M E N T OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES The Centre for the Study of Curriculum and Instruction We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A December 1999 (c) Merrilee Susan Thompson, 1999 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. i W r e AVv SV U J, 1 Curriculum a n i The University of British Columbia 1^  £rx V U c V l 0» Vancouver, Canada Date Ckmu-ftr^/ 4 ^2(10 0 DE-6 (2/88) 11 Abstract This dissertation challenges the traditional patriarchal conception of mentoring, in which mentors are cast as experts and the task for novices is to assimilate their mentors' knowledge and proposes an alternate feminist conception in which mentors and novices are learner-teachers. The conception is based on practices of conversation and shared experience, through which mentoring partners develop trust and reciprocity. Through reciprocity, mentoring dyads move to a practice of thoughtful critique, in which they trouble taken-for-granted structures within schools. Central to feminist mentoring are issues of concern to the teachers involved, including issues of gender, race and culture as experienced in their own lives. To explore the conception of feminist mentoring, a qualitative research study was undertaken. Data about four mentoring dyads and one triad were collected through a series of structured interviews with individuals and pairs of teachers during one school year. The interviews were recorded and transcribed, and the resulting transcripts were analyzed for common themes. It was found that more successful dyads formed on the basis of the beginning teacher's choice and involved considerable time commitment. Successful mentoring dyads participated in frequent conversations, both casual and planned, in which they talked about students, shared resources, and co-planned curriculum. Conversations centred on both work-related and personal issues. The most successful dyad created numerous shared experiences which provided opportunities for the partners to learn reciprocally. Mentoring conversations and shared experiences led to two complementary ways of coming to know about teaching. In percolated learning the beginning teacher came to know based on hearing and thinking about the mentor's experiences. Thoughtful critique is a more deliberate mode of learning in which the mentor and beginning teachers intentionally address issues of common concern. Ill Although there was some evidence of explicit thoughtful critique emerging within the mentorships, critique was expressed tentatively and cautiously. I suggest that the conditions of schools discourage critique and beginning teachers feel discouraged from being overtly critical. Mentoring dyads may need to work together for more than one year to develop a sufficient level of trust to move to a more critical feminist reconception of mentoring that supports and challenges both mentors and beginning teachers. iv TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract ii Table of Contents iv List of Figures and Tables x Acknowledgements xi Chapter 1 The Problem 1 I. Prologue II. Beginning 6 III. A Feminist Pedagogy for Mentoring 7 Mentoring as a Learning Relationship 8 IV. The Research Questions 10 How do Women Teachers Co-construct Mentoring Relationships? 10 How Should a Feminist Pedagogy for Mentoring be Constructed? 12 V . Clarification of Terms and Definitions 15 VI. The Portal Mentoring/Induction Program 17 VII. Entering into the Research Study 18 VIII. Organization of the Chapters 18 Chapter 2 A Critical Review of the Literature 21 I. Mentoring: A Strategy to Support "Becoming" Teachers 22 Conceptions of Mentoring 23 Mentoring and Beginning Teaching 25 II. Studies into Mentoring 26 Case Studies of Beginning Teachers 27 Policy Reports 30 V III. Mentoring and Induction Programs 34 Goals of Mentoring Programs 35 The Practices of Mentoring 38 Roles and Responsibilities 40 IV. Summary 47 Chapter 3 A Feminist Pedagogy of Mentoring 49 I. Introduction 49 II. Conceptualizing a Feminist Pedagogy for Mentoring 49 Mentoring as Pedagogy 50 Mentoring as Relationship 51 A Feminist Practice of Mentoring 54 III. A Feminist Conception of Knowledge for Teaching 58 Formal Knowledge: Knowledge-for-practice 60 Practical Knowledge: Knowledge-in-practice 63 Beyond dichotomous conceptions of knowledge: Knowledge-of-practice 66 IV. Conclusion 71 Chapter 4 Methodology 74 I. Introduction 74 II. Rationale for the Study 75 III. The Methodology: Case Study 76 IV. Pilot Studies 78 V . The Research Design 81 Site and Sample Selection 81 The Participants 84 The Interviews 90 Data Analysis 95 Trustworthiness of the Study 99 VI. Summary 111 vi Chapter 5 Marie and Samantha 113 I. The Characters and the Setting 114 Choosing a Mentor 116 II. Beginning the Relationship 118 The Study Skills Club 120 Plagiarism and Racism 122 The Resource Teacher Role 126 III. Deepening the Relationship 130 Science: A Subject, a Process and a Way of Knowing 132 Being Evaluated: A Shared Experience 134 IV. Separation: Samantha's Maternity Leave 137 V . Summary: Themes of this Case 142 VI. Conclusion 144 Chapter 6 Sue Ann, Emily, and Tie 146 I. Introduction 146 II. The Characters and the Setting 147 Choosing her Mentors 152 III. Emerging Problems 153 Friendship and Betrayal 155 Different Expectations of What Mentoring Should Be 157 Different Ways of Coming to Know about Teaching 162 Getting an Equal Share of Attention 165 IV. Moving On 166 Shared Experiences 167 Problems: Simmering Below the Surface 169 V . Ending the Year 175 Never Again 178 VI. Summary: A Failure to Connect 180 VII. Conclusions 183 vii Chapter 7 The Three Additional Cases 185 I. Introduction 185 II. Taylor and Alisa: From Function to Non-functional 185 The Characters and the Setting 185 Working Together 188 A Subject-Centred Relationship 195 Endings 197 Discussion: Whose Transgression? 199 III. Michelle and Jenny: Good Intentions 200 The Characters and the Setting 200 Working Together: Shared Experiences 204 Problems: Different Styles and Making Judgments 208 Discussion: Mentoring Mis-placed 210 IV. Maggie and Elizabeth: Too Close for Comfort? 212 The Characters and the Setting 212 Working Together: Shared Experiences 215 Changes in the Mentorship 219 Endings 221 Discussion: Growing Together Despite Challenging Circumstances 223 V . Conclusions about These Cases 224 Chapter 8 Structured Interview Tasks 226 I. Introduction 226 II. The "Word" Task 226 The Word Task: Congruency in Choices 228 Emerging Themes and Issues 229 III. The "Bad Job" Task 231 The Bad Job: Resistance and Compliance 233 Vlll V . The Pie Graph Task 236 Pie Graph Task: Content and Process 240 VI. Summarizing the Three Tasks 242 Chapter 9 The Research findings 243 I. Introduction 243 Recognizing Context 243 Responses to the Research Questions 245 II. Co-constructing Mentoring Relationships 246 Mentorships as Caring Colleagueships and Friendships 247 Mentoring as Conversation 250 Percolated Knowing Within Mentorships 260 Mentorships as Mutual and Reciprocal Learning Relationships 262 Mentoring as Shared Experiences 263 Summary 265 III. Comparing These Mentorships to a Conception of Feminist Pedagogy for Mentoring 266 The Right to Choose 267 Trust Scaffolding Relationship 268 Shared Experiences and The Development of Reciprocity 269 Widening the Circle of Support 274 Thoughtful Critique Within the Dyad of Practices and Structures 276 Summary 279 IV. Conclusion 280 Chapter 10 Issues, Implications and Conclusion 281 I. Introduction 281 II. What's Important about These Stories? 281 ix III. Critical Issues Emerging from the Study 282 Responding to Diversity in Beginning Teachers 282 Valuing Authority and Autonomy within Mentoring 284 Considering the Various Tasks ofthe Mentor 287 IV. How does this Feminist Analysis Deepen our Understanding of Mentoring? 294 V . What Needs to be Done Next and Who Should Do It? 296 We Need to Act Now 296 We Need to Create Programs that Prioritize, Support and Critique 297 We Need to Support Mentors 298 We Need to Direct Resources to Mentoring 298 We Need to Keep Learning about Mentoring 299 VI. Final Words 301 References 303 Appendix A - The interview protocols 313 Appendix B - The concluding survey 318 X List of Figures and Tables Figure 1. The word task 227 Figure 2. Words chosen in the word task 227 Figure 3. The bad job task 231 Figure 4. Responses to the bad job 232 Figure 5. The pie graph task 236 Figure 6. Marie and Samantha's graph 237 Figure 7. Sue Ann and Emily's graph 238 Figure 8. Sue Ann and Tie's graph 238 Figure 9. Taylor and Alisa's graph 239 Figure 10. Michelle and Jenny's graph 239 Figure 11. Maggie and Elizabeth's graph 240 Table 1. Elements of Successful Mentoring 279 xi Acknowledgements It would be impossible to recognize all those who have mentored me through this project. Many are acknowledged in the text of this dissertation. Others, I wish to specifically thank herein. I wish first to thank my committee members, Gaalen Erickson, Pamela Courtenay Hall, Peter Grimmett, and Linda Stanley, for their patience and critical support through this process. At all times they held in mind my purposes as they pushed me to re-search, re-think and re-write. I want to thank the teachers who devoted so much time to this project. They gracefully endured my questioning and probing and it is their work that grounds my research. I want to acknowledge my parents whose belief in the importance of education fueled my studies over many years. I thank my stepson Andrew for his patient and efficient typing of papers and transcription of many of the interviews. Finally I dedicate this dissertation to my husband, Doug Smart, in loving appreciation for his unwavering support throughout this project. 1 C H A P T E R O N E : T H E P R O B L E M Prologue Journal/entry May 23, 1997 Con^atulatOon*! Today Oyyour day. You) re/ off to-Great Place*! You)re/ off avid away I You/ have/ brainy in/your head. You/ have/ feet On/your ihoey. You/ can/ yteer yourself any direction/ you/ choose/. You/re/on/your own/. And/you/hnow whatyou/hnx>w A ndyou/ are/the/ gay whxrU/ decide/ where/ to- go-. I yvcppoye/, like/ the/ character On/the/Voctor Seayy ytory Oh/the/ Place* You/U/Gcr (Gjei*el/, 1990), I ejected/to chooye/ my direction* of my heqirwinfyteachinfy. In/bome/wayy, I way able/to-. I way hired in/ february despite/ nothavOnjg/ completed/ my teacher eaucation/prograwt/or my fOnabpracticam/. When/1 fOnl&hed/ my practvcum/atthe/end/ofMay, the/principalatthe/ychool ayked/ me/ to- begin/ teaching there/ On/September. I had no- long/ awcioay wait over the/yumm^to-fOnd/OutOfl had a job-. I knew what grade/1 would be/ teaching/; I wa*able/tobe$in/planriing< I wayhlred/to-teacha/grade/ my teacher educaticrn/pro^am/hadpreparea^ Additionally, On/ many wayyl way, ayBuUoagh(1987) might have/deter Obed/, "likely to- do weW' (p. 232). My mother way a/teacher. I had worked/ On/ a day-care/ centre/ while/ goinfy through wniOveryOty. I knew a/lot about young/ children/. 2 I wuy hired/ to- be/ one/ of three; hindergarten/ teachers at Oldfield School.1 Luckily, the/principaldecided/thatyince/hvndergarten/ wuyu- new program/ inthe/district, he/wouldhire/twcrbeginning/tea^ teacher. WhenI arrived/at the/bchoolinAuguttl metK.utie/and Martha/. X.utie/und/1 were/ brand/ new: naiA/e/, tilealCstCo and/ extremely confident. The/ third/ teacher, Martha/, had/ many yeary of experience/ in teaching-. Setting/up my (duyyroom/ wuy both Ampler and/ more/ complex/ than I hud/ imagined/. There/ had/ been a/ ruil strike/ over the/ yuvvvmer and/ many of our newly purchased/ materiuly were/ bitting/ in ruil cary bomewhere/ ucroyy Canada/. There/ wuyn/t a/ lot to- arrange/ or org<zni%e/l I began teAxching^ hindergarten with borrowed cruyony, play dough/that I made/at home/, anddreyy-up cloth&yl p urchuyed/ at thrift store*. Some/ of the/ excitement of the/first few we^ehywuythe/contiruMA^urri^ things. It didnt occur to- me/ that thiy wuyproblematic. I hud u- cluyyroom/, I hud my own/ytudenty, and I hud/helpfuh collexxgu&y. KatLe/undl became/friendy. Martha/became/our mentor. Itwuya/SMCce^yfuh coUegCal relationship: her experience/ and knowledge/ of the/ bybtem/ balanced/and-bidyytantiated^ We/planned/ together. Martha/g<we/uy ideuyto-supportdifficult btud^enty and prohLemati/yparenty. She/ challenged/th&princApuhwh^ beamed/unrea^onxdyle/to-uy. She/ negotiated/ with him/ how lU^xdergarten unit plany and ]c^ndergarten report cardy would looh. She/ showed/ uy that bchoob adrmniytrutory were/ not omnipotent, they couldbe/ challenged/. The/ yyytem/ could be/ questioned/. Martha/ wuy ulyo open to- und interested/ in the/ thing* we/ wanted/ to- try. We/ tried/ them/ together. It wuy a/ happy and bucce*bfuh experience/. 1 A l l school and individual names in this paper are pseudonyms. 3 The/ following/year, due/fa down*i%ing>, Katie/ was transferred/ to- a> different school. My mentor ship conti^\aed/and/the^ reciprocal/. Martha/ and/1 teawv-taaght In/ a/ double/ classroom/. I wanted/to-try an/ integrated/ day, in/ which/ there/ would be/ few teacher -directed/ transition*, and much more/choice/for children/. We/ implemented/ the/ plow and/developed/ itthroughthe/ year. The/next year, I leftthe/ school/ to move/ on/to-a/new teachingassignment. I yaw le*yof Martha, cdthoughour friendship continued/. Over time/, our relationship lessened/and/finally diyyipated/ a* I formed other professional/ alliance*. But my appreciation/of it remain*. Martha/wa*the/fUrytofmany mentory I have/had. The/next one/way Vawn/, my yecond/ team/-teachtn^partner for several/years. Vawn/hcul/co gift for teaching grade/ one/ children/. She/wa*able/todlc^gnoye/leurnLn^ suggestremedial/strategies. She/hada wicked/sense/of'-humour. I learned/a/ great dealfrom/her. When/Vawn/and/1 moved/to-anew school/, I met Tdkaho, a/ somewhat unusual/ schoolprincipaV, who- trusted teachery enough toquestion/them/ aboutpractice/. Takako challenged/ my complacency about my teaching/. She/ asked/question* aboutteaching/and/learning/that I had never heard before/. She/ kept telling/ me/ she/ way trying/ to- make/ my job easier, but it felt a/lot harder to- me/. Overtime/I came/uy reall^e/the/value/ of question* and/the/ questioning, that trying/to see/ schoolfrom/the/children) y perspective/ could be/ both enabling- and disabling- to teachers, that sometime* feeling/ disabled/helped/me/tobe/a-better teacher, or at least a/ more/sensitive/one/. I discovered/that I had my own/gift for understanding/ children/and/that I could/ask/ good question*too. Martha, Vawn, und Takako are/ only three/of the/ mentors I have/had during/ my career. Mentors have/ made/ me/ believe/1 can do- more/ than/1 thought I could. They have/ challenged/ me/tobe/a-better person and/a/better teacher. They have/frustrated/ me/, angered/ me/, made/ me/ laugh, and made/ me/ cry. Sometime* I haven t understood that they were/ mentory until/ they were/gone/. I ytillhear many of their voice* und/ incorporute/ in/ my teaching' many of the/thing* I learned/from/them/. After many yeary u* u- cluyyroom/ teacher, I worked' a& a/faculty u*yociate/ in wteacher edMxationprogrum/. The/ytudent teacher y ypent 12 month* learning- to- be/ teachery. Ay I worked/with th^vv daring-the/fiv^^ I rexxli^ed/that al^houghthey were/ ready in many wuyy, in many other wuyy they ytidshads much/tcrlecwn/ ubo I remember hoping-that they would me^ coUyea^acir who wovC^ yupport them/uy they continued/ to- learn/, a* they asked/question*, and uy they explored/ idea* about texuching-. WhenI returned/to- my ychocrldiytrict, I diycovered/thut my new ychooVwuy to-pilot u- mentoring-progrum/ that the/ district hud introduced/. The/vice/ principal asked/me/to menuyr one/of tw& ychooLfor September. We/firyt met in June/at the/diytrict orientation/ yesyLon for mentory and beginning- teachery. Kyrw, my beginning teacher, wuy brightandbubbVy. She/wa*keento-beginmeeting-andtalking/about teaching: fresh from/ my experience/ working- w ith ytudent teachery, I wondered/how to-be/u mentor. Ay u faculty u*yociate/, I had/beenboth u-yupporter and an eA/aluator. It wuy my job to- respond to- ytudent teachery, but ul*crto-introduce/ new idea* and to- intervene/ directly where/1 yaw problem*. Mentoring-, I thought, wuybased/onbeing-cxyUjeagae*. It would-not be/my place/to evaluate/or intervene/. Aya/mentor, I wouldbe/only a/ yupporter. K.yru-und/1 met together, firyt other request, over the- yuvvvmer to plan, then inthe/lastweek/ofAugustto- yet up her room/, and/throughout the-year. I learned- to- be/ u- mentor. I learned/ that mentoring- take* time/: time/1hat wuy yom£ti4ne* difficult to f^^ I learned/ that mentoring' involves answering- question*. Often, because/1 too-5 wa* new tothe/school, I didnthnow the-answers. Where/ were/the/textbooks Stored/? Why did/we/ use/thi*particalar math series? Together, Kyra/and I found/answers. We/spenta-lotoftiAne/talking^ahou^ We>spent more/ time/ talking/ about evaluation/ and/ report card*. Kyra/ suggested/ we/ try student-led/ conference*. She/ attended/ a- workshop, gathered/ materials, and/together we/decided/how we/would do-our conferences: The/student-led conferences were/very successful/. We/ went to workshops together. We/went out to lunch together. Gradually, because/the/ other beginning/teacher was not feeling/ supported/ by her mentor, we/ "adopted/" SharU Asa/ triad- we/ attended/ more/ workshops, had/ more/lunches together, andexplored/ criteria/- referenced evaluation. I learned that mentoring- also means asking- questions and encouraging/different kind* moving/ from/ "how," to "why" and "why not?" At some/point, our mentorship slipped/ into friendship. At the/end of that year, I applied/for and washiredto a/job- in/the- district board/ office/. There/, one/of the/projects I coordinated/ was the- mentoring/ program/. I suppose/I took with me/, a* tacit knowledge/, alL of 1he/ experiences I hadhad a* a-beginning/teacher, and/ all/ of the/ experience* I had/had-withbeginning/teachersatthe/univers and during- my year of mentoring-. I believed/that beginning/teachers knew a lot about teaching/ and that they needed/ supporttoboth realise/ and contextual!^ that' knowledge/. I knew that mentoring' involved/enhancing/thi* understanding/, not remediating/ it. Several/year slater, I bring/the/same/understanding*, plus many more/, to this dissertation. Ay I write/, I think/of Martha, Vawn/, Takako, Kyra/, and many other colleague*. 6 Beginning Last year, I had the parents from hell. I was constantly confronted with-why are you teaching whole language, why don't you do phonics, where is spelling, you're too young, how much experience do you have-and on and on. I had some really hard battles. I never thought they would do that. I thought they would love me. (Melissa, a second-year teacher) For beginning teachers, the transition from university teacher education programs to real teaching jobs means crossing a complex and confusing chasm. Teaching is not simple, and the realities of busy classrooms, active children, and parents from hell arrive crushingly quickly. How do beginning teachers manage to survive and thrive in such settings? What is being done and what can be done to mitigate these challenges and assist novices in successfully crossing the bridge into teaching careers? Traditionally, beginning teachers have either survived in isolation or were lucky enough, as I was, to be naturally supported by caring colleagues. In an attempt to create more consistently supportive beginnings, many jurisdictions have instituted mentoring programs to induct beginning teachers into their teaching careers (Cole, 1991; Gold, 1996). Such programs are presumed to offer emotional support and to convey to beginners beneficial knowledge about teaching. Mentoring is even discussed as a reform strategy (Fullan with Steigelbauer, 1991) presumed to enhance the development of both novice and experienced teachers. When the goals of mentoring programs focus upon the sharing of knowledge about teaching, the resulting mentorships presumably become pedagogical relationships. Such goals create lofty and grandiose expectations, and in the light of such expectations there is a clear and strong need to look closely at what actually happens within mentoring relationships. The period of beginning teaching has been extensively studied, resulting in a vast, growing corpus of literature focussing on transitions into teaching; the socialization processes involved in becoming a teacher; the knowledge base required of beginning teachers; and the shape, goals, duration, and effects of beginning teacher support programs. I propose that this dissertation will contribute to the literature a thorough 7 examination of mentoring relationships, in terms of the pedagogical processes of mentoring, and in terms of the content or "curriculum" of the relationships. I wil l argue that mentoring relationships are pedagogical in nature but that they should not incorporate a traditional pedagogy. Because they are collegial relationships, more egalitarian forms of pedagogy must be operationalized. In fact, many mentoring relationships exhibit characteristics and dilemmas common to feminist pedagogy. Further, when mentoring functions collaboratively, there is a possibility for mentorships to be epistemological relationships (Nelson, 1993), in which knowledge is constructed and standards of justification are shared. It is this possibility that incites my curiosity. A Feminist Pedagogy for Mentoring In broad terms, feminist pedagogy demands a reconsideration of knowledge, systems, and structures taken for granted as neutral within western society. Feminist pedagogy focuses on the relationship between the learner and the teacher, and on the curriculum or knowledge under examination within the relationship. Shrewsbury (1993) offered the following definition of feminist pedagogy: Feminist pedagogy is a theory about the teaching/learning process that guides our choices of classroom practices by providing criteria to evaluate specific educational strategies and techniques in terms of the desired course goals or outcomes. These evaluative criteria include the extent to which a community of learners is empowered to act responsibly toward one another and the subject matter and to apply that learning to social action, (p. 8) This statement might be used to describe a number of pedagogies; a central and crucial element of feminist pedagogy is its "unique" and central attention to gender (Briskin, 1990). I further explore how women teachers' mentorships focus on gender issues in Chapter 3. I believe that when this kind of pedagogical mentorship develops-when a beginning teacher and a mentor talk about teaching and share experiences that centre on knowledge about teaching and being a teacher-the possibility exists for mentoring to be 8 epistemological in nature. In Chapter 2 I will further explain epistemological relationships, based on Nelson's (1993) model of epistemological communities. I propose in this dissertation to examine the possibilities for and paradoxes of mentoring, distilling a framework of feminist pedagogy to support my analysis of cases of mentoring. Further, my discussion wil l draw upon my personal experiences with beginning teachers, along with the research data and mainstream discussions of beginning teaching. In this study, I am concerned with the experiences of beginning teachers and the experiences of those who support them-their mentors. I will argue that beyond being a nice efficient way of welcoming new teachers to the profession of teaching, mentoring has the potential to be a rich, powerful context for both participants to come to know about being a teacher. I believe educators and teacher educators have not explored or developed the potentiality of mentoring as a pedagogical and epistemological relationship. Mentoring as a Learning Relationship From the day of our birth, we learn about our world and ourselves through relationships. As parents respond to our questions of "what's that?" and "why," they name the objects and experiences around us. According to Code (1993): Other people are the point of origin of a child's entry into the material/physical environment both in providing or inhibiting access to that environment-in making it-and in fostering entry into the language with which children learn to name. (p. 32-33) Nelson (1993) agreed that "interpersonal experience is necessary for individuals to have beliefs and to know" (p. 122). As we grow, we continue to learn through relationships due to the fact that we meet many people-teachers, friends and colleagues, among others. Each relationship reveals to us different knowledge: knowledge of the other, knowledge of ourselves, knowledge of our experiences, and knowledge of the world. Of course we 9 also come to know through our own direct experiences and our reflections on those experiences, but it is often in relationships that we clarify and express those understandings, and test them against the experience of the others with whom we are in relation. In effect we develop within these relationships shared standards to justify our knowing. Journal/ Entry February 16, 1996 The/ importance/ of relationship in knowing/ came/ to- wie/ vividly several y eary ago-. I wuy teaching- a/ curriculum/ courye/ in Early Childhood/ Education/. Ay I tuughtubouttopicyl wuy le*yyure/of, I had/the/sensation/thatyomeone-else- wuy speaking- through my voice-. WhenI ta-ught u- session-on-mathematics, itwasViane/yvoice/1 heard. WhenI taught art, I heardElla/y voice- speaking-. This wuy not a/ purunormal/ moment. I becaM^e/aware/that when I talked/about partUMlar ideas related- to- childreny learning-, I used-the/ manneriyms and intewations of people/from/whom/1 learned/those/ ideas and attitudes. Thus notordy did/1 learn/throughtfa but in some- wuyy the- relationyhipy percolated/ into- my knowing- andbecame/part of my learning-and of my being-. The/firyt inkling-1 had/that relatixmship undknowing-were/tightly bonded/ within mentoring-was when I heard u-story aboutKyra/, the-beginning-teacher whom/1 hud mentored/. The-year after I left the- school she- wuy involved/ in interviewing-a- Clasyroom/Assistant. Im the/ interview, the/vice/ principal uyked/ Kyra/ to- describe/ her classroom/. Ay Kyra- described/ her program/, she- looked/ up toward one- corner of the- room/. The- vice- principal recogniqed/thiS'USOv\£/ofmy mannerisms when I was diycussing-philcnophical ideas. Whatthe/vix^principul did not know, was that I hud absorbed/this mannerism/from/ Tukako, one/ of my own/ mentory. 10 M y personal experiences of being mentored and of mentoring led me to wonder about the constitution of mentorships. How did mentors conceive of their roles? What did beginning teachers expect from mentoring? What was to be gained by school districts or schools in suggesting, forming and supporting these relationships? Were mentoring relationships effective in inducting and supporting beginning teachers? Why? How? Were they more than just a nice idea? Could they be considered to be pedagogical relationships? Was sharing or constructing knowledge central to mentoring? These and many other questions have swirled in my mind for several years. The study presented here represents an attempt to address some of these questions. The Research Questions The questions that frame my study are: 1. How do women teachers co-construct mentoring relationships? What is the substantive content and process of mentoring among beginning teachers and mentor teachers? 2. How should a feminist pedagogy for mentoring be constructed and to what extent do the mentoring relationships described in my study reflect this representation of a feminist pedagogy for mentoring? How do Women Teachers Co-construct Mentoring Relationships? In synthesizing the first question, I am interested in learning how, in the absence of clear, ongoing external direction, women teachers in the roles of mentor and beginning teacher initially form and then subsequently develop their mentorships. Despite calls for more support for mentors (Feiman-Nemser, 1996) and greater clarity in program orientations (Gold, 1996), in many instances mentor teachers and beginning teachers are the individuals who must shape and direct their relationships. One tenet of feminist pedagogy is that the relationship between the "teacher" and the "learner" must be reconstructed to enable less hierarchical modes of learning. For example, the notion ofthe mid-wife teacher (Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger & Tarule, 1986) is based on a model of connected teaching, in which the teacher reveals her own fallibility, while supporting the student's 11 progress in "articulat[ing] and expanding] their latent knowledge" (p. 217). They "assist students in giving birth to their own ideas, in making their own tacit knowledge explicit and elaborating it" (p. 217). I am interested in examining how mentors and beginning teachers negotiate their relationships and in discovering what exemplars are useful in conceptualizing mentoring. How do mentors and beginning teachers make their first connections? What elements affect beginning teachers' satisfaction with their mentors? What factors affect mentor satisfaction? What kinds of experiences and interactions are key to the development of the relationships? What interactions and experiences are detrimental to the relationships? Journal/ entry September 12, 1996 One/ of the/first meetingsKyra/and/I had/was inthe/last week/ ofAugust, when she/askea-me/tohelp her yet up her classroom/. When I met her inher new classroom/, my first question/ way "how would/you/ like/your room to-look/?" Years later, Kyra-told/ me/ itwasatthatmoment she/hnew she/was a teacher. She/realiqea-thiswasgoing-to-be/her deci^ricrn a^^her responsibility. Interactions and experiences such as setting up Kyra's classroom represent the content and processes of mentoring: the "curriculum" of the mentorship. It is within these experiences that knowledge is developed and examined, articulated and expanded. If mentoring is to be considered a pedagogical relationship, we need to investigate the issues that mentoring dyads address. While many researchers have considered the issue of what beginning teachers should know, their conclusions vary. A . Reynolds (1995) contended that beginning teachers "should have command over the pedagogical principles that wil l enable them to perform the tasks of teaching, especially those interactive tasks required to implement plans and manage the learning environment" (p. 212). Is this a sufficient view ofthe curriculum of mentoring? 12 I wil l examine the interactions of mentors and beginning teachers to discern i f they do, in fact, address the kinds of pedagogical principles that Reynolds advocates. Further, i f beginning teachers and mentors engage in shared experiences of teaching, conferencing and professional development, I will investigate whether such shared experiences provide contexts for expanding the participants' knowing about teaching. Carter and Richardson (1989) asserted that, while there is a considerable body of knowledge that student teachers can acquire, a great deal of learning about teaching cannot occur until the first year of teaching when the "need to know" (p. 406) is real and immediate. It is this immediacy to which mentor teachers can respond. I am interested in understanding how mentors respond and when they intervene. I'm curious about who initiates conversations and shared experiences and how they do so. I want to know what topics, issues and themes beginning teachers and mentors explore together and I want to learn more about the processes they use to share and construct knowledge about teaching. How Should a Feminist Pedagogy for Mentoring be Constructed? The second question reflects a central issue for any study claiming to base its analysis on feminist pedagogy. I will first consider how a feminist pedagogy for mentoring should be constructed and then determine the extent to which the mentoring relationships in my study reflect this representation of feminist pedagogy for mentoring. To undertake this analysis, I wil l first suggest what I believe to be a viable conception of a feminist pedagogy for mentoring. As I have already stated, my analysis demands a questioning or "troubling" (Lather, 1995) of taken-for-granted structures and in particular, a critical focus on relationships and knowledge. Shrewsbury (1993) contended that "feminist pedagogy begins with a vision of what education might be like but frequently is not. This is a vision of the classroom as a liberatory environment in which we, teacher-student and student-teacher, act as subjects, not objects" (p. 8). This vision is at odds with the traditional goal of mentoring, which is to help beginning teachers survive the induction period and to "ease the entry of the beginning teacher into the rigours of classroom life" (Sullivan, 1989, p. 82). Mentoring and induction have to do with bringing in, implying it is the novice teacher who will change to fit the new circumstances of her life, while 13 feminist pedagogy aims to bring out, to change the individual and to change the circumstances. A feminist mentoring practice necessitates a central focus on critique, not only of one's teaching but also of the systems and practices of the institutions of schooling. In undertaking this study, I want to determine i f mentoring relationships can be sites where together, women teachers examine and name underlying taken-for-granted issues of teaching and of being a teacher. I refer to this troubling as thoughtful critique. . Journal/ entry July 28, 1999 Ay I try to- describe/ thoughtful critique/, I am/ reminded/ of time* I have/ myyelf observed/ and experienced/ thoughtful critique/. I remember in 1986, when, after a/ week-long/teachers- strike/, the/student* inthe/grade/seven clayy decided/they were/ going- "cm/ strike?' to- expresy disyutisfuction with the-teachery action*. The- ytudentyhad decided/they would not longer serve/a* croyywalk/or recesy ball monitory, nor would/they be/telephone/ monitory, anywering-the/office-phone-during-lunchhour. Takako, the/principal, could have/lectured/them/onthe-ir respon*ibilitie*. Instead/, yhe/uyhed/them/to-thinh and talk yeriouyly about their plan*. The- next day we/ were/ informed/ that the/student* would- not do- telephone-duty, be-ca-uye/they feltthatwuyu-service/ to- teachery. However, they would undertake/ other monitoring- tuyh*, uythey saw tho*e/a*service-to-other ytudenty. Takako-allowed/and-fucilituted/ the- grade- seven*' troubling- of their taken- for -granted/ tuyh*. They felt free- to- interrupt the- systemic- continuity. They acted/ a* subjecty and communicated/their critique-. A nd it wuy Takakcry troubling- of her principal-uy-uuthoricy role/that acknowledged/their subjectivity. Ay an observer to- thi* event, I learned/thatthere/ wuy space- in ychoo\*for questioning- and interrupting-. 14 To foster thoughtful critique in beginning teachers is to adopt a view of schools as changing and changeable. Mentoring then becomes more than a socialization or assessment procedure and it will need to be grounded in what Fenstermacher (1992) called the "educative agenda." The educative agenda is the "deployment of educational resources on behalf of grand and noble ends" (p. 1). The concept of an educative agenda places value issues-such as the biased nature of curriculum and the power differentials among educators, parents and students-centrally in the consideration of knowledge for teaching. I wonder i f mentoring can be a site where knowledge and values are problematized and where relationship is foregrounded (Gitlin & Thompson, 1995), a space where thoughtful critique is valued, modeled and fostered. M y conceptualization of thoughtful critique as the heart of feminist pedagogy is developed further in Chapter 3. The second research question also requires a comparison of my conception of a feminist pedagogy for mentoring to the stories of real women teachers engaged in mentoring relationships. Recalling Shrewsbury's (1993) suggestion that feminist pedagogy begins with "a vision of the classroom [or school] as a liberatory environment" and realizing instead that classrooms and schools are deeply submerged in patriarchy (Biklen, 1995), it seems obvious that a feminist pedagogy for mentoring will be a site of struggle-not struggle between participants-but a struggle to create and sustain a vision of how schools and classrooms might be different places. For example, Takako's support ofthe Grade 7 students' strike was controversial within the school. Some teachers strongly disapproved of her actions. Others supported the students' action. The cohesion of the school was interrupted and teacher struggled to deal with the consequences of Takako's vision. In many school contexts, asking questions creates trouble. While that troubling is in fact the value of thoughtful critique, is it possible for mentors and beginning teachers, like Takako, to find alternate ways of doing things that create greater equity for all within a very overpowering system? Is a feminist pedagogy for mentoring unrealistic? In what circumstances do women teachers question and interrupt patriarchal structures? How do they challenge pervading traditional norms of, for example, privatization, individualism 15 and ethnocentism? How do they deal with the contradictions of creating supportive mentorships in the conditions of individualism, and do the mentorships, once created, challenge those conditions? It is my intent, within this dissertation, to explore these questions both conceptually and empirically, and to offer my thoughts about the value of a feminist pedagogy for mentoring and some suggestions for developing feminist mentorships. Clarification of Terms and Definitions In examining the literature about beginning teachers, I found several terms used in contradictory contexts. To improve the clarity of my own work, I need to explain my use of terminology about beginning teachers. Specifically, the terms I am attempting to clarify are mentoring, beginning teacher, and induction. Further, I wil l justify my adoption of the term dyad to describe mentoring pairs. M y research specifically concerns the experiences of beginning teachers and their mentors. However, the terms mentoring and beginning teacher are problematic within the literature and their specific usage herein must be defined. Both terms are used within three disparate contexts in scholarly literature: the first involving student teachers and their teacher-supervisors, the second referring to teachers without teacher education programs who are involved in "alternate route" on-the-job-training (Gold, 1996), and the third referring to certificated teachers in their first year of teaching following completion of a teacher education program and their colleague-mentors. This confusion of terms is problematic because the three contexts are different and the relationships between mentor and beginning teacher differ in many ways within the three contexts. One ofthe most significant differences is that supervisors (also called mentors) of student teachers and supervisors of alternate-route candidates are entrusted not only with their development, but also their evaluation. There is a clearly stated, institutionalized hierarchy within such supervisory relationships. In most mentoring programs (supporting certificated teachers), and certainly in the Portal school district program, there are no such requirements for evaluation. Indeed, collegial norms occlude such an evaluative stance. Thus while student 16 teachers and alternative route candidates are "beginning" and their supervising teachers do "mentor" them, the contexts and relationships differ dramatically from that of first year teachers and their more experienced, but still peer, supporters. In this thesis, I use the term "beginning teacher" to refer to qualified and certificated teachers in their first year of classroom teaching following completion of a teacher education program, and "mentoring" to refer to a collegial relationship between a beginning teacher and an experienced teacher. In some instances, the beginning teacher may have had some limited experience as a teacher-on-call (a substitute teacher) and where this is the case, it wil l be so specified. The only exception to this usage is in discussing feminist accounts of mentoring. Most of these occur at the university level, in which a faculty member "mentors" a less experienced colleague or a graduate student. These accounts are important because of their critical feminist analyses and, while it would be preferable to use accounts of school-based feminist mentoring, none exist at this time. I wi l l carefully delineate the links from these accounts to the concepts presented in my thesis. The term "induction" is used within the literature to refer to experiences provided for beginning teachers that do not involve a mentor. These experiences might include orientations to the district or school, workshops, study groups or other activities. Support programs for beginning teachers may use both mentoring and induction as pedagogical practices or they may rely on only one of these practices. Finally, in writing about the mentoring partners, I have chosen to use the term dyad as a descriptor for the pairs. The Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary (1996) defined dyad as "two individuals (such as husband and wife) maintaining a sociologically significant relationship" (p. 361). Given the conception of mentoring that I am developing, I contend that mentoring can be a meaningful relationship within the social dynamics of the school. Rather than the term pair, which simply suggests items that go together, I have selected dyad to indicate the significance of relating together through mentoring. 17 The Portal Mentoring/Induction Program By providing this service, I feel that [this district] really values its teachers and I'm very happy to be working here. (Helen, a beginning teacher) The mentoring program is one ofthe reasons I wanted to come here. That was the biggest reasons I wanted to come. (Taylor 1, p. 16) The study reported on in this dissertation was undertaken in Portal School District, a suburban district which was one of a very few districts in British Columbia that had a formal mentoring and induction program in place. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Portal experienced rapid growth as a community, including a significant increase in school population due to immigration. Changes in provincial education policies regarding the inclusion of special needs learners and a comprehensive curriculum revision resulted in many changes in the schools. The rapid growth ofthe community, plus an increase in the hiring of special education and English as a second language teachers, led to an increase in the teaching population. Between fifty and eighty beginning teachers were hired every year from 1985 to 1997, resulting in a teaching population of about 1400. In response to this rapid growth and with a desire to ease the transition of beginning teachers, Portal School District developed and introduced a mentoring and induction program, which was piloted in 1989 and made universal in 1990. The program was jointly sponsored by the school district and the local teachers' union, and was offered to all beginning teachers. The goals ofthe program were to provide a stimulating and supportive introduction to the profession, to create an environment of professional dialogue and co-learning, and to provide support in dealing with management matters. The project was organized to include the creation of mutually-selected mentorships within schools for each beginning teacher, funds to provide classroom release opportunities for beginning and experienced teachers to co-plan and teach, and a series of 2 Principals usually asked beginning teachers in Portal if there was a teacher on staff they would like to have as a mentor. Principals then asked the experienced teacher if they were available to act as mentor. This way, each participant had some choice in who her partner was. 18 optional workshops on topics identified by beginning teachers, such as assessment and reporting, working with parents, teaching diverse students, and long and short term planning. Between the years of 1991 and 1997,1 coordinated the mentoring program. This time frame includes the period of data collection for this study. Issues emerging from my dual roles as coordinator and researcher will be discussed later in this paper. Entering into the Research Study It was my work in the mentoring program as well as my own experiences as a mentor that led to this research. As a mentor, I was given little guidance about the role. I constructed my own role through experiences with Kyra and through a few conversations with a friend who was a mentor at another school. Although I was fairly satisfied with my relationship with Kyra, I wondered i f I had done enough. As the program coordinator, I developed a component of support for mentors in the program. In addition to the one orientation workshop for both participants in the mentorships, two workshops were scheduled for mentors. The first workshop provided a framework for developing the role of mentor and encouraged mentors to explore issues and concerns. The second workshop focussed on reflective practice and encouraged mentors to move into more reciprocal practices with beginning teachers. Still, I wanted to know more about what really happened within the relationships. Teachers attended workshops only a few times a year. For the rest of the time the relationship lay in their hands as one of many tasks they undertook as teachers. But I, along with other program planners, had grand hopes for these relationships. There was a gap in our knowledge about mentoring. Its realities were hidden. I wanted to find out more and it made sense to me to ask those involved. Organization of the Chapters This dissertation documents my journey of discovery. What began as personal experience and professional interest led me to the literature about beginning teaching. I explored 19 diverse and sometimes contradictory bodies of literature, pertaining to the mentoring and induction of teachers, to conceptions of knowledge for teaching and to feminist perspectives on teaching, mentoring and knowledge. In Chapter 2,1 locate the research problem within the related literature and assert that mentoring is an issue worthy of investigation. I develop the contention that mentoring and induction programs serve a range of specific purposes in the induction of beginning teachers, and that mentoring relationships are planned to accomplish definite intentions. In particular, I will focus on one of these intentions, the communication of knowledge about teaching and being a teacher. M y review of the literature is also a critique, interweaving analysis of mainstream and feminist texts toward a suggestion that we need to revision mentoring relationships. In Chapter 3, drawing upon the literature review, I develop a conception of a feminist pedagogy for mentoring that focuses not only on bringing in beginning teachers, but also on bringing out thoughtful critique as an important aspect of learning and teaching. In addition, I show how feminist mentoring can be both a pedagogical and an epistemological relationship, in which participants engage in intentional and fortuitous co-creation of knowledge. Central to this conception of feminist pedagogy is the notion of thoughtful critique, an intentional practice of troubling taken-for-granted structures and practices of schools. The image of feminist pedagogy for mentoring developed in Chapter 3 responds in part to the second research question because it outlines how a feminist pedagogy for mentoring should be constructed. The first three chapters set the stage for a description of the study, which is a qualitative examination of five mentorships. Chapter 4 delineates the specific research design and processes used to explore the research problem and makes known the issues and dilemmas I dealt with in undertaking research in a familiar educational setting. I explicate the organization of the descriptive cases to be presented in Chapters 5, 6 and 7.1 also introduce the framework I used to analyze the data and to identify shared themes evident in the experiences of these women teachers in their work in mentoring dyads. 20 Chapters 5 through 7 present the case studies of mentoring. Two of these, Marie and Samantha (Chapter 5) and Sue Ann, Tie and Emily (Chapter 6) are presented in more depth because they represent the "best" and "worst" case scenarios within the study. They highlight most distinctly the possibilities and paradoxes of mentoring and reveal many of the shared and "telling" (Sanjek, 1990, p. 409) themes. Chapter 7 recounts the stories of Maggie and Elizabeth, Michelle and Jenny, and Alisa and Taylor, showing a wide range of realities and possibilities for mentoring. Chapter 8 focuses upon three structured tasks that were developed as part of the interview process. These tasks invited teachers to more directly distill meanings from their mentoring experiences. The three structured tasks stand as part ofthe research data but can also be viewed as the mentors' and beginning teachers' own analysis. Thus the tasks provide a useful form of triangulation within the analysis of the cases. In Chapter 9,1 draw together the threads of these cases to respond summarily to the two research questions. I present the themes that emerge across the five cases as well as the themes that are more idiosyncratic. The analysis ofthe cases provides a counterpoint to the conception of feminist mentoring developed in Chapter 3 and interweaving the two leads to a revised theory of what constitutes a successful mentoring relationship. Finally, in Chapter 10,1 wil l address issues that emerge from this research study. These issues suggest areas for further research as well as directions for policy development and for practice. It is my hope that though this study, more can be learned about how women teachers co-construct their mentoring relationships. I anticipate we may learn more about how feminist models of mentoring can best be developed and supported. I also hope to recount five fascinating stories about women teachers working together. 21 CHAPTER TWO: A CRITICAL REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Journal/entry: July 10, 1998 "What:is-KEAL?" ashed/the/Rabbit one/ddy, when/they were/lying/side-by side- near the/ nuryery fender, before/ Nana/ came/totidy the/ room/. "Voe* itmean-haA/ing/thing*thatbu^in^ and a- stick-out handle/?" "Heal/ isnt how yow are/ made/," said the/Shin Horse/. "Ity a-thing/ that happen* to-you)'. . . . It dbesnt happen/ all/ at once/," said the/Shin Horse/, you/become/. It take* a/ long- time/. Thatfs why it doe*n)t often/ happen/ topeople/ who- break easily, or have/sharp edge*, or who need/to be/ carefully kept." (William*, 1922, p. 5-8) When/1 worked a* a/ university-bated/faculty advisor, I began/to use/ children)s literature/ a* a> teaching/ device/ for adult learners. In my second/ year of teaching-, my teaching/partner and/I decided/to use/The/Velveteen/ Kabbit a* a/ metaphor for becoming- a/ teacher. We- shared/ the/ story with the/ student teachers and referred/ to it often/ ay we- moved/ through the-year. Later, one-of those/ former students, "Rob-, told/me/how he- understood the-Story. VurOng/his firstpracticum/, he/had fELT like/a/teacher, but, after graduating-cxndhaA/ing/hi*own class, he/K.NEW he- wa* a- KEA L teacher. I remember how delighted I way to find Ardra/Cole) s (1990a) article/, Helping/teachersbecome/ "Heal)': Opportunities in teacher induction. It made/s<> much sense/to me/to-thurCh becoming/. 22 Mentoring: A Strategy to Support "Becoming" Teachers As stated in Chapter 1, mentoring programs have become a popular strategy to support beginning teachers in the process of "becoming." There is an extensive corpus of literature that focuses on transitions into teaching, socialization processes in becoming a teacher, the knowledge base required of beginning teachers, and the shape, goals, duration and effects of beginning teacher support programs. But these literatures are insufficient to examine and understand mentoring relationships. I contend there is a benefit to looking more broadly at literature about knowledge and pedagogy. In particular I have found that feminist literature casts new light on the mentoring phenomenon. It is not my intent in this dissertation to explore exhaustively all of these literatures. Instead, I have found specific insights that can further illuminate an understanding of mentoring and inform the practice of mentoring. In this chapter, I critically review literature that specifically addresses conceptions and practices of mentoring, as well as literature that explores issues related to knowledge for teaching. I attempt to specify the particulars of these literatures that cast light upon mentoring relationships among women teachers. As this is a critical review, I juxtapose ideas from feminist literature about teachers with ideas from the mainstream literature. S. Acker (1995) spoke of the importance of developing better links between what she called "teacher research on gender" and "teacher research" (p. 141). She cited an example of the lack of connectedness among these literatures as she compared two recent works, Changing Teachers. Changing Times (Hargreaves, 1994) and School Work: Gender and the Cultural Construction of Teaching, (Biklen, 1995); "both books are about teachers' work, both are by sociologists, both draw on qualitative research, both frame their work in relevant theory, and both are high quality studies" (p. 141). However, she added: The consequence of their different frameworks is that while each writer has several hundred references to scholarly literature, I could find only 13 names in common. They do not cite each other. Yet their work can be seen as complementary, (p. 142) 23 It is my purpose in this review to weave these literatures together to provide a more textured analysis of the mentoring phenomenon. Feminist literature about teaching, about mentoring and about schools, casts light on what is often left in shadows - the fact that teachers' lives are not compartmentalized but lived as a whole and that gender is a powerful organizer within teachers' lives and work. S. Acker (1995) contended that: there is a growing literature on women teachers and the impact of gender on various aspects of teachers' work, but there is also much literature that says little about gender yet has important insights to contribute or serves as an example of when gender might have been taken into account in a way not explored, (p. 101) Conceptions of Mentoring The modern concept of mentoring has its origins in ancient Greek mythology. According to mythological accounts described in Homer's Odyssey, when Odysseus set out for the Trojan War, he asked his trusted servant, the elderly, wise Mentor, to educate and guide his infant son, Telemachus, while he was absent (Clawson, 1980). This vision of mentoring is rooted in patriarchy. A brave warrior, going off to war (to rescue a woman), sought male assistance in preparing his son for the business of being a man and a soldier. Mentor had experience in these matters, which gave him power. He was not a scholar, but a practical man and a servant to whom Odysseus granted authority. From these roots, mentoring has grown as a conception of a particular kind of relationship, involving someone older and wiser, interacting closely with a novice. Notions of power, authority, experience and knowledge are the bedrock from which the image emerges. This is essentially a western patriarchal conception of mentoring. Yamamoto (1988) suggested an alternate view, grounded in eastern traditions. Mentoring, from Yamamoto's perspective, involves a mysterious experience of "transcendence" for the mentor, as she reexamines and reflects upon her being, and "transformation" for the novice, as the mentor helps her "see beyond" herself and her own experience to "become more fully human" (p. 188). Yamamoto's alternate conception of mentoring suggests that we need not be bound to western patriarchal structures, but that we can reconceptualize its image to better fit within a pluralistic postmodern society. 24 In modern western institutions, mentoring has transformed, or perhaps mutated from an interpersonal relationship to a systemic program. It has moved from the private into the public domain. Mentoring has been a common approach to initiation within many fields of activity. It has become formalized as a strategy for "moving ahead." Much of the early research literature about mentoring comes from the field of business, where mentoring has become the "exchange of a commodity or service between two parties, as in a business transaction" (Yamamoto, 1988, p. 185). In the business domain, mentoring has continued primarily to serve the needs of men to succeed. Forrest (1989) explored how mentoring could work for women in business as well as men. However, the rationales and images she presented remain patriarchal. She suggested that mentors could help women managers, by assisting them in "strengthening their image in the workplace" (p. 12). Further, she stated that forming mentoring relationships was easier for young men than young women since men could more easily cultivate this type of relationship "in the relaxed setting of the local lounge or golf course" (p. 13). This comment reveals that the original patriarchal conception of mentoring has continued to influence thinking about mentoring relationships. The feminist literature about mentoring tends to describe the academic context, where women professors mentor women students or each other (Bower, 1993; Cain, 1994; Heinrich, 1995). The feminist view of mentoring contrasts with the patriarchal one: feminists recognize the novice as having her own goals and purposes for the relationship. According to Heinrich (1995), The word "mentor" is derived from the word "advisor" meaning "remember, recall, counsel." Feminist scholars believe the term advisor refers to the goddess Athena's advising Telemachus what to do to find his father and reclaim his inheritance. In feminist terms, a mentoring relationship is composed of "individuals in relationship with one another with the expressed desire of assisting in a particular goal. . . involving reciprocity, empowerment, and solidarity [italics added]" (p. 465). 25 For women in academia, mentoring focuses on helping women survive and flourish within the patriarchal institution. Cain (1994) provided a critical account of her experience as a graduate student being mentored by her professor. Her purpose was to "speculate on new ways of understanding women-to-women mentoring relationships as well as to critique the traditional model of mentoring for its hegemonic perspective on an intimate and powerful exchange based in mutual trust and transformation" (p. 112). Cain experienced being mentored painfully, she struggled with what she felt was required dependency and gratitude as the dyad reached "for that place 'between' the private and public" (p. 114). Although the process was painful, Cain did describe an epiphanic "exchange of identity" (p. 115) when she came to recognize her ownership and authority over her own knowledge. In responding to her proclaimed purpose, Cain posed an important question, "is it possible to re-imagine the mentor model in terms of women working together in reciprocity and trust?" (p. 117). This is a central question that we need to explore through gathering more data and exploring different theory. Mentoring and Beginning Teaching Like Telemachus moving from childhood to manhood, student teachers undergo challenging transitions as they become real teachers. Huberman (1989) described the initial stage of beginning to teach as a time of "stability and discovery" (p. 33). The two conflicting themes of this period are reality shock and enthusiasm. In many professions, such as medicine or law, this induction interval is characterized by a gradual assumption of responsibilities as a novice works alongside a more experienced colleague. In contrast, in many settings teachers are expected to carry full responsibilities from the first day on the job. Beginners are expected to perform the same tasks as experienced teachers (Huling-Austin, 1990a). Many teachers report that they experienced their first year of teaching as the most challenging aspect of their teaching lives and that they went through this time unsupported (Fullan & Stiegelbauer, 1991). In recent years "the intensification of teaching" has been a well-described phenomenon. In 1993, the British Columbia Teachers Federation (British Columbia Teachers' Federation, 1993) conducted a study among B C teachers, which found that the array of 26 challenges teachers face in their work is becoming increasingly complex. Cole pointed to a similar trend in Ontario (1993). Beginning teachers must navigate complexities such as the mainstreaming of students with special needs, business partnerships, First Nations issues, increased cultural diversity, students who speak little or no English, increased violence in schools, the press of and for technology, rapid curricular change and new legislation. Densmore (as cited in S. Acker, 1995) expressed concern regarding the intensification phenomenon. Acker described intensification as "the pressure to do more work in the same amount of time formerly allowed; it extracts more labor, thereby reducing costs and increasing productivity" (p. 108). The constant publication of test scores serves as one check on teachers' productivity. A result of intensification is that novices, expected to perform as proficiently as more experienced teachers, are leaving the teaching profession in significant numbers. Attrition rates, as commonly reported, range from 30 to 50% during the first five years of teaching (Bowman, 1991; Ffuling-Austin, 1990b). While the departure figures from Canadian contexts are dramatically lower (McPhie & Jackson, 1994), retention of teachers in the profession is an issue of concern within the literature. Personally, while conducting this research, I have met many individuals who confessed to me that they left teaching because of extreme challenges and non-existent support. Losing teachers from the profession also means that many teachers leave the profession in distress. This is a powerful reminder that retention is also a humane concern. Thus, teachers' early years can be a transition period from pre-service learning to ongoing professional growth, or a time of survival training that leads to the formation of a minimally effective idiosyncratic. style, or an interval involving a painful journey out of teaching. Studies into Mentoring Three kinds of studies typify the literature about mentoring and beginning teaching. The first genre depicts case studies of beginning teachers (for example, Bullough, 1989; Jacka, 1995; Kilbourn & Roberts, 1991), both with and without the support of mentors or other induction strategies. The second genre consists of policy reports that advocate mentoring and induction programs for a variety of reasons (for example, Bowman, 1991; 27 The Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy, 1986; The Holmes Group, 1986; Sullivan, 1988). The third type of study surveys existing mentoring and induction programs to determine goals, methods and outstanding issues (for example, Cole, 1991; Huling-Austin, 1990b; McPhie & Jackson, 1994). Case Studies of Beginning Teachers In the case study genre of research literature there are a number of case studies of beginning teachers. Studies involve one or more beginning teachers and must be carefully read to assure the reader that the beginner is actually a first year teacher, rather than a student teacher. Bullough's case study of "Kerrie" has resulted in the most material about a beginning teacher (Bullough 1987; 1889; 1990; Bullough & Baughman,1993; Bullough & Baughman, 1995; Bullough & Baughman, 1997). In commenting on the challenges for first year teachers, Bullough (1989) stated: As a complex, active bearer of habits, clauses and beliefs-as a unique person-[the beginning teacher] enters a set of established rules, relationships, ways of behaving, and understandings... that give a particular school its unique character.... In this setting the novice teacher must negotiate a place that is personally and professionally satisfying, as well as institutionally acceptable, which is difficult even in the best of circumstances (p. 5) Bullough studied his former university student Kerrie as she began her teaching career as a grade seven teacher. His previous pedagogical relationship with Kerrie was instrumental in her selection as a research subject. "She was among the best students in the teacher education cohort group... . She possessed several of the qualities. . . . identified with public school teaching success.... She was chosen, in short, because she was likely to do well" (1987, p. 232). Kerrie was a mature person and a mother with children in school. Bullough (1989) used Ryan's (1986) stage theory to analyze Kerrie's experiences as a first year teacher. She moved through the "fantasy" and "survival" stages into "mastery" but received little support from colleagues through her struggles as a 28 beginning teacher. Bullough's conclusion was that more advance supports should be provided in teacher education programs, since "clearly beginning teachers rarely receive the kind or amount of assistance they need" (1987, p. 249). Jacka's (1995) narrative case study of "Paula" is remarkably similar to Bullough's. Paula was chosen as a participant for reasons "similar to those which Bullough cites" (p. 7). Like Kerrie, she was hired several weeks before the term began so she "had time to prepare herself for the year ahead" (p. 7). Unlike Kerrie, Paula was single and living at home with her parents when she began teaching her fourth grade class. Jacka's analysis of Paula's experience focused on her images of teaching and the battering that these take as she moves through her first year. Jacka found five important influences on Paula's teaching experience: the culture of the school, a lack of time and the magnitude of her workload, implicit administrative expectations, physical isolation in a portable classroom, and unreasonable expectations for students. Jacka noted that Paula was left by the principal to find her own mentor and that "by the end of the study in January, Paula did not yet have a mentor" (p. 19). Like Bullough, Jacka located the problem and proposed her solution in Paula's teacher education program. As well, she suggested that support should continue into the first year of teaching. In her conclusion, Jacka stated: Paula's experiences as a beginning teacher were not unique... . Those agencies which had the greatest responsibility for her successful induction into teaching failed largely in their task.... It seems sensible.... [that] beginning teachers should continue receiving professional support throughout their first year at the very least, (p. 26) What single case studies contribute to the literature about beginning teaching is their detailed accounting of the personal experiences of individuals moving through the transition from teacher education programs into teaching. It is possible to note common features of different individuals in different contexts. These common features reveal developmental patterns that have led to stage theories such as those proposed by Huberman (1989) and Kagan (1992). Further, in longitudinal research such as Bullough's study of Kerrie, we can see how novices move beyond their initial induction period. 29 While the case studies of mentoring reveal important insights into the experiences of beginning teachers and, when existent, their mentors, their gender-blindness is problematic. In the majority of these case studies, the beginning teacher is female (Bullough, 1989; Jacka, 1995; Kilbourn & Roberts, 1991), yet these studies make no mention of gender in their analysis ofthe beginning teachers' experiences, beyond stating the beginning teacher's gender as biographical information. Kerne was a mature person and a mother with children in school. It is interesting to note that Bullough's (1987, 1989) earlier analyses of Kerrie's case made little reference to gender issues, but that later work (1993) described Kerrie's process of replacing "the mother metaphor" which had apparently guided her first years of teaching. Two key assertions from feminist writings highlight the strangeness of the omission of any inclusion of gender in case analysis. First, feminists among other critical and radical scholars, have contested the idea that schools are neutral institutions. There is a considerable feminist research literature that reveals schools to be gendered organizations: To say that an organization, or any other analytic unit, is gendered means that advantage and disadvantage, exploitation and control, action and emotion, meaning and identity, are patterned through and in terms of a distinction between male and female, masculine and feminine. Gender is not an addition.... Rather it is an integral part of those processes. (J. Acker, 1990, p. 146) Formalized mentoring programs are largely constructed by school district and government administrators, most of whom are male and have achieved their positions through a masculinized career path (Biklen, 1995). It must be expected that the norms and structures they develop will be biased according to mainstream malestream (Spender, 1981, cited in Hughes, 1995) thinking. Second, the proportion of teachers who are women is steadily increasing. Grumet (1981) described the feminization of teaching as a phenomenon that began in the nineteenth century as women began to enter the teaching profession. The feminization of teaching 30 continues today (Gaskell & McLaren, 1991). In British Columbia, in 1991, 66% of teachers were women (British Columbia Ministry of Education, 1991). In Portal, during the Fall term in which I began my research project, 73% of beginning teachers hired were women. Grumet (1981) stated that the analysis of teaching cannot ignore teaching's association with the feminine: A gender analysis of teaching must strive to depict how those women who were teachers experienced their femininity and the ways in which their sense of gender in turn influenced their pedagogy and the curriculum of the schools in which they taught, (p. 175) Mentoring is a practice that exists in gendered schools and therefore, gender is a factor that must be addressed in analyses of mentoring. In this study, I have chosen to focus on women teachers since the majority of teachers (at least in the Portal mentoring program) were women and I believe a description of their relationships wil l contribute to our understanding of mentoring. While case studies such as Bullough's and Jacka's provide a personal, although gender-blind view of beginning teaching and mentoring based on observation, policy reports move beyond the personal to the systemic. A number of key policy reports have advocated mentoring programs for a variety of reasons that attend to the effectiveness of the educational system as a whole, as well as for the benefit of the individuals involved. These reports "have pinned high hopes on mentoring as a vehicle for reforming teaching and teacher education" (Feiman-Nemser, 1996, p. 3). Policy Reports Mentoring and induction programs are a relatively new strategy in education. Huling-Austin (1990b) found little reference to mentoring and few programs in existence prior to 1980. In the United States, programs mandated by state regulations began to appear in the 1980s. At this time too, the literature about mentoring and induction began to proliferate. A key factor in the development of many programs was a series of policy reports, which linked mentoring and induction to school reform. Huling-Austin cited three reports as 31 having a profound impact on the spread of mentoring and induction programs: the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education report, N C A T E Redesign (1985), the Holmes Group report, Tomorrow's Teachers (1986), and the Carnegie Forum report, A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st century (1986). In Canada, the call for mentoring and induction programs as elements of school reform has come more recently (Jackson, 1994). In the report, Teacher Education in Ontario: Current Practice and Options for the Future (1987), Fullan, Connelly and Watson proposed that an "induction phase be mandatory as part of the teacher education program" (p. 99). Elsewhere, the New Brunswick Commission on Excellence (1992) recommended that beginning teachers' teaching assignments take into account the "need for greater preparation and self-evaluation time and for mentoring by a successful senior colleague" (p. 29). In B C the call for mentoring and induction programs to support beginning teachers came through the Sullivan Royal Commission on Education (1988), although previous interest had been shown in developing an "internship" program for novice teachers (Ad hoc committee to the B C Ministry of Education, 1982). The Sullivan Commission was a comprehensive examination of the education system in the province. Among its other proposals for change within the school system, the report stated: During our study, the Commission became concerned with the placement of teachers during their first year of teaching and the way in which they were inducted into the profession. While first year teachers typically feel prepared for classroom life, they are frequently faced with unreasonable teaching assignments and placed in situations where there is an insufficient response to their professional needs (ready access to instant and expert advice on the many problems they encounter for the first time during their first year of teaching). In order to ease the entry ofthe beginning teacher into the rigours of classroom life, induction programs, designed to provide more manageable rites of passage, are often suggested. Successful programs require the application of resources-both 32 human and financial-and might involve more experienced teachers as mentors and formative evaluators, counselors and, perhaps, modified teaching assignments, [italics added] (p. 40) This call was echoed by Bowman (1991) in his Report to the B C College of Teachers on Teacher education in British Columbia. Bowman observed that teacher education programs cannot meet all the anticipated needs ofthe first year of teaching and that teacher education needs to be recognized as a continuum. He stated: "the implications of accepting the principle of a continuum in a meaningful way are far-reaching. They include.. . . the need for all parties involved in education to generate induction programs for first year teachers" (p. 42). These reports generally link mentoring and induction support for beginning teachers to educational reform. One way that programs are anticipated to contribute to reform is through improving the teaching practices of novice teachers. According to Fullan and Stiegelbauer (1991), there is probably a strong relationship between how teachers pass through the induction phase and how likely they are to progress to "high levels" of teaching competence. A second potential of mentoring and induction programs as reform strategies is to mitigate the isolation and thus reduce the necessity for survival skills that can continue to frame teaching beyond the induction period (Fullan & Stiegelbauer, 1991). Induction programs contribute to developing norms of collaboration and collegiality by encouraging teachers to plan together and to reflect on the resulting practice, and by making teaching visible to other teachers. Real collaboration is rare and fragile, but its advantages are well documented (Little, 1987). The third way that these reports consider mentoring and induction to contribute to school reform is that support programs may attract and maintain teachers in the system (Jackson, 1994). By making induction and mentoring programs a high priority, policy writers anticipated benefits that are financial, humane and pedagogical. While these aims are benevolent as well as economic, feminist authors have been critical of many of the reports that link mentoring to educational reform, although they have not 33 specifically addressed mentoring. Freedman (1990) argued that the reforms presented in the American reports were based on an interest in "remodel[ing] teaching-or more precisely the work and orientation of a selected group of teachers-along the lines traditionally employed in professions dominated by white men" (p. 239). In particular, the reports advocated strengthening the hierarchical structures in schools and increasing supervision and monitoring of teachers. In one report (The Holmes Group, 1986), the desire to improve schools through professionalization of teaching led to the proposal of "a three-tiered system of teachers with vastly different levels of responsibility, salaries, and job security for each level" (Freedman, 1990, p. 250). In addition to receiving more money, as teachers rose through the ranks, they were promised more authority over colleagues and less contact with children. Beginning teachers would be at the bottom tier ofthe organization both financially and in terms of power and autonomy. S. Acker (1995) too objected to the increasing control over teachers as advocated in school reform reports. She saw this as a process of "proletarianization" or "creating a bureaucracy of control around an occupation" (p. 108), which according to Acker, tends to occur in feminized jobs. Not surprisingly, such bureaucracy is typically created and controlled by men. In this context, the embedding of mentoring in a "bureaucracy of control" is not surprising, given the origins of mentoring itself as well as the history of the education system. There are many problems related to how mentoring is constructed within a "bureaucracy of control" and these must be investigated. Rather than refer to teaching as a profession, Acker consciously uses the noun, work, to: highlight the fact that teaching is a service performed in exchange for pay and employee benefits, that it is done in institutions under better or worse conditions, that it is performed with colleagues, that it involves an initial period and sometimes further periods of training, that it has a career and opportunity structure, that it has produced unions or federations to look after member's interest, and so forth, (p. 102) Freedman (1990) argued against constructing a deeper hierarchy within the profession to achieve some sort of status for teachers by promising successful teachers the opportunity 34 to escape from the classroom. She contended that instead, what is needed is increased respect for the work that classroom teachers already do: "improving the status of teachers will not be possible as long as one of the most important jobs of the teacher - that of understanding, working with, and emotionally supporting children - has little status outside of schools"(p. 256). While Acker and Freedman's critiques are focussed generally upon these reform reports, their comments implicate mentoring proposals that emerge from such reports. In the following section, which describes the goals, structures and components of mentoring, it is easy to see how some mentoring program components do contribute to a "bureaucracy of control", while others attend more to an "educative agenda" (Fenstermacher, 1992). As stated in Chapter 1, the notion of an educative agenda places values issues centrally in the consideration of knowledge for teaching and thus is compatible with ideas from feminist literature. Where mentor teachers are themselves granted more trust to support beginning teachers in individual and responsive ways, the kind of valuing of caring to which Freedman referred may be more evident. Mentoring and Induction Programs The first genre of studies of beginning teaching I described was case studies of novice teachers. These studies reveal the struggles of the transition from teacher education into teaching, frequently compounded by the lack of support that many beginning teachers experience. The second genre proposes support programs, often linking these to reform and restructuring movements. The third genre of studies sharpens the focus to suggest how support programs might be structured and to examine existing programs. The focus narrows to goals, roles, and components of beginning teacher support programs. Beginning teacher support programs incorporate a variety of purposes, strategies and stakeholders, but most aim to decrease the isolation of beginning teachers, favouring a more collaborative entry into teaching. Little (1987) painted two very different pictures of the work lives of teachers using the pallet of research literature about teaching. In one, 35 teachers are invisible to each other, working alone, "colleagues in name o n l y . . . . a devastating picture of professional isolation among experienced teachers and trial-and-error survival of beginning teachers" (p. 492). This is the kind of experience that Kerrie and Paula endured. In the second picture, schools are organized to promote learning and working together, supporting people at the beginnings of their teaching careers. Little contended that the kind of environment described in the second picture does not develop by chance, but that its creation is possible by "ordinary people, relying on ordinary budgets and confronted with the ordinary ebb and flow of energy, goodwill and creativity" (p. 492). Mentoring programs are designed to ameliorate the isolation of beginning teaching and to embody the possibility of collaboration for novice and experienced teachers. Goals of Mentoring Programs Mentoring and induction programs have as their intent the provision of systematic and sustained assistance, specifically to beginning teachers for at least one year (Huling-Austin, 1990b). They are not simple orientations nor are they merely assessment programs. Rather they attempt to address the challenges of the induction process as it unfolds for each beginning teacher. Beginning teachers experience a variety of concerns, including classroom management, curriculum and instruction, evaluating students, being evaluated by administrators, dealing with parents, and dealing with fear, loneliness and feelings of incompetence. Most teachers report that they experienced their first year of teaching as the most challenging aspect of their teaching lives and that they went through this time unsupported. In a broad survey of induction and mentoring programs in the United States (Huling-Austin 1990b) found a variety of goals, with five goals predominating in most programs. These goals include improving the teaching practices of beginning teachers, improving the retention of beginning teachers in the profession, promoting the personal and professional well-being of beginners, satisfying mandated requirements related to induction, and transmitting the culture of the system to newcomers. A survey of induction 36 programs in Ontario (Cole, 1991) found similar goals, with the addition of one goal, the inculcation of skills in self-assessment and habits of reflective practice. In B C a survey of mentoring and induction programs was conducted by the Provincial Teacher Supply and Demand Committee, a joint committee including representatives from the Ministry of Education, from school districts, from the teachers' federation and from the faculties of education (McPhie & Jackson, 1994). The survey did not inquire explicitly into program goals, but did inquire into the perceived needs of beginning teachers. Survey data identified the top needs as emotional and instructional support. One might surmise that programs would attempt to respond to these needs, thus they represent implicit goals. It is not clear i f the surveyed programs had explicitly stated goals, merely that the study did not inquire. The program goals suggested above are organized around three underlying assumptions: that teaching is a commodity, that it is based in systems and strategies rather than relationships, and that teachers must be socialized to fit in to the system (Laird, 1988). The view of teaching as a commodity assumes a market analysis of teaching: seeing mentoring aimed at increasing the productivity of the beginning teacher and protecting the investment in the teacher's pre-service training (S. Acker, 1995). Teaching is seen as productive work, measured in many jurisdictions by student scores on standardized tests. This focus on improving the productive aspects of teaching ignores the reproductive functions of education, often associated with the feminine, "care, concern, connectedness [and] nurturance" (Martin, 1984, p. 348). Instead, Education is seen as dealing with what is deemed productive and political, without regard for the important work many teachers do in caring for and about students. Mentoring programs centred upon a view of teaching as a commodity aim to at increase teachers' production, to keep them in the classroom, focused on concerns of teaching such as strategies and management of students. Many programs measure mere retention of novice teachers in the school system as a sign of success (McPhie & Jackson, 1994), without regard for the systemic conditions in which teachers work. A further example of this market analysis is that in B C , the provincial 37 group most involved in the development of mentoring programs was the "Teacher Supply and Demand Committee." This committee was mandated to ensure that enough teachers were available to meet the demands of the system. The goal of satisfying legislated or contractual requirements for mentoring implies a view of systems as more important than relationships. In an organization that values relationship, there will be no need for laws to enforce care. The result of this goal is frequently seen as a mentoring program that exists on paper only, in a collective agreement, but not in reality. In 1994, 26 out of 75 school districts in B C reported that they had mentoring programs (McPhie & Jackson, 1994). Only a handful of these districts provided information describing actual practices and events that supported beginning teachers. One district representative described his program as "spontaneous". In B C , mentoring programs have often been among the first programs to be cut when school funding dropped. Beyond the economic goal of retention and the need to comply with hierarchical requirements for the establishment of programs, other patriarchal norms often suffuse the goals of mentoring. Many feminist authors have demonstrated that the education system is a patriarchal institution that has been and continues to be constructed by men (Biklen, 1995; Freedman, 1990; Griffin, 1997). Educational practices, policies and structures continue to advance male privilege and foster subordination of women and other groups marginalized by race, class, sexuality and ethnicity, etc. Grumet (1981) referred to three patriarchal themes that Lortie (1975) found underlying teachers' ideas about teaching-individualism, conservatism, and presentism (a focus only on the here-and-now of teaching, with disregard for time and context.) I suggest that these ideals also underlie common ideas of how to bring in newcomers. If those who design mentoring programs accept the values of individualism, conservatism and presentism, then context, relationship and support will not be seen as important. Even i f program developers espouse collaboration as a value, conditions in schools will undermine collaborative efforts in the press for production. 38 In mentoring programs, the goal of cultural transmission fails to ask the question, whose culture? It seems that the culture in question is the existing patriarchal culture of schools. Male and female beginning teachers learn how to view themselves and each other within the established gendered structures. J. Acker (1990) advised that organizations such as schools are places where images of gender are invented and reproduced, yet there is a tendency to conceptualize structures as gender-neutral. Biklen built upon Gal's contention that: Gender, as "a system of culturally constructed relations of power produced and reproduced in interaction between and among men and women" (Gal, 1991) is also present in the lives of teachers as adults working in schools. That is, teachers do not have to focus on gender for it to significantly mark their lives, (p. 6) The Practices of Mentor ing A wide variety of practices is included in mentoring and induction programs with the aim of achieving the aforementioned goals of improving teaching practices, improving retention, promoting well-being, satisfying mandated requirements, transmitting culture and fostering reflective practice. In some jurisdictions, a significant component of mentoring programs has been the formulation of minimum teaching competencies (Fullan & Stiegelbauer, 1991). These competencies specify what beginning teaches must be able to do before gaining full certification. In programs that focus support on the achievement and evaluation of these competencies, various labels differentiate beginning teachers from experienced ones. Scotland provides a graphic example of this paradigm. "Probationer teachers" (General Teaching Council, 1995) are those who have completed teacher education programs in a university or teachers' college. They are "provisionally registered" (G.T.C., 1995, p. 1) with the General Teaching Council for Scotland, the licensing body for teachers. Probationers must complete 380 days of teaching, the "equivalent of two years of successful probationary service" (1995, p. 2). During this period, the probationer must receive and submit to the G.T.C. a progress report based on a published set of criteria or "competences" (Scottish Office Education Department, 1993). Despite efforts by the General Teaching Council to ensure that the evaluation of 39 beginning teachers is more than a summative assessment of their capabilities, Draper, Fraser, Smith and Taylor (1991) found little evidence of ongoing formative assessments of probationers. Further, they found that despite having seemingly clearly stated, published competencies, beginning teachers remained uncertain about the standards used in their evaluation. The association of mandated, measurable teaching competencies with mentoring represents a damaging nexus. Some programs cast mentors in the role of evaluators, impairing any sense of collaboration or colleagueship. Job evaluation, J. Acker (1990) suggested, is a management tool that rationalizes hierarchy. Entangling evaluation with mentoring invokes a hierarchy of bureaucratic power and authority among colleagues. Other jurisdictions, such as California, while not eliminating evaluation from beginning teacher support programs, have attempted to develop more performance-based assessment tools and focus more on teachers as decision-makers (Gold, 1996). However, they maintain the notion of a clearly described knowledge base. The press for mandated and standardized teaching competencies is not a feature of Canadian programs at this time (Fullan & Stiegelbauer, 1991). Within school districts, program components include some of the following: orientation and information packages, receptions and other social events, summer institutes and workshop series, and networks and newsletters (Cole, 1991). Within schools, mentoring and induction programs incorporate elements such as mentorships with more experienced colleagues, study groups, classroom observation, shared planning, and informal conversations (Cole, 1991; Little, 1987). Many individuals are named as being responsible for supporting beginning teachers, including experienced colleagues (Ganser, 1996; Huling-Austin, 1990a), school administrators (Cole, 1995), school district support staff (McPhie & Jackson, 1994), university faculty (Jacka, 1995), and union representatives (Thompson, 1997). The literature about mentoring suggests that each stakeholder group bears a specific responsibility for beginning teachers. 40 Roles and Responsibilities Mentor Teachers Mentoring and induction programs rely heavily on experienced teachers to support newcomers (Ganser, 1996; Huling-Austin, 1990a; Wagner, 1995). In keeping with Lortie's (1975) finding that the most effective source of help to teachers is colleagues, mentors are usually identified by beginning teachers as their most valued support. Although partnerships between experienced and beginning teachers are most often referred to as mentoring relationships, they may alternately be called "twinning, buddying, or peer coaching" (Watson & Cole, 1992). In a study of mentoring relationships in one Canadian school district, Rekrut and Wilson (1992) described the relationships as, "warm and friendly, collegial, professional, peer and paternalistic." They did not provide definitions for the terms they use. McPhie and Jackson (1994) identified seven important attributes of mentors. These include the ability to communicate professional knowledge, commitment to professional development, ability to work with adults, volunteering to be a mentor, teaching in the same school, teaching the same subjects, and teaching the same grades. Huling-Austin (1990b) suggested three different styles of mentoring. "Responders" are available to assist, but wait to be approached by the novice. "Colleagues" are more interactive: they "frequently initiate informal visits" (p. 44). "Initiators" take a more active role in facilitating the professional development of the novice. Weeks (1992) wrote about her experiences as a mentor teacher. Her story is fairly typical when compared to much of the survey literature about mentoring within formal program structures. She had little preparation for her role and experienced much self-doubt as to her capability as she began. Through her early mentoring experiences as well as some training along the way, she began to feel more confident. She affirmed the importance of a "non-judgmental relationship" and "commitment over time" (p. 304-305). Weeks described how the relationship progressed through a series of "critical incidents" (p. 305) for the beginning teacher. Her conclusion was that she found the relationship to be "one of renewal for the mentor.... in which she had the opportunity to learn from the protege new skills and practice new techniques" (p. 306). 41 Dilemmas persist about decisions as to who should be a mentor, how mentors should be selected and prepared for the role and how the mentoring role impacts on teacher workload (Feiman-Nemser, 1992a; Fullan & Stiegelbauer, 1991; Huling-Austin et al., 1989; Huling-Austin, 1990b). There are concerns about the "costs" to mentors of offering their support to beginning colleagues. These include a perceived risk in opening up to a colleague by sharing scarce resources and exposing one's teaching to public scrutiny. The investment of time, energy and risk can become overwhelming, even when programs are funded and supported well enough so that benefits to both novice and experienced teachers can be realized (Heller & Sindelar, 1991). As in Weeks' experience, in many programs there is little or no preparation for mentoring and no discussion ofthe responsibilities of the role. Without preparation for the mentoring role and without belief in the purposes and value of collaborative work, experienced teachers may simply tell newcomers the rules ofthe school culture. Mentors have expressed several significant concerns about their participation in the mentoring and induction programs (Fullan & Stiegelbauer, 1991). These include finding a balance between responsiveness and initiation in a collegial but differentiated relationship, and finding time amidst other responsibilities to enter into a mentorship effectively. Mentors may present a false facade, saying they are supporting beginners, but doing so in a superficial manner or not at all. They may interact with novices as critics rather than colleagues. Mentoring does not cast off its gendered character in individual relationships between beginning teachers and mentor teachers. Gendered images have an impact even at the micro level of relationships. Rekrut and Wilson (1992) found that 35% of first year teachers categorized their relationships with mentors as paternalistic. The gendered character of the relationship is further complicated when the novice is female and the mentor is male. In speaking of mentoring relationships in business, Forrest (1989) alluded to a concern regarding "sexual innuendo" when male mentors work closely with female novices. Further, as I have shown, mentoring is an arrangement within the hierarchical 42 and patriarchal organization of school. Even when mentors are not formal evaluators, they are more experienced and knowledgeable of the context in which they work. Teachers value experience as the basis for knowing. Fuss contended that "it is the unspoken law of the classroom not to trust those who cannot cite experience as the indisputable grounds of their knowledge" (1989, p. 116). Carter and Richardson, 1989) suggested that, "it is a teacher who best knows what it means to be a teacher" (p. 5). Beginning teachers' lack of experience as a basis for knowing places them in a lower position that their more "experienced" colleagues (Fuss, 1989). It is essential to examine how this experiential discrepancy is dealt with within the mentorship. Beginning Teachers Beginning teachers are the intended beneficiaries of mentoring and induction programs. Regard for novices is one concern of mentoring programs and thus the development, needs, and interests of beginning teachers are well documented in the literature. Zeichner and Gore (1990) studied a broad range of literature that offered explanations for how teachers develop or become "socialized" as functioning members of the teaching community. They examined three forces at work within the socialization process. These are influences on prospective teachers before they begin the teacher education process, the impact of pre-service programs themselves, and forces within the workplace of schools. Prior experiences and accompanying beliefs are held to be a highly significant force in teacher socialization. Based on personal experiences as well as media images, prospective teachers assume they already know a great deal about teaching and frequently rely on previously held knowledge as they begin to teach. A variety of effects are attributed to teacher education programs, particularly when pre-assumptions are deliberately examined and questioned, but these prior beliefs linger as a potent influence. Finally, the school setting contains many controlling forces for socialization, both within the classroom and in the broader context within which teachers work. Kagan (1992) looked at studies about student teachers and beginning teachers learning to teach and suggests some common themes in teacher development. She noted three key ideas: the central role played by preexisting beliefs, the importance of prior beliefs being 43 reconstructed through experience for professional growth to take place, and a movement thorough behavioural and conceptual developmental stages. Kagan described four major developmental tasks of novices: confirming a picture of self as teacher; accumulating knowledge of students and modifying one's self image accordingly; experiencing dissonance that creates further reframing; and developing procedural knowledge about classrooms. A number of studies address the needs of beginning teachers. Gordon (1991) summarized these, saying that "no two studies have produced precisely the same lists of problems or needs" (p. 5). He referred to six "environmental" needs that are unforeseen by novices as they begin their teaching careers. These include difficult teaching assignments, lack of awareness of systemic expectations, a lack of teaching materials and resources, isolation, role conflict (particularly among younger adults) and "reality shock." Reality shock refers to the dailiness of much of teaching, such as collecting money and filling in forms. In addition to the six environmental difficulties, he listed 12 "high-priority" needs. These include classroom management, information about the school system, curriculum planning, evaluating students, motivating learners, teaching strategies, responding to individual students, collegial interactions, parent communication, adapting to teaching roles, and emotional support. Theories about teacher socialization and about stages of development, as well as lists of perceived needs are useful beginning places in program or relationship development. But programs need to be planned with the particular individuals involved and relationships constructed between individuals. Watson and Cole noted that often, mentoring and induction programs are "generically developed and instituted, 'developmentally appropriate' in a broad sense" (p. 1). But other factors such as individual style and personality and school culture need to be responded to as well. Cole (1992) expressed concern about requiring the participation of beginning teachers in mentoring relationships, which may disallow forming other supportive connections with colleagues. 44 In their survey of beginning teachers, McPhie and Jackson (1994) found that beginning teachers wanted to be included in planning their support programs and in selecting their own mentors. Other Participants in Mentoring and Induction While beginning teachers and their experienced colleagues are the primary participants in mentoring and induction programs, there are important roles for program developers and planners, including principals and district staff (Cole, 1991). School administrators assume much of the responsibility for supporting mentoring and induction at the school level. Fullan and Stiegelbauer (1991) described administrators as being in the middle of a relationship between external ideas and people and the internal managing of the school and teachers. Mentoring and induction programs are one of many commitments administrators must balance. Cole (1993) undertook a study that looks at school administrators' perceptions of their roles in supporting beginning teachers. She interviewed 23 school principals and vice principals in Ontario to develop an understanding of the issues they deal with in supporting beginning teachers. Cole noted that they face a number of dilemmas, including balancing the "dual role of supporter and evaluator" (p. 17), avoiding overburdening other staff with mentoring responsibilities and obtaining the guidance and support they need to be knowledgeable and skilled in meeting the needs of beginning teachers. McPhie and Jackson (1994) surveyed school administrators in B C regarding their perceptions of mentoring and induction in their districts and schools. They found that the two main roles administrators take in regard to beginning teachers are direct assistance to novices and support for mentoring relationships. McPhie and Jackson found that school administrators are very active in the selection of mentors, even when school board guidelines specified that beginning teachers should be able to select their own mentors. The administrators in this study did not express concern regarding the duality of their supporter/evaluator function, although beginning teachers clearly did see the conflict. 45 Cole (1991) noted that program design and implementation usually represent "a school board initiative usually by a team made up of representatives of central office and professional school staff (p. 3). Program planners may have responsibility for providing orientation sessions and developing program materials such as beginning teacher handbooks. In program development, an important issue is the need for flexibility to respond to the actual needs of beginning teachers (Huling-Austin, 1990b). While there is an element of predictability to beginning teacher development (Kagan, 1992), individual teachers and teaching contexts vary. The flexibility issue is compounded in jurisdictions where assistance is entangled with evaluation (Huling-Austin et al., 1989). Fullan and Stiegelbauer (1991) suggested that a fixation on "basic competencies" pushes programs to focus only on "minimum competencies" (p. 307). The success of individual beginning teachers, and of mentoring and induction programs is closely associated with hiring and assignment practices. Novice teachers are often given very challenging or inappropriate teaching assignments, encompassing difficult student populations, multiple preparations, lack of resources and extensive involvement in extra-curricular activities with students (Cole, 1993). Recent cutbacks in education have resulted in hiring occurring after the school year has begun. Late hiring complicates the challenges for beginning teachers (Cole, 1993) as any advance preparation is rendered impossible. Researchers have argued that other educational stakeholders, such as universities, ministries of education, teachers' federations and school boards, might better collaborate or at least contribute to the implementation of mentoring and induction programs. As Jacka (1995) suggested: One would think that the successful orientation of new teachers into their chosen profession would be of concern to all three parties (teachers' unions, school boards and faculties of education), since all of them, presumably, either have had or will have a stake in these novices' careers, (p. 26) 46 Cole (1993) suggested that in Ontario, "it seems safe to say that a commitment to improve teacher education in general and the induction of new teachers in particular is pervasive" (p.3). However, she went on to argue that more than a commitment in policy is required. The financial costs are an important consideration in developing, implementing and institutionalizing mentoring and induction programs. Adequate funding is a key feature because it provides time for preparation and support of mentors and for workshops and collaborations for beginning teachers. Funding also ensures that there is personnel to coordinate programs. Currently in B C , the only sources of funding for beginning teacher support are district budgets or, in rare cases, local teacher association budgets. One-time grants were provided by the ministry of education, but for only a few school districts for pilot programs (McPhie & Jackson, 1994). Insecure funding cannot support ongoing commitments to mentoring and induction programs. However, i f mentoring and induction programs can be shown to improve retention rates of beginning teachers, this may result in a financial benefit, since the costs of providing teacher education are conserved (Huling-Austin et al., 1989). Jacka (1995) included teachers' unions as having responsibility for participanting in mentoring and induction support for beginning teachers. When school districts and teachers' unions collaborate in mentoring and induction, there are perceived benefits (McPhie & Jackson, 1994). In Ontario, Cole (1991) found some involvement of unions in "orientation activities and sponsoring social events" (p. 3). Recently, both the Saskatchewan Teachers' Association and the British Columbia Teachers' Federation have begun to sponsor professional development conferences for beginning teachers. In addition, many unions have negotiated contracts that include the provision of mentoring and induction activities and, in some cases, specific funding for these must be provided. The responsibilities that universities bear for supporting beginning teachers through their transition from teacher education into their teaching careers has been examined by several authors. Fullan and Stiegelbauer (1991) suggested that mentoring and induction 47 programs must be considered "in tandem" with university pre-service programs in order to strengthen the developmental links between the two. Cole (1991) described the roles taken by some faculties of education in Ontario as "consultants, workshop leaders, group facilitators, researchers and spokespersons" (p 3). Rolheiser-Bennett (1991) described in some detail a collaborative induction program involving the University of Toronto and the Learning Consortium, a partnership of four school boards. One of the contributions the university made to this project was the initiation of an internet conference for beginning teachers in these boards. These studies suggest some of the ways that universities might be involved in mentoring and induction programs. Summary In this chapter, I have examined literature pertaining to the mentoring of beginning teachers and I have shown that, while providing important understandings about beginning teaching, the mainstream mentoring literature is flawed by its gender-blindness. I have examined three genres of the literature that explore mentoring and beginning teaching - individual case studies, policy reports, and program and role description. Case studies of beginning teachers describe individual experiences of beginning teachers. They often allude to the gender of the subjects, but do not explore how gender is implicated in the experiences of those teachers. Policy reports call for support for beginning teachers but do not address the gendered nature of schools nor the general institution of education. Program descriptions and surveys of existing programs do not focus on gender as a significant element. Frequently, the proposed models are hierarchical and patriarchal in nature. This lack of gender analysis results in important issues of experience, relationship, power and autonomy, and knowledge being buried and thus, remaining unexamined. By juxtaposing mainstream literature with feminist literature, I have shown that mentoring, originally a patriarchal construct, maintains its gendered character through policy, programs and relationships. However, I have also shown the importance of 48 supporting beginning teachers as an economic, collegial and humane responsibility. In Chapter 3,1 wil l propose a direction for change in the mentoring of beginning teachers, a reconceptualization of mentoring that incorporates support for novices with awareness of gender as a central aspect of becoming a teacher. 49 CHAPTER THREE: A FEMINIST PEDAGOGY FOR MENTORING Introduction In the preceding chapter, I reviewed literature about beginning teaching and proposed a feminist critique of that literature. While supporting beginning teachers is a worthy goal and there is much evidence that such support is needed, the widespread model of mentoring is gendered and should not continue to develop as an unproblematized paradigm. I propose that there is a need to re-conceptualize mentoring "in terms of women [and men] working together in reciprocity and trust" (Cain, 1994, p. 117). I suggest that a feminist pedagogy of thoughtful critique can constitute that reconceptualization of mentoring. In this chapter, I will map out a conception of feminist pedagogy for mentoring as a response to my second research question: how should a feminist pedagogy for mentoring be constructed? Conceptualizing a Feminist Pedagogy for Mentoring In broad terms, feminist pedagogy demands a reconsideration of knowledge, relationships, systems, and structures taken for granted as neutral. It focuses on the relationship between the learner and the teacher, on the practices of teaching, and on the curriculum or knowledge under examination within the relationship. Shrewsbury (1993) contended that "feminist pedagogy begins with a vision of what education might be like but frequently is not. This is a vision of the classroom as a liberatory environment in which we, teacher-student and student-teacher, act as subjects, not objects" (p. 8). Shrewsbury's statement might be used to describe a number of pedagogies; however, the central and crucial concerns of feminist pedagogy are "gender justice and overcoming oppression" (Shrewsbury, 1993). This goal is at odds with the usual goal of mentoring, which is to help beginning teachers survive the induction period and to "ease the entry of the beginning teacher into the rigours of classroom life" (Sullivan, 1989, p. 82). Mentoring and induction have to do with bringing in, implying it is the novice teacher who wil l change to fit the new circumstances of her life as a teacher, while feminist pedagogy aims to bring out, to change the individual and to change the circumstances. 50 If mentoring is to be more than an induction procedure, then mentorships need to be sites where knowledge and values are problematized and where relationship is foregrounded (Gitlin & Thompson, 1995). I contend that mentoring relationships between women do focus pivotally, i f not centrally, on gender issues, and they can support both participants in addressing issues of justice and oppression. I believe mentoring can be re-conceptualized, indeed I believe it is being reconceptualized by individual mentoring dyads. We need to know what these dyads are doing. The conception presented in this chapter is intended to inform the forthcoming examination (later in this dissertation) of actual mentoring relationships between women teachers. Mentoring as Pedagogy I believe that a feminist mentoring relationship must be a pedagogical relationship. Based on an analysis of literature about feminist pedagogy and literature about mentoring beginning teachers, I assert that a successful feminist mentoring relationship is primarily one in which the beginning teacher and the mentor engage in caring association. This relationship must be founded on a practice of shared experiences that facilitate a reciprocal process of constructing and examining knowledge. This is in keeping with a feminist pedagogical focus (Shrewsbury, 1993). Success within mentoring is not an all or nothing proposition. In this study, I am theorizing that there are specific characteristics of successful feminist mentoring relationships. The extent of the success can be seen when both participants describe the relationship as successful, positive or caring; when there are engaging collaborative shared experiences; and where there is evidence of a reciprocal process of knowledge construction. In positing these characteristics, however, I am not arguing for a "one-size-fits all" approach; there is no universal template for success. If mentoring is to be a relationship, it must respond to personal preferences and individual ways of knowing. If it is feminist, it must allow each participant to be an authentic subject who acts and knows, not a generic object who is acted upon. The traditional programmatic nature of mentoring in schools may controvert relation and caring through inflexible guidelines, pre-determined evaluation competencies, and expectations about how and when to interact. The 51 characteristics described above-caring and trust, shared experiences and reciprocity in knowledge construction-describe a range of possibilities that lie between a "one-size-fits-all" approach and a "choose-your-own-adventure" approach (Thompson, 1999). Mentoring as Relationship While it may seem obvious to state that mentoring is a relationship, it is the relational aspect of mentoring that is central to its effect. Mentoring has the potential to be immediate, personal and contextual. It is framed by face-to-face encounters at critical moments in the beginning teacher's process of becoming a teacher. To be in relation in this way requires care for the individual and for her experience. The kind of caring mentoring requires is specialized and must be authentic, based not on roles and responsibilities but on care for the other: Whatever I do in life, whoever I meet, I am first and always one-caring or one cared for. I do not "assume roles" unless I become an actor. "Mother"' is not a role; "teacher" is not a role.... When I became a teacher, I also entered a very special-and more specialized-caring relation. (Noddings, 1984, p. 175) Nodding suggested that in such a "caring relation" both participants must contribute appropriately. She described caring as "reactive and responsive", even "receptive" (p. 19). To be in a mentoring relationship imposes expectations on both participants. In examining the mentoring phenomenon, Gold (1996) cited Hardcastle's (1988) observation that "proteges were attracted to mentors who were wise, caring, committed to their profession, and who demonstrated integrity" (p. 573). It is the consistent embodiment and enactment of these qualities that leads to the establishment and development of beginning teachers' trust in mentors. Presumably, trustworthiness must also be demonstrated by beginning teachers for trusting relationships to prosper. Trust is defined as an "assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something" (Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 1996), and is a necessary quality of any close relationship. We need to trust the others with whom we are in relation. The used car salesman says, "trust me!" and we are immediately suspicious; a 52 close friend says ,"trust me!" and we do. Trust implies a willingness to risk exposure to the other, to be willing to listen to them and perhaps to share one's own emerging thoughts. Cain (1994) explored the issue of trust in mentoring relationships among women university faculty and graduate students, stating her intent as "a political imperative to make such relationships better understood and valued and, in turn, to make their representations available for critique. This is not to idealize or sentimentalize these relationships but to 'tell the truth'" (p. 112). She suggested that part of being mentored is "learning how to learn when to trust and remain 'open' and when to question and be 'closed'" (p 112). Trusting another is predicated upon their being trustworthy. Heinrich (1995) suggested that an unfortunate result of trusting can be betrayal, because when we reveal ourselves to others we risk their rejection, critique or their divulgence to outsiders. In exploring betrayals within graduate advisement mentorships, Heinrich described what she called "silent betrayals" (p. 450), situations in which advisors withheld needed and easy-to-provide support, "while advisees simultaneously betrayed themselves by keeping silent about their needs and their feelings of frustration, disappointment, or anger with female advisors" (p. 450). Thus, while a level of trust may be essential to a close functional mentoring relationship, it cannot be assumed that deep unconditional trust can or must develop between participants. I have suggested that relationship is central to mentoring practice and that to be effective, mentorships must be caring and trustful. However, I have also argued for a need to examine closely the idealized model of mentoring. It is simplistic to assume that everyone wants, needs, or can be in an intimate mentoring relationship. Gold wondered: One of the questions to consider is in regard to whether or not it is necessary to have close relationships that have deep meaning in which the mentor is the older, wiser person. Or do we need to reexamine the role of mentoring that is appropriate for the type of setting that education demands? (p. 573) In exploring the notion of mentoring relationships, Cole (1992) agreed that in the "complex and ongoing process of personal and social interaction and interpretation" (p. 365) which characterizes beginning teaching, relationships are central to the beginning 53 teacher's experience. She contended that "the workplace, or professional context, is yet another venue for human growth and development" (p. 365) in which novices must interact with colleagues as they develop their practice. However, she argued that appropriating relationships by arranging mentorships interrupts the novice's process of socialization: When relationships such as these are arranged or imposed, they are usually part of a larger organizational innovation or planned change strategy. More often than not such programs are generically developed and instituted, "developmentally appropriate" in a broad sense, and, most importantly, are based on the assumption of the existence of a casual link between teacher collegiality and teacher growth or the improvement of practice. However well intended, these programs seldom evidence appropriate recognition of and respect for the individuality of the teachers as developing persons and professionals, (p. 377) Cole argued that such relationships are inevitably "contrived" and that they "cannot help but lose richness in purpose and meaning" (p. 377) for the individual teachers. I agree with Cole's general contention that some choice in the formation of mentorships is important. However, her concern about "appropriated" relationships suggests that we have individual wil l in the formation of all close relationships, belying the reality that many relationships are not naturally occurring, they are required-thoso with teachers, bosses, business, and in many non-western cultures, marriage partners. As teachers, we interact with a wide range of students and parents as well as colleagues, and we cannot chose not to. To see such relationships as "appropriated" and unworkable denies the reality that we can and do relate intentionally and positively in unchosen relationships. Cole's work is laudable in that it develops a critique of the mentoring paradigm, problematizing what is often taken for granted, that mentorships alone wil l necessarily support the development of beginning teachers. While ideally we might desire caring and supportive collegial relationships for all beginning teachers, to assume that all mentorships wil l be this way is naive. To design programs uncritically around this ideal is 54 irresponsible. In this paper, I am arguing that mentorships can be effective and powerful pedagogical relationships but I will not argue that everyone can be well served in a mentorship. A Feminist Practice for mentoring Assuming that a level of care and trust does develop in a mentorship, what feminist pedagogical practices would foster that development and what practices could emerge from that trust? How might the relationship develop into a feminist pedagogical mentorship? In Chapter 1,1 described some of my own experiences mentoring Kyra. I cannot claim to have consciously attempted to construct a feminist pedagogy for mentoring. What I did was to try to respond to her questions, interests and issues. When she needed to set up her classroom before school began, we met there together and I asked her, "How do you want to arrange your room?" When she wanted help in planning, we planned together. It is from initial casual and caring encounters that a more deliberate pedagogical practice can emerge. This pedagogical practice wil l be centred on dialogue and experiences. Mentoring Talk Based on my own experiences as a mentor, I consider talk to be the central practice of mentoring. Unlike student teachers and supervising teachers who share a gaze on one group of children, beginning teachers and mentors teach separately. However, beginning teachers and mentors talk: they talk at recess, in hallways, in meetings, and possibly on the phone late in the evening. There are many kinds of talk: asking questions, giving advice, offering support, and complaining, among others. Biklen (1995) described the importance of talk to nourish and engage with each other: Elementary teaching is both a nurturing act and an intellectual one. Teachers need community to make it an intellectual one and to draw upon reserves when needed for nurturing. Talk is central to this community... .Teachers need to be outside the classroom to be nurtured by other teachers. At the same time, much of the intellectual part of teaching could not be accomplished in the classroom, (p. 145) 55 While Biklen was describing elementary teachers, and it is not clear i f secondary women teachers experience the same pressures to nurture (S. Acker, 1995), I would argue that most beginning teachers do need themselves to be cared for within schools. Biklen specifically identified four kinds of talk, "solicited advice", "clinical talk" (generally about students), "social talk" and "defending" in which the women teachers in her study engaged. As I reflect on my mentoring of Kyra, I can recall instances times that I gave solicited advice and times when we talked about children she was teaching. Other times, as we ate lunch together, we talked about our lives. Several times, I defended Kyra, "protecting" her from unfair circumstances. It is through talk that mentorships develop and these relationships will be constructed according to the norms of the institution and the individuals' ways of being with others. For example, talk can censure as well as well as sanction, it can attack as well as defend. One of the kinds of talk between beginning teachers and mentors is questioning, from simple questions, such as "where is the supply room?" to more challenging questions such as, "why do we have year end testing?" Mentor teachers are well positioned to respond to these questions. Some of their responses will be direct and unproblematic: there isn't much to question about the location of the supply room. Other questions merit more complex and questioning responses. Mentors' responses to these kinds of questions begin to shape their mentorships as patriarchal or feminist. A Questioning Framework A critical underpinning for reconstructing mentoring according to a feminist paradigm is a questioning framework. When mentors encourage questioning they nurture within the mentorship a view that resistance and challenge are part of teaching, as they are part of learning. Beginning teachers and mentor teachers might question the power differential between them. They might question the knowledge they have been given by the university. They might question their relationships with students and with the curriculum. Through questions, biases of gender, race, class, age, ability and sexual orientation can become explicit, rather than hidden. Biklen (1995) stated that: Questions that teachers talk over together about gender wil l weaken the effects of a gender system.... These questions bring to the surface ideological foundations 56 that are central to the occupation, moving them from the subtext into the text. Once in the text, they can be revised, (p. 187) Hollingsworth (1992) described a kind of pedagogical talk that challenges existing norms. "Collaborative conversation" is a feminist pedagogical process of "working with [the participants] as a colearner... through nonevaluative conversation" (p. 375). According to Hollingsworth, in collaborative conversation, issues emerge from the "tangled nature of practice-situated attention" (p. 382). First, they come forth as "examples of real classroom problems, then [are] relocated within related but larger issues;" this theoretical or philosophical framing then leads to the formulation of plans and finally to "transformational understandings" (p. 383). Hollingsworth noted that this process can only unfold given sufficient time, since time is an essential component for relationships to develop. Hollingsworth's model of collaborative conversation goes far beyond my own emerging practice of mentoring with Kyra. While I responded to her practice-based questions and together we reframed them and created plans, we did not move to transformational understandings about the institution. We did not deliberately place at the centre of our analysis "gender justice and overcoming oppression" (Shrewsbury, 1993). Thoughtful Critique For mentoring practice to be feminist, I argue it must foster thoughtful critique. As introduced in Chapter 1, thoughtful critique consciously develops a critical stance toward the purposes and practices of schooling. Based on questioning taken-for-granted structures, practices and policies, a practice of thoughtful critique is important because beginning teachers, unsure of their knowledge and with temporary teaching positions, may be compliant and may wish to be perceived as compliant. Britzman, Dippo, Searle and Pitt (1995) suggested that student teaching experiences actually contribute to the learning of compliance: "research supports the view that learning to teach is neither solved by classroom experience nor even illuminated there. Much of this research critiques the apprenticeship model.. . suggesting that what is centrally learned is compliance to pre-existing routines" (p. 10). The demands of first year teaching create strong pressure for beginning teachers to seek definitive solutions to complex and 57 endemic challenges of teaching and to accept teaching conditions that are harmful to themselves and inequitable for children. Female beginning teachers may be inclined, due to socialization, to comply without critical analysis. However, in the long term, compliance does not serve well the individual beginning teachers, their students, nor the system. In Hollingsworth's (1992) participatory study of beginning teachers, she found that as they explored their concerns, they initially felt prohibited from acting critically and teaching in the ways they wanted to teach. Over time and through "continuous cycles of critique, knowledge, construction, and social action" (p. 398), they found that: adopting a critical perspective about the social norms of that climate-and receiving the support to move through the emotional stress that accompanies such a perspective-was crucial to claiming their own professional voices within their schools and attaining the personal and political freedom to reconstruct classrooms that supported diverse values and ways of being instead of restricting them. (p. 393) When teachers question the things that are assumed and accepted within schools and school systems, such as grading practices, job assignments, school rules, and malestream curriculum, they interrupt and trouble the thought-less flow of events. One of my own experiences exemplifies this troubling. As an experienced teacher who had taught at a school in which the practice of thoughtful critique was encouraged, I arrived at a new school. During the first staff meeting the staff council chairperson passed out a paper, saying, "Here is a copy of the school rules that we should all be enforcing." I raised my hand and asked, "Are we going to be discussing them?" The teacher looked at me in shock, "Why would we discuss them: they are the rules!" She did not consider that they were rules constructed by a group of teachers and that they needed to be reconsidered by a new group of teachers. Rules were not to be discussed or questioned, they were to be enforced. M y questioning and subsequent insistence on addressing the rules created trouble. I interrupted the flow of events at the meeting. While it may be unlikely that beginning teachers on temporary contracts and awaiting administrative evaluations wil l 58 engage in this kind of public thoughtful critique, I argue it is important for them to see demonstrations of thoughtful critique and to begin to be thoughtfully critical in a safer context, namely the mentoring relationship. Thoughtful critique is central to feminist mentoring and leads to the kind of transformational understandings needed to create more equitable institutions. Voices and Silence A feminist practice of mentoring alters the traditional balance of voice and silence within the dyad. Taking guidance from Nodding's (1984) concept of "receptive" caring and Hollingsworth's (1992) acknowledgement of the centrality of listening, I suggest that the focus within the mentorship should be the beginning teacher. Belenky et al. (1986) described this shifting focus through the metaphor of the "midwife-teacher" (p. 218) whose first concern is the student's "newborn thoughts;" "it is always clear that the baby is not theirs, but the student's." In a traditional apprenticeship-mentorship, the beginning teacher is the listener; in a feminist mentorship, the focus is on the novice's voice. Hollingsworth (1992) described her personal process of learning to be, at times, silent: The change was both methodological and philosophical, .. .the conversational form.. . involved a shift in power, [it was] a process of working with them as a colearner and creator of evolving expertise through nonevaluative conversation. To accomplish this shift, I had to be still and listen, (p. 375) The goal here is not to be habitually silent, but to shift the balance of talk, to be still and listen before speaking and to speak with less certainty, to wonder along with the beginning teacher, to support them in "making their own tacit knowledge explicit and elaborating it" (Belenky et al., 1986, p. 217). What must be stilled here is the mentor's "expert" status and authoritative knowing. A Feminist Conception of Knowledge for Teaching In this dissertation, I am arguing for mentorships among women teachers (and men) to be relationships centred on a feminist pedagogy involving the construction, communication and negotiation of knowledge. In a feminist mentoring relationship, the mentor and 59 beginning teacher talk about what they know, believe to be true, and are learning about teaching. Teachers acquire knowledge from many different sources as they are becoming teachers, including course work, practica, personal experiences as students or parents, and images of teachers in popular culture. Minimally, the mentoring relationship is another source. Some of the knowledge beginning teachers acquire and construct wil l be tentative. Some wil l be conflicting, coming from paradigmatically different sources. Some knowledge wil l be firmly held and beginning teachers wil l resist giving it up even when evidence suggests it should be discarded. Knowledge wil l be raced, gendered and classed. The mentoring relationship can be a site where knowledge is discussed and reconsidered and where new knowledge can be jointly constructed. What is the knowledge component, the "curriculum" of mentoring? What should it be? The literature about knowledge for teaching is extensive and complex (Fenstermacher, 1994), even contradictory. However, together with feminist conceptions of knowledge, the literature about knowledge for teaching informs my developing conception of a feminist pedagogy for mentoring. Different authors mean different things when they write about knowledge for teaching. In a comprehensive analysis, Cochran-Smith and Lytle (in press) described three conceptions of teacher knowledge: "knowledge-for practice" (often referred to as formal knowledge); "knowledge-m-practice" (or practical knowledge); and "knowledge-of-practice" (a conception closely aligned with teacher research) (p. 2). Each of these conceptions implies a different pedagogy for teacher education and for mentoring. Discussions about teacher knowledge are not merely academic debates, but dilemmas lived out in practice by all teachers and thus are basic to mentoring practice. Consider Melissa, the beginning teacher who was troubled by faultfinding parents who felt they knew better than she did what kind of curriculum she should have in her classroom. Who knows best about teaching? How can teachers justify their practices? Who are the experts? Underlying these debates are competing conceptions of knowledge for teaching and the acquisition or construction of that knowledge. 60 Formal Knowledge: Knowledge-for-practice The first conception, knowledge-for-practice or formal knowledge, holds that knowledge is developed through university-based research. Fenstermacher (1994) suggested that much of this knowledge was developed in process-product research and that while most of this research resulted in correlational findings, many causal claims have been made, with results having been applied as rules of practice. Code (1993) agreed: "descriptive theories have normative force" (p. 30). Formal knowledge or knowledge-for-practice, has traditionally been a primary focus in many teacher education programs (Britzman et al., 1995) and in competency-driven mentoring programs. Such knowledge continues to hold a place of authority within education beyond the classroom (Donmoyer, 1995) and in society at large. In her reconceptualization ofthe subjectivity/objectivity dichotomy in knowing, Code (1993) contended that, due to an emphasis on formal scientific research, it is the most "stringent aspects of [the positivist] program that have trickled down.. . to inform even well-educated laypersons' conceptions of what it means to be objective and of the authoritative status of modern science [and research]" (p. 18). Beginning teachers do use formal knowledge, but due to its indirect, rather than immediate application, novice teachers (as well as many experienced teachers) commonly negate the value of formal theoretical knowledge learned in teacher education programs, in favour of the more practical knowledge they believe they gain in classroom experiences during their practica and initial year of teaching (Richardson-Koehler, 1988). The knowledge-for-practice conception has led to a view held by some, that there is or should be a specified and codified base of knowledge for teaching, (A. Reynolds, 1995). Reynolds described a large body of work that has constructed an image of "what newly licensed teachers should know and be able to do" (p. 199): the specific skills, attitudes and knowledge needed to teach successfully. While this view is has some validity in that it implies that "teaching is a job that can be learned, [and that] aspects of the job-not 61 necessarily the entirety of the job of teaching-can be defined in terms of requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities" (p. 200), the knowledge base paradigm creates several problems that impact upon beginning teachers. First, in determining what beginning teacher should know, Reynolds contended that, among other things, beginning teachers . . . should have command over the pedagogical principles that wil l enable them to perform the tasks of teaching, especially those interactive tasks required to implement plans and manage the learning environment. Less important is knowledge of professional issues.. . and philosophical and sociological influences on curricula, (p. 212). The suggestion here is that beginning teachers should be able to use knowledge, but not think about it. The idea that beginning teachers should be able to apply knowledge without considering "philosophical and sociological influences" ignores the now commonly-held epistemological view that all knowledge is partial, biased (Belenky et al., 1986) and "inevitably political" (Donmoyer, 1995, p. 2). To suggest that beginning teachers need not examine underlying biases is to deny them the experience of thoughtful critique of the purposes and effects of education. A second issue is that proponents of the knowledge base argue that this knowledge is intended to form a foundation upon which "professional judgment" (Gardner, 1989, p. x) is based. However, it must be remembered that "professional" is a category of privilege (Biklen, 1995) and that notions of a specific professional knowledge base were originally intended and are often still intended to shore up the status of particular employments. Are all judgments teachers make professional! Must they be founded in a specific knowledge base? Where is the place for knowledge based in other aspects of one's life, such as friendship, family, and other employment? A third concern is that the idea of a knowledge base for beginning teaching has led to the establishment of rigid evaluation criteria that novices must demonstrate before becoming 62 full members ofthe teaching profession. The competence paradigm as described in Chapter 2 has a significant impact upon what knowledge can be considered within mentoring relationships. It implies a standardized view of teaching, regardless of context (Huling-Austin et al., 1989) and focuses beginning teacher support on achieving a standardized set of attitudes, knowledge and skills, again without encouraging thoughtful critique. In feminist pedagogy, the problematization of mainstream knowledge, such as knowledge-for-practice, is considered essential. In speaking to female university students, Rich (1977) argued that: What you can learn here (and I mean not only here but in any college or in any university) is how men have perceived and organized their experience, their history, their ideas about social relationships, good and evil, sickness and health etc. When you read or hear about "great ideas," "major texts," and "the mainstream of western thought", you're hearing about what men, above all white men, in their male subjectivity, have decided is important, (p. 232) The conception of knowledge-for-practice implies that experts such as mentors who have acquired the knowledge base, can impart it to beginning teachers. This conception serves to silence women (both mentors and beginning teachers) (Belenky et al., 1986), and to denigrate women teachers' experiences and the unauthorized but considerable knowledge they bring to teaching. Feminist pedagogy encourages women to "examine their own experiences, instead of always examining men's experiences" (Gaskell & McLaren, 1989, p. 39), recognizing the limitations of malestream knowledge that suppress the examination of gender issues as well as other issues such as race, class, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. Elsewhere, Gaskell (1989) stated, We are clearly on the side of those who argue that the ultimate goal is not to continue with two versions of knowledge, the male version and the female version, but to develop a new synthesis that is richer for paying attention to both male and female perspectives, (p. 43) 63 To accomplish this transformation, we need to look beyond researcher-generated knowledge-for-practice to acknowledge and address the realities of women teachers' lives and experiences. Practical Knowledge: Knowledge-in-practice Knowledge-in-practice (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, in press) or practical knowledge for teaching is learned through experience, both in teaching and in life experiences. It tends to be more valued by teachers than formal knowledge (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1993). Knowledge-in-practice is knowledge about how to do things in the school and classroom (Fenstermacher, 1994). It is "embedded in the practice of experienced [expert] teachers" (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, in press). It reflects "the individual's prior knowledge and acknowledges the contextual nature of that teacher's knowledge. It i s . . . shaped by situations;... constructed and reconstructed as we live out our stories.. . and relive them through the processes of reflection" (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1993, p. 10). Practical knowledge may not be capable of immediate expression: "practitioners.. . know a great deal that they have never... tried to articulate" (Shulman, 1989, p. 12). Perhaps because practical knowledge is difficult to articulate in ways that maintain its contextual and holistic character, it is sometimes unfortunately expressed as rules of practice that are as limiting as any over-generalized research finding. An example of such codifying is the injunction often offered to beginning teachers, "Don't smile until Christmas." Cochran-Smith and Lytle (in press) maintain that there are variant models considered under this broad conception. One model is "embodied narrative relational knowledge" or personal practical knowledge (Clandinin & Connolly, 1995, cited in Cochran-Smith & Lytle, in press), which is communicated through story (p. 23-24). Cochran-Smith and Lytle describe craft knowledge as "an amalgam of teachers' content knowledge (Shulman, 1987) and what [Grimmett and MacKinnon] call 'pedagogical learner knowledge,' or, 'pedagogical procedural information useful in enhancing learner-focused teaching in the dailiness of classroom actions'" (p. 24-25). Fenstermacher (1994) contended there are two distinct types of knowledge (formal and practical) while others, according to Cochran-Smith and Lytle, have disclaimed this dichotomy. 64 In mentoring relationships structured around the knowledge-in-practice paradigm, the focus is on coaching or helping "newcomers participate in dialogue with puzzling problems of practice" (Heaton & Lampert, 1993). The mentor is or should be an "expert teacher," one who acts wisely "in the midst of uncertain and changing situations" (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, p. 25) in the classroom. Not every experienced teacher is considered to have expertise; they may be "not sufficiently competent, wise, effective or accomplished to be considered an expert" (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, p. 27). At issue within the knowledge-in-practice conception is the assumption within the profession that knowing or expertise is contextually related to current (or recent) and extensive classroom teaching experience (Biklen, 1995). The work of mothers and other caregivers has application in teaching, but this kind of experience tends to be devalued under this paradigm (Grumet, 1981). Beginning teachers lack teaching experience, however, they possess a great deal of knowledge that lacks the sanctioned authority of formal knowledge or teaching-based practical knowledge. This less authorized knowledge relates to other life experiences. For example, many parents believe their parenting knowledge is helpful to them in their teaching. Even before student teachers enter teacher education programs, they have clear images and beliefs about teaching and visions of themselves as teachers. We come to be teachers with extensive experience as students in school, and with clear beliefs about teaching and learning that may be fanciful but are nevertheless difficult to change (Johnson, 1992). Many other life experiences contribute to forming beliefs about teaching and learning, including knowing adults who are teachers and reading stories and seeing movies about teachers. In some instances this prior knowledge is useful, in others it is less beneficial. Carter and Richardson (1989) found that beginning student teachers were confident and looked forward to helping children, although they had simplistic views about what this would involve. They had strong images of teachers, perhaps founded on remembrances of teachers they loved or on larger-than-life popular culture images (Biklen, 1995). Melissa, 65 the beginning teacher quoted in Chapter 1, expressed her belief that the parents would love her, as she had loved her grade one teacher, and expressed her dismay that they apparently did not. Melissa's statement reveals how beliefs about teaching are held and expressed through images. Johnson studied the images held by student teachers as they moved through teacher education programs (1992). She found that images evolved from long-past experiences and these images guided current and future classroom actions. "Images are not usually consciously articulated without some assistance. . . . They form the subconscious assumptions on which practice is based" (p. 125). Women teachers may be particularly vulnerable to images of the all-caring and deeply-loved teacher, since they may have been socialized to perceive value in work that involves direct care or "emotional labor" (Freedman, 1990). Understanding the cultural images of teachers, as well as individual images, is an important component of understanding what teachers know, since these images seem to create filters through which beginning teachers wil l see their classrooms and the others with whom they interact. Thus expertise in teaching is not merely constructed in the classroom and the novice may have much to offer to the "expert." The view of knowledge-in-practice does, to some extent, reflect a feminist perspective. It reconsiders some of the different knowledges women teachers hold and the ways these knowledges can be expressed and shared. However, the concept of experiential knowing is not unproblematic. Experience as a basis for knowing places novices in a lower position than their more experienced, expert colleagues (Fuss, 1989). This may serve to silence beginning teachers until they have more experience and expertise. Further, all knowledge is inherently biased according to attributes such as gender, race, class and sexual orientation (Briskin, 1990). Unless these biases are acknowledged and addressed, knowledge-in-practice may not adequately represent the changing context of schools. Moreover the conception of knowledge-in-practice does account for the expression of other manifestations of knowing, such as emotions (Jaggar, 1989). Despite a western 66 dichotomization of knowing and feeling, Jaggar contended that "emotions may be helpful and even necessary rather than inimical to the construction of knowledge" (p. 131). Beyond Dichotomous Conceptions of Knowledge: Knowledge-of-practice Cochran Smith and Lytle's (in press) third conception of knowledge, knowledge-of-practice, resolves many ofthe issues I have described in this chapter. In the knowledge-of-practice conception, "both knowledge generation and knowledge use are regarded as inherently problematic" (p. 35). Knowledge-of-practice is based on the assumption that, "through inquiry, teachers across the professional life span, from very new to very experienced, make problematic their own knowledge and practice as well as the knowledge and practice of others" (p. 37). As described earlier, this kind of problematizing of knowledge is an essential feature of a feminist pedagogy. It is the essence of thoughtful critique. Further, Cochran-Smith and Lytle (in press) suggested that "knowledge is constructed within local and broader communities" (p. 38). While they did not explore the notion of the relationships within such communities, feminist epistemological theory does. "Knowing other people" (Code, 1993, p. 19), refers to developing knowledge about those with whom we are in relation: Knowing other people in relationships requires constant learning... . Such knowledge is not primarily propositional... Nor is it reducible to the simple observational knowledge of the traditional paradigm.... It is acquired differently, interactively and relationally.... "Knowing how" and "knowing that" are implicated, but they do not begin to tell the whole story, (p.3) Code contended that knowledge about people is learned over time and it is learned within each unique relationship (such as a mentorship). One is constantly learning about the other person. Nelson (1993), agreed with Code that relationship is central to knowing: 67 "Feminists have argued that a solipsistic knower is implausible in light of human biology . . . . Interpersonal experience is necessary for individuals to have beliefs and to know" (p. 122). Instead of individuals as agents of knowledge, she saw communities as the primary constructors and acquirers of knowledge: I do not deny that individuals know. M y claim is that the knowing we do as individuals is derivative, that your knowing or mine depends on our knowing. . . . The "we". . . . is a group or community that constructs and shares knowledge and standards of evidence.... Such communities are epistemically prior to individuals who know, (p .124) Nelson contended that "there are... no litmus tests for identifying epistemological communities" (p 149), but suggested that epistemological communities frame their standards of evidence in a contextual discourse. Nelson asserted that the underlying epistemology would be: a naturalized epistemology.... A naturalized epistemology, as Quine advocated . . . would involve constructing accounts of how we go about building knowledge and ofthe evidence we have for doing so . . . . It begins with the assumption that we do in fact know.. . and that such knowledge will be justified... by its ability to make sense of and explain experience, (p 125). Cochran-Smith and Lytle (in press) described a model of deliberate inquiry as central to knowledge-of-practice. In this model, "knowledge emerges from the conjoined understandings of teachers and others committed to long-term highly systematic observation.and documentation of learners and their sense-making" (p. 40). The knowledge-of-practice conception proposes an expanded view of teaching practice that "entails expanded responsibilities to children and their families, transformed relationships with teachers and other professionals in the school setting, as well as deeper and altered connections to communities, community organizations, and school-university partnerships" (p. 41). To this account, a feminist pedagogy would include the lived connectedness that many women perceive, experiencing their teaching practice as 68 extending beyond classrooms, schools and related educational communities into their own lives. Biklen (1995) found that many of the women in her study saw themselves as committed to teaching even as they went through periods of absence due to childrearing. Many women teachers saw childrearing as connected to and an extension of their teaching practice. In the knowledge-of-practice conception, teacher development is collaborative and communal, based on "an inquiry stance" (p. 9); "all participants... whether beginning teachers, experienced teachers, teacher educators, or facilitators-fimction as fellow learners and researchers rather than experts" (p. 45). The ideal of "inquiry communities" (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, in press, p. 61) recalls Nelson's (1993) conception of "epistemological communities." Epistemological communities, like Cochran-Smith and Lytle's inquiry groups, frame their standards of evidence in a contextual discourse and a shared form of justification that can "make sense of and explain experience" (p. 125). Cochran-Smith and Lytle (in press) asserted that a traditional mentoring model, based on presumptions of the automatic wisdom of experience and of a one way transmission of knowledge, is inconsistent with the assumptions of the knowledge-of-practice conception. Presumably, however, someone must initially facilitate and scaffold the inquiry. Someone must foster the exploration and critique. Further, there are many daily issues with which beginning teachers may wish more direct support. In her work with beginning teachers, Hollingsworth (1992) found that conversations focussed initially on issue of practice and relationships and only moved to more systemic and theoretical considerations when these initial concerns were addressed. Carter and Richardson (1989) referred to this kind of practice-based focus as "the need to know" (from Katz, Rath, Mohonty, Kurachi & Irving, 1981). Carter and Richardson contended that while there is a considerable body of knowledge that beginning teachers can acquire as student teachers: Without experience and responsibility, however, [beginning teachers] cannot learn when and how to use a skill or strategy, how to balance one need versus another in the classroom, and which classroom disruptions to ignore in attempts to maintain their students' attention on academic work. (p. 407) 69 The practicum provides important opportunities to address some of these concerns, but Carter and Richardson argued that most novices are hired to teach in different situations than their practicum settings, and that much knowledge will not transfer directly to their new settings; "these new contexts require different strategies and timing than those learned in student teaching as well as expanded understandings of teaching activities and events" (p. 407). Despite obvious commonalties across teaching settings (for example, students, some form of curriculum, teaching colleagues and meetings), teachers experience new contexts each year, including new students, new curriculum and new colleagues among other conditions. For beginning teachers who have completed several practica in the same grade, school or classroom, I have observed that such newness can be surprising and alarming. Cochran-Smith and Lytle (in press) referred to a process of collaboratively constructing "local knowledge" (p. 66) which is generated and grounded in a particular context, but also directed toward larger structures and purposes. For beginning teachers, I have suggested the press of the local will take precedence over the global. Until they have teaching materials, until they know where to find student files, until they know what happens on parent-teacher night, the dailiness of teaching wil l hold beginning teachers' attention. Not until they begin to feel somewhat settled in a school wil l they be likely to think of larger issues. Mentoring relationships can deal particularly well with issues of context and the "need to know," while fostering deeper collaborative inquiry through thoughtful critique. Cochran-Smith and Lytle (in press) differentiated Himley's (1991) conception of "deep talk" from "casual chat of school hallways or lunch rooms" (p. 47). Deep talk shares many similarities with collaborative conversation (Hollingsworth, 1992). However, Cochran-Smith and Lytle asserted that deep talk, "although relational" does not "emphasize primarily the personal talk engaged in when offering moral support or empathizing"(p. 47). I argue that the trust needed for such talk to develop is dependent on casual and personal chat. Beginning to teach is not simply a work-related venture. Many beginning teachers are leaving home, forming life partnerships, becoming "working" mothers, or undergoing other significant life changes that accompany starting to teach. 70 While many women have sources of personal support outside the school, to dichotomize "personal" and "professional" dichotomizes teachers' lives. Friends who are not teachers may not understand the mind and body weariness teachers experience, nor the continual thoughts of students, content and planning that invade teachers' minds on weekends and in the middle of the night. Teachers do understand these phenomena and thus, colleagues may be in a strong position to offer personal as well as professional support, since the two cannot and should not be separated. It may be problematic for some women teachers to participate in the kind of collaborative inquiry Cochran-Smith and Lytle (in press) advocated. This kind of systematic dialogue takes time, and groups or dyads of women teachers may struggle to find extended time they can devote to ongoing discussion. Further, Cochran-Smith and Lytle suggested that while this kind of critical inquiry "may fit comfortably within a university or school district's institutional agenda for reflective practice," teachers may also begin to "challenge and then alter or dismantle fundamental practices" (p. 69). Institutions that initially encourage teachers to work from an inquiry stance may later regret and discourage critique that moves in different directions than district imperatives. Generally, the knowledge-of-practice paradigm matches well with a feminist view of knowledge and a feminist pedagogy for mentoring. It demands the kind of reconceptualization of mentoring that I am proposing. However, I have shown that taking on a feminist perspective does not make knowledge-of-practice unproblematic. While I support the development of models that foster life-long learning for all participants, I argue that beginning teachers deserve to have support focused on their unique interests and concerns, and that more experienced teachers can be facilitative in first addressing these concerns and then fostering a climate of thoughtful critique. Further, the developing mentorship can also support the mentor's life-long learning. Deliberate inquiry groups that pose and examine issues through a rigorous lengthy process will not be an effective 7 1 form of support for beginning teachers, but an inquiry stance can be developed through a more personalized form of collaboration. Mentoring may be one site in which inquiry, support and advice are mingled, where knowledge is offered as well as collaboratively generated. This form of support can be described as an epistemological mentorship. C o n c l u s i o n Stories of women's lives are seldom represented from the perspective of feminine experience. Female friendships are rarely portrayed; female mentor-mentee relationships are even scarcer. (Cain, 1994, p. 112) Mentors receive little specific preparation for their work and there is little in either mainstream (Feiman-Nemser, 1992b) or feminist literature (Cain, 1994) to guide them. It is because of this absence that I have proposed a feminist pedagogy for mentoring, founded upon the development of the relationship between the participants, on questioning interactions and on collaborative knowledge generated within the mentorship. I am arguing that this is how mentorships should be conceptualized and constructed. I contend that this model of feminist pedagogy for mentoring may prove useful in asking deeper questions and ultimately better understanding mentoring among women (and men) teachers. Given this theory, it is now necessary to examine the relationships of the participants in this study to determine how these teachers really constructed their mentorships. What images from professional and personal experiences guided them? How were the mentorships initiated? Through what experiences did the relationships develop? How did mentorships end? Were these strictly professional relationships or did they also encompass the personal? Were gender issues pivotal within these women teachers' mentorships? In this chapter I have suggested that mentorships have the potential to be relationships in which knowledge is co-constructed, shared and examined, and that this knowledge wil l be broad in scope and structure. What form do these processes of knowledge construction 72 and communication actually take? Are collaborative relational models, such as collaborative inquiry (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, in press), the midwife-teacher (Belenky et al., 1896), epistemological communities (Nelson, 1993), and collaborative conversation (Hollingsworth, 1992) possible alternatives to the traditional hierarchy of authority for knowing? Through this dissertation, I am interested in knowing more about the potential of mentoring as a learning relationship, in which knowledge construction is central. A successful feminist mentoring relationship would be one in which the beginning teacher and the mentor engaged in a reciprocal process of examining knowledge, not merely sharing information, ideas, and beliefs. The extent ofthe success of each mentorship wil l be determined through an analysis of the presence and intermingling of the following elements: when both participants describe the relationship as successful or positive, when there is evidence of reciprocity within the relationship, and when there is evidence of critical knowledge being communicated, constructed and justified by both participants within the mentorship. I wonder i f mentoring is or can be a site where knowledge and values are problematized and where relationship is foregrounded (Gitlin and Thompson, 1995). I wonder, along with Cain (1994), i f we can re-conceptualize mentoring "in terms of women working together in reciprocity and trust?" (p. 117). Is this a realistic expectation for mentoring relationships traditionally steeped in a patriarchal paradigm? Can we bring teachers in and at the same time bring them out? I want to know i f mentoring relationships can be relationships in which all teachers, and specifically women teachers, together explore underlying issues of teaching. If mentoring is to be more than a socialization or assessment procedure, then it needs to be grounded in a feminist pedagogy of thoughtful critique. 73 I take forward into the research study as a theoretical framework this conception of feminist mentoring with the essential quality of thoughtful critique. The study was designed to first explore real mentorships and then to test the feminist conception. In Chapter 41 describe the methodology ofthe study I undertook to explore the research questions and to learn more about mentoring among women teachers. 74 CHAPTER FOUR: METHODOLOGY Introduction Journal: entry September 18, 1997 I cant remember how many times uyu-teacher I have-reactor told/the-ytory of the/three/billy goaty gruff. Euch gout ha* to- take- u- turn/ to- cro-yy the/ bridge/tothe/greenhillyide/meadow, knowing-thatthe/ylightest youndwill bring/forthfrom/under the/brulge/the/eviltroU/. Euchone/ytartyoff, "trip-trup, trip-trap" Outpopythe-troU/, "WHO'S THAT TRIP TRAPPING OVEK MY BRIDGE?" Euchgoat mustcome/ up withugood response/thatdiscourages the/troUfrom/crawlirig-up onto-the/bridge/to-eathCm/. The/goaty' only defense*are/trickery, und(inthe/ca^e/ofthe/big-bxlly gout) violence/. The/bridge/ metaphor representytome/the/chasm/that beginning-te^ must croyy to move/ from/ teacher education to- the/ "field/' of real teaching-. At least the/billy gouty had a- bridge-! I think in many casesbeginning-teachery mustjuyttake/ uflying-leap undhope/they lundyafely and canjump up and yturtrunning-quickly enough. I'm/uma^ed/athow beginning-teachery must begin/: yometimes without cluyyrooms, like-Taylor (Chapter 6), or with the/ toughest cluyy, like/Michelle- (Chapter 7), or finding-out the- courye/they were/ hLred/totexMjhhasbeencancelled/, like-Marie- (Chapter 5). What would- it meantofhe/billy goatyto-have/ yomeorie/from/the/hillside/ meadow come- over to- guide/ the-m/ ucroyy the- bridge-? Or for the- troll to yuy, "Come-onucroyy, glad/you/re/here/!" 75 Rationale for the Study In Chapter 1,1 described the path that led me to the research study described in this dissertation. I believe that, as educators, we must address the quality of the initial experiences of beginning teachers and that we need to learn more about what beginning teachers experience so that we can develop better ways to support them as they become teachers. For too long, teachers and teacher educators have watched silently from opposite sides of a deep chasm as novice teachers struggle unsupported, to leap between teacher education and the field of teaching. Mentoring and induction programs attempt to build bridges, but until we know which kinds of bridges are most supportive, we cannot proceed toward the goal of providing more supportive structures. As described in Chapter 1, the research problem I have focussed upon is the nature of mentoring relationships among women teachers, specifically the pedagogical and epistemological possibilities and paradoxes within these mentorships. The two questions that frame this study are: 1. How do women teachers co-construct mentoring relationships? What is the substantive content and process of mentoring among beginning teachers and mentor teachers? 2. How should a feminist pedagogy for mentoring be constructed and to what extent do the mentoring relationships described in this study reflect this representation of a feminist pedagogy for mentoring? To investigate the research problems underlying these questions, I conducted a qualitative study of mentoring relationships among women teachers. As explained in Chapter 1, the participants were teachers in a public school district who were involved in a district supported mentoring program. The teachers participated as mentoring dyads, although there was one triad, involving a beginning teacher with two mentors. As previously delineated, all participants are women. Data collection took place through a sequence of qualitative interviews with each beginning teacher and mentor, as well as with the two (or three) together. The analysis of the data involved identifying key contextual features of each mentorship as well as intra-case themes. This process led to the development of descriptive case studies ofthe four dyads and one triad. In addition, I distilled a cluster of inter-case themes, which are also explicated in Chapter 9. To borrow from Ayers (1980), 76 the purpose of my research study was to learn more about the meanings of mentoring for the participants, in the hope that the individual and shared meanings wil l resonate with others and provide signposts for continued learning about how best to support beginning teachers. In beginning, I knew I wanted to develop richly detailed representations of mentoring based upon "thick description" (Lincoln & Guba, as cited in Merriam, 1988). As much as possible, I wanted to tell the particular stories using the teachers' voices; I wanted to link individual experiences of mentoring to shared referents in teaching. For example, teacher union contracts largely prescribe how beginning teachers are hired and placed in teaching assignments, and how they are laid-off and rehired. Thus, teaching contracts strongly affect the experiences of beginning teachers. It is through shared referents as well as singular experiences, the "telling" cases as well as the "typical" ones (Sanjek, 1990, p. 409), that I hoped to make "sense out of an initially bewildering cultural or social form" (Ayers, 1980, p. 12). Since feminist theory provides a frame for my study, I wanted to ensure that my research not only "illuminate[d] the lived experiences [of the participants]; it must also be illuminated by their struggles" (Lather, 1991, p. 55). M y a priori feminist theories had to be considered dialectically with the experiences of the participants leading to "flexible theory-building... [that would be] respectful of the experiences of people in their daily lives" (Lather, 1991, p. 54). M y interest in rich description and in highlighting context across several stories of mentors and beginning teachers directed me to a case study approach for my research. T h e M e t h o d o l o g y : C a s e S t u d y A case study methodology is particularly well suited to study the complex social phenomenon of mentoring, because of its focus on context and its utilization of multiple sources of data (Yin, 1994). Y i n defined case study as, "empirical inquiry that. . . investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context" (1994, p. 13). Cases may seek to explore, to describe and/or to explain. 77 It is important to note that case study as a research methodology differs from case study as a teaching method. Unlike teaching cases, Y i n contended that cases developed through case study research must be both "complete" and "accurate" i f they are to be trustworthy. Merriam (1988) suggested that qualitative case study is: • descriptive, resulting in "rich, 'thick' description ofthe phenomenon under study" (p. ii); • heuristic, "explaining] the reasons for a problem, the background of a situation, what happened and why" (p. 13); • inductive, relying on the examination of data to reach conclusions (p. 13); and • particularistic, based in a "specific instance" (p. 13). These characteristics led to Stake's (as cited in Merriam, 1988) claim that the knowledge generated by case study is of a different quality than other research knowledge; it is "more concrete", "more contextual" and "more developed by reader interpretation" (p. 15). Wilson and Gudmundsdottir (1987) asserted that the principal issue in case study research is what is meant by a "case." While a case is generally assumed to be a "bounded system" (Wilson & Gudmundsdottir, 1987, p. 43), the question is how the boundaries of a case are to be determined. Wilson and Gudmundsdottir cited Shulman's question, "what is this a case of?" as being crucial to generalizability because, "to claim that something is a case study is to assert that it is a member of a family of individuals or events of which it is in some sense representative" (p. 44). Thus, to claim that something is a case, researchers need to be able to demonstrate that the phenomenon being represented has visible boundaries and they must be able to argue that the case is an exemplar of a larger category. In establishing the boundaries and category of a case, theory plays a key role. Y i n (1994) contended that theory has a main place during two stages of case study research, in the design of the study and in generalization. Merriam (1988) placed more emphasis on the 78 qualitative aspects of case study, "research is exploratory, inductive, and emphasizes processes rather than ends" (p. 17). Earlier in this chapter, I quoted Lather's contention that a priori theory must interact dialectically with the data so that each maintains its integrity. In the book, "Saying lives: The good pre-school teacher", Ayers (1980) provided an exemplar of qualitative case study. In this multiple-case study, Ayers attempted "to capture descriptive accounts of teachers teaching as well as telling stories of teaching" (p. 1). His purpose was to create "individual portraits of teachers working" and to "expand our understanding ofthe meaning teachers give to their work, to perceive in the particular details of these portraits, patterns that will perhaps prove useful to them as well as relevant to others" (p. 1). In Ayer's study, each case is a well-developed portrait, a case of pre-school teaching. Each case is richly described and analyzed. While the cases have differences in context, they share sufficient similarities to be placed the within a family or classification. Although Ayers described his methodology as "co-biography" or "life-narrative" (p. 8), it also meets the criteria for case study as described by Y i n (1994) and Merriam (1988). Ayers demonstrated how case study research provides an occasion for "hear[ing] the voices of teachers" (p. 1), describing phenomena that are "individual, organizational, social, and political" (Yin, p. 1). M y selection of case study methodology flowed out of my experiences with beginning teachers and with mentoring. I knew there were rich and engaging stories to be told, and I hoped that these would not be completely idiosyncratic because I wanted to draw from them important ideas about how to better support beginning teachers. Two informal pilot studies fiirthered my belief in the value of beginning teachers' stories and contributed to the development of this study. Pilot Studies The first informal study took place while I was working in the Portal Mentoring program. In May 1993, as part ofthe ongoing evaluation of the program, the coordinators organized a focus group for second year teachers, with the purpose of learning more 79 about the first year teaching experience. Twelve teachers who had been involved in a second year option of the program were invited to participate in the focus group discussion. They were informed that the purpose of the focus group was to help program planners develop a clearer sense of the experiences and needs of beginning teachers. Of the twelve, eleven women teachers attended the teachers' center to participate in the focus group. Two facilitators met with the group, one to pose several open-ended questions, the other to transcribe the responses. Since I had been involved as a program planner, I decided simply to transcribe the conversation and to allow the conversation to flow without my input. The conversation was tape recorded and written notes were taken. The discussion took about one hour. The participants were asked to respond to three questions: first to describe their teaching assignment during their first and second year; then to specify the supports they received during their first year; and finally to offer any advice that they had for the program planners. In the conversation that followed, six themes emerged most clearly: 1. Changes in teaching assignment between the first and second year with resulting consequences for individuals, 2. Increased feelings of confidence and belonging developing in the second year, 3. A clearer focus on professional development emerging in the second year, 4. A more holistic perspective on curriculum planning in the second year, 5. Concerns about the role of parents in schools, and 6. The value of support and of particular kinds support. Several of these themes focus specifically on differences between first and second year teaching. However, two are particular to first year teaching. The theme, the role of parents, kept emerging throughout the discussion. Beginning teachers were uncomfortable with their relationships with parents and their responsibilities to communicate with and "educate" parents. This was a very emotional issue for least one beginning teacher, Melissa, who was quoted in Chapter 1. Melissa was surprised to find that she had to articulate her program to parents, instead of their just loving her, perhaps as she had loved her own grade one teacher. 80 The theme, the value of support, was one to which beginning teachers had obviously given a great deal of thought. The participants had a clear sense of their changing needs for support, while seeing some kinds of support as essential to their learning. Key supporters were principals, mentor teachers, other staff members, peers, and school district consultants. In particular, beginning teachers spoke of the importance of being able to ask questions: It was nice having this person designated as my mentor and knowing that they didn't mind i f I asked zillions of dumb, well not really dumb, but questions that might drive someone nuts. And they said-sure, they would love to help you with it. (Bindy, a second year teacher) Although this focus group study was not undertaken with the intent of scaffolding further research, it did pique my interest in learning more about the experiences of beginning teachers and in particular about the role of mentoring in that experience. Further, it confirmed that beginning teachers could competently describe their experiences and articulate their concerns. The uncovering of at least two ofthe themes, involvement with parents, and kinds of support, foreshadows some ofthe results of the study described in this dissertation. The second pilot study was undertaken during the school year of 1995-1996 and involved one beginning teacher. Mandy, a first year teacher and the sister of a colleague, agreed to meet with me to be interviewed once a month during her first year. M y purpose in setting up an informal pilot study was to follow one beginning teacher through an entire school year, to develop a deeper sense of what the progression of issues, concerns and successes might be for a novice teacher. Mandy agreed to be involved in the study because she saw the interviews as taking the place of journal writing, which she felt did not fit her learning style. I provided her with copies ofthe tapes of the interviews and these afforded her as well as me an account of her first year of teaching. The interviews were loosely structured, focussing on her experiences and her perceptions of becoming a teacher. 81 In the interviews, Mandy spoke of the pleasures she found in teaching, such as working with children, and feeling supported by other teachers and by administrators. As she described her days and weeks, a picture of a complex role emerged, a role that included clerical tasks of photocopying and filing, custodial tasks of tidying up (and washing every piece of equipment in August), supervisory tasks of directing the work of a classroom assistant, pedagogical tasks of planning, instructing and interacting with children and resourcing tasks of finding classroom materials. The themes that developed during our interviews included: 1. The challenges of planning a program that meets the expectations of the curriculum guidelines, 2. Dealing with critical parents, 3. Working with and supervising a paraprofessional in the classroom, and 4. Working up to sixty hours a week. It is interesting to note that many of the themes evident in my interviews with Mandy replicated those found by other researchers (for example Bullough, 1989; Jacka, 1995) and in the earlier focus group study. While the study of Mandy focused on the experiences of only one beginning teacher, it provided me with additional information about the experiences of beginning teaching and alerted me to some ofthe methodological issues I would need to attend to in the current study. These issues wil l be unpacked later in this chapter. The Research Design Site and Sample Selection In Chapter 1,1 described the context of Portal School District and the history and nature ofthe mentoring program. I chose Portal as the research site for several reasons. It had a mentoring program in place and the program was well established. Because so many beginning teachers were being hired, there was a reasonable pool of beginning teachers and mentoring teachers from which to select a sample. At the time, I was working in 82 Portal as a district program coordinator and was responsible for mentoring program. For this reason gaining entry was relatively straightforward (Bernard, 1994). What was problematic for me as a researcher in this site was my "insider" status (Wolcott, 1985). I will discuss this issue in describing my role as a researcher. Portal represented an "ideal setting" (Marshall & Rossman, 1995), since it combined easy access with a "high probability that a rich mix ofthe processes, people, programs, interactions, and structures of interest are present" (Marshall & Rossman, 1995, p. 51). To receive permission to undertake this study, I submitted a proposal to the district principal responsible for research within the school district, who referred it to the Beginning Teacher Advisory Committee. This committee was composed of district administrators, representatives from the union, and the program coordinators, and it met monthly to consider issues within the mentoring program. I was a member of the committee, so at the point that I submitted my proposal in June 1996,1 attended the meeting to explain the proposal, and then withdrew to allow the other committee members to make a decision about allowing the study to proceed. Shortly afterward, I was informed that I had permission to initiate the study. I approached the entire group of newly hired beginning teachers and mentor teachers in early October at the first workshop sessions ofthe mentoring program. While it would have been preferable to approach teachers prior to the beginning ofthe school year, the majority of hiring did not take place until mid-September and mentoring relationships were not in place until several weeks later. Recognizing these realities, I prepared letters explaining the research study and distributed these at the first mentoring workshops. I explained the nature of the study and to ask anyone interested to contact me. Following the sessions, several teachers approached me to express interest. I followed up on these contacts, but still needed several more participants. M y plan was to select five pairs of beginning and mentor teachers for the inquiry, using a "simple criterion-based selection process" (Goetz & LeCompte, as cited in Merriam, 1988). I wanted to be able to argue that each of the teachers in the study is an exemplar of 83 the broader population. In her case study of "Paula", Jacka contended that since Paula's teacher-education program and practicum were similar to other programs in the area and since her first teaching school and colleagues were "representative of many boards", that she was "typical" enough to "represent one voice of the... [beginning] teacher" (Jacka, 1995, p. 22). M y first selection criterion was gender. As explained in Chapter 2, a majority of beginning teachers in B C are female, as are many mentors. I decided to include dyads in which both teachers were women. To increase/improve the generalizability/applicability of this study, I wanted to use "typicality" as the criteria for selecting a mix of grade levels (from kindergarten to grade seven) and schools, beginning teachers from different teacher education programs, and i f possible, some diversity in age and race or ethnicity. I anticipated the need for some flexibility in selection and I recognized the importance of documenting the reasons leading to choices I would make to ensure my sample was as representative (or typical) as possible. Every participant was asked to sign a consent letter and was given a copy of the letter for their records, as well as additional information about the study. The participants were each asked to select pseudonyms. Despite this carefully planned and articulated process for inviting and selecting participants, problems occurred. In every previous year, a significant number of beginning teachers had been hired. In the research year, only thirteen elementary beginning teachers were hired. Several of them were male. M y scrupulously thought-out plan disintegrated and a new plan had to be quickly created. M y only option was to broaden my criteria and therefore the pool of possible participants: I could include either male elementary teachers or female secondary teachers. I include an excerpt from my research journal that provides a more animated account of these events and my decisions. Journal/ entry: Sept25, 1996 My first research/ crisis aruL I hcwervt eA/erv made/ it to- the/ field/. As we/put together the/ltst of be^uaruA^ it became/ ccppowent that there/ 84 are/only 14- elementary beginriing/teachery, and/3 of those/are/ male/. Two-of the/ womew yhare/ a mentor. So-how am I supposed/ to- get 5 pairs out ofthat?? So-what do-1 do-? The/only ideas I have/are/to- add men/ and/or to- add secondary. But after all/the/ fuss 1've/ made/ about only women, I dont see/ how my conceptual frame/ would stand/ adding- men/. And I hnow that there/ are/ different issues at secondary, yo-what do-1 do-? I'm really pissed off that of aUthe/yeary for the/population/to-drop, ity my year!! The/year when/1 needed about 35 or 30 pairytodraw from/. So, Tmin/thiypanlo and/I dont hnow what to do. Fortunately, my dissertation advisory committee took a more reasoned approach, as did I when I calmed down and really looked at the problem. M y decision was to retain the single gender focus I had originally decided upon and to broaden my participant pool to include elementary and secondary women teachers. The Participants Ultimately, thirteen women teachers became participants in the study. Of these, two dyads were secondary and the others elementary. Of the elementary participants, there was one triad, consisting of a beginning teacher and two mentors. This was an unusual situation, which is further described in Chapter 6.1 later excluded the data from one elementary pair, because I discovered that the beginning teacher had in fact taught for several years in another province. While their story was very interesting, since the mentor and beginning teacher taught at different schools and had distinctive teaching assignments, I felt they did not fit the criteria closely enough. I did continue their interview sequence and shared their transcripts with them. Although I did not ask for extensive personal information, through observation and free disclosure I learned that the participants' ages ranged from the mid-twenties to the mid-fifties. Five ofthe six mentors were married, and none of the beginning teachers were, although one was divorced and a parent of young children. One mentor also was a mother of young children and two had grown up children. The mentors had been teaching from 85 five to twenty plus years. Two mentors were women I knew well; I had worked with both and considered them to be friends. This was probably why they volunteered to participate in the study, although each was also interested in research and reflective practice as well. Issue: Researching a Familiar Education Setting Earlier, I referred to methodological issues that I anticipated might emerge for me during this research study. These issues resulted from my decision to undertake the study within a familiar educational setting: within a program that I coordinated and in my own school district. A familiar educational setting is one in which the researcher is working or has worked in the recent past. It is one in which the researcher or participants believe the researcher has membership. For a teacher, a familiar educational setting would be a school in which she was teaching or had taught. For a principal, a familiar educational setting would be a school in which she was or had been an administrator or a teacher. For a university faculty member, a familiar educational setting would be a university classroom or department or another educational setting in which she had worked recently. We are conducting research in familiar educational settings when we study our students, our colleagues or our specific educational cultures. This was clearly the case for me in this study. A great deal of educational research, and particularly a great deal of qualitative educational research, is undertaken in familiar settings. This comes as no surprise. As educators, we are interested in our own work, and the opportunity to conduct research within the context of our work provides a rich learning experience. Teachers often want to study their own students, whether the students are in pre-school or graduate school. There is the prospect of learning something that wil l change and improve our practice, to find out what is working well and what might be better done another way. In this sense, research in familiar settings is praxis, a form of "critical reflection on practice" (Lather, 1986, p. 43). A significant factor in my choosing this research topic was to improve the mentoring program I was coordinating. 86 Familiar settings sometimes come with open doors. We may personally know the gatekeepers (as I did) and the procedures for gaining entry (Bernard, 1994) and we may find subjects more willing to participate. Several of the mentor teachers in the study were colleagues I knew well. Others liked the program and wanted to support its development through their participation. Knowing the context helps researcher know i f a particular setting is a likely location for our research: whether it has the program or population we want to study. This was so in Portal. It was one of very few districts in B C that had a mentoring program. Through the publication of research findings, there is the opportunity to share our successes and to present our concerns to peers who may offer new ideas and challenge our thinking. When we desire to conduct research in current or previous settings in which we have worked, these settings must be acknowledged as familiar, and as carrying both benefits and risks for the researcher, the researched and the reader of the research. I wi l l explore the risks of conducting research in familiar educational settings as they emerged in my study throughout this chapter and the entire paper. Case study research is a particularly useful methodology in familiar settings. For those educators seeking increased understanding about a setting in which they work, case study research provides an opportunity to collect a variety of data within that context and to analyze these data holistically. In familiar settings, a researcher is well positioned to determine the context and boundaries of a case. When educators study a familiar context, they are involved in a kind of teacher research, a study of the practice with which they are or have been involved. Cochran-Smith and Lytle (1993) suggested that, "almost by definition, teacher research is case study research. The unit of analysis is typically the individual child, the classroom or the school" (p. 59). In this study, the unit of analysis is the mentoring dyad or triad. The purpose of research in familiar settings may be to take action: to find a better solution to a problem of practice, to reveal the complexities of a situation to others and/or to increase understanding. Cochran-Smith and Lytle titled their study of teacher researchers, "Inside/outside: Teacher research and knowledge", a 87 comment on the dual roles undertaken by practitioners researching their own work. They described the teacher researcher as a "permanent and observant participant" (Florio-Ruane & Walsh, as cited in Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1993, p.60). Traditionally, in anthropology, qualitative research is undertaken by non-members of a culture, by "outsiders." This has been assumed to be the case in education as well. But even a cursory examination of qualitative research in education reveals that many studies are authored by those with a personal/professional interest in the context: teachers study their classrooms, administrators study their schools, university faculty study their students. In such contexts, researchers are not outsiders, we are insiders too. We are taking on a dual role, that of insider-outsider. Rather than being the traditional outsider of anthropology fieldwork, researchers in familiar setting are cast as insider-outsiders: insiders through our current or previous connections with the setting, and outsiders as we are taking on different roles as researchers within that setting. As I was to discover, this dual status carries a set of dilemmas that must be addressed in research in familiar educational settings. There are a number of important issues that researchers can anticipate. Other issues will emerge through the course ofthe study and researchers must be prepared to respond at the time of their emergence. I have described the processes through which my research interest emerged and the ways I gained access. Undoubtedly, the fact that I was researching within a very familiar setting profoundly affected my research experience. As I have stated, several ofthe mentors were close colleagues and friends. I was known by other participants when I entered schools to conduct interviews. The familiar nature ofthe context was both an asset and detriment. M y insider-outsider status required a continual interrogation of my positionality and its effect on the study. 88 Issue: Researcher Positionalitv Journal entry Octl, 1996 I hadmy firytopportunity to-ypeahto-teacheryubout my research-1 thinhl wuy nervous unddid not yourid/ Wee/ cv competent researcher. Only one/pair hay returned/ my form/yo-fur. I ypoke/tothe/ yecondary group the/next day as well/. I think/1 younded/ better, but guesywhat-only one/puir from/ that day too. And/I have/to- admitthatbothvolunteer mentory are/friends of mine/. I gaesyl need/ to- cultivate/ more/ friendy! So- much for the/ advantages of working/ inu/familiar yetting-. On-Friday I plan to-pho-ne- yo-me/ othery to- yee/ if I can drum/ up interest. Itfeelslihe/aninauspitiousbegin^ The matter of positionality or status of the researcher is a central concern for qualitative researches. "Insider" status (Wolcott, 1985) is problematic for researchers and research participants. Wolcott argued that being a member of school culture leads to "being so totally immersed in and committed to formal education, they [professional educators] are as likely to 'discover' school culture as Kluckhohn's proverbial fish are likely to discover water" (p. 198). Insider positionality brings to question one's capacity to really see what is going on in a setting and thus, to conduct a valid study. While a researcher must consider her own positionality in a familiar setting, the research participants wil l also be involved in defining the researcher's role. Others will see us in the research setting as insiders or as outsiders, regardless of our own conclusions about our status. I found that at least one participant, Tie, initially and regularly confused my role as a researcher in the interviews with my role within the school district. She frequently admonished me about what the district should be doing in a variety of areas, completely unrelated to mentoring. The role dilemma is not solved by seeing ourselves or by being seen as outsiders, hooks (1988) had an ethical concern about outsider research, which also has implications for trustworthiness: "When we write about the experiences of a group to which we do not belong, we should think about the ethics of our action, considering whether or not our work wil l be used to reinforce and perpetuate domination" (p. 43). The issue of speaking 89 for others is sharpened when the others for whom we are speaking are our students or colleagues, since we must work in relationship with them as well as study them. Christman (1988) contended that distinctions between who is an insider and who is an outsider are blurred. She suggested a continuum rather than a dichotomy: "It is not the scientific detachment of the researcher as a complete stranger that insures validity, but knowledge of where one is along as many dimensions of that continuum as possible" (p. 73). Further, Christman refuted the traditional research position (outsiders are best) as it implies that "participation could be learned, but detachment... could not. A n outsider could be made an insider, but never the reverse." (p. 73). It seems that, "there is no final answer on whether it's good or bad to study your own culture" (Bernard, 1994, p. 154). A researcher's status as an insider-outsider needs to be identified and continuously reviewed because the researcher's perspective always influences data collection and interpretation. One significant issue I dealt with throughout the research study and writing process was how much personal information about participants to divulge. Revealing information such as ethnicity, marriage status, and even specific subjects or grade levels taught could have the effect of jeopardizing anonymity within the familiar educational setting ofthe study. Not to include any such information would have left the cases unrealistic and barren. As a researcher in a familiar setting, I found that my desire to include large extracts of raw data bumped up against the need to maintain participant anonymity. The inclusion of lengthy excerpts of raw data necessitated the publication of intimate details that would be revealing to others in the setting. Thus, while including such data had the potential to enhance the quality ofthe study, I felt that this practice had to be carefully considered and cautiously undertaken. Even then, I found that certain details of demographic information had to be excluded, unless there was significant impact on the cases being developed. 90 The Interviews The data collection process for the study consisted of a series of qualitative interviews with each participant as well as with pairs of teachers. I interviewed individuals in October/November, in January/February and April/May. Because one mentor (Elizabeth) was on a personal leave from February until April, I was not able to hold that dyad's interviews on this same schedule. Instead, Maggie and Elizabeth's second interviews were in early May and the third interviews were in mid June. I held the joint interviews with the dyads in November and February or March. This sequence was intended to provide an overview of much of the first year teaching experience and the mentoring experience, giving me eight interviews within each dyad and eleven with the one triad. I did not divulge what was discussed in the individual interviews within the joint interviews, although frequently the individuals themselves did. To gain a deeper sense of what happened between the mentors and beginning teachers, I also asked each dyad to record one of their conversations to share with me and provided tape recorders to each dyad. I suggested they choose a conversation that they felt comfortable allowing me to listen to. In fact, only one pair did record a conversation. The others all intended to, but later reported that because so much of their mentoring was spontaneous, they did not record a conversation. A l l interviews were tape recorded with the consent of the participants and took place at locations agreed to by the individuals involved. I initially hesitated to use school settings, since I felt this might jeopardize the anonymity of the participants. However, most teachers preferred to meet at their schools. Since I was known to work with beginning teachers and since I often visited schools in my role as Curriculum Coordinator, my presence in schools did not raise any questions. The interviews were later transcribed. The transcripts were sent to each teacher and teachers were invited to respond to the transcripts and, i f they desired, prohibit the use of any sections. No one did so. The interviews were semi-structured (Bernard, 1994), with a prepared but adjustable interview protocol for each interview in the sequence. The protocols are included in 91 Appendix A . I used the same general framework for all participants, but retained a degree of flexibility to follow threads that were suggested by the respondents. The purpose of this level of standardization within the interviews was to facilitate the revelation of common themes as well as unique experiences. However, the flexibility proved to be essential in at least one particular instance, the case of Sue Ann, Emily and Tie, which I wil l discuss in Chapter 6.1 limited interviews to a maximum of one hour. Based on the pilot studies, upon research literature, and upon personal experience, I knew that beginning teachers have very little free time and I didn't want to impose unnecessarily. Each interview centred on three or four questions. Limiting the number of questions permitted me to probe for further information and follow the lead of the respondents. It allowed the interviews to unfold in a conversational manner. In general, at least one question each time was a "grand tour" question (Spradley, as cited in Bernard, 1994), such as one for the beginning teachers, "Take me through a typical day in your life." In each interview I also made it a practice to ask i f there was any thing else the interviewee would like to tell me. This question frequently drew out information I had not thought to ask about, yet that was invaluable to the study. In all, I completed 51 interviews. This number of interviews resulted in many hours of transcribing and produced a considerable amount of data. As a researcher with a physical limitation (arthritis), the sheer volume of data to be transcribed was daunting. Fortunately, I had two assistants, who supported me in this work, although I undertook the majority of it myself. In addition to the tapes and transcriptions, I recorded and then transcribed personal fieldnotes following each interview and maintained a research journal. These written data proved particularly useful when one ofthe interview tapes malfunctioned and I lost some tape-recorded data. The interview process was lengthy, illuminating and challenging. As I have previously stated, my positionality as an insider-outsider was a complicating factor. During the interviews, I experienced this paradox as a dilemma regarding reciprocity. 92 Issue: Reciprocity Reciprocity between the researcher and the participants is both an issue of ethics and an issue of validity. Reciprocity supports the generation of richer data and more believable theory: "When the researcher moves from the status of stranger to friend [she is] able to gather personal knowledge from subjects more easily" (Lather, 1991, p. 57). However, Fine (1994) described the researcher-researched relationship as problematic: "'Relations between' get us 'better' data, limit what we feel free to say, expand our minds and constrict our mouths, engage us in intimacy and seduce us into complicity, make us quick to interpret and hesitant to write" (p. 72). Lather (1991) suggested that reciprocity "operates at two primary points... the junctures between researcher and researched and data and theory" (p. 57). The first juncture deals with relationship between persons. The second involves people looking at the data gathered and the interpretations developed and wil l be discussed later as "dialectical theory building" (p. 55). This issue of reciprocity among people is unquestionably further complicated by the duality of the insider-outsider role, in which the researcher is at once the researcher and also the teacher, supervisor and/or colleague. In my study, as I have alluded, the issue of duality complicated my work. The teachers who participated in my study worked with me in both my researcher role as well as my pedagogical role as a coordinator of the program. In addition, the research participants were required to take on a dual relationship with me as the researcher. In one sense they were the researched, in the other they were and are colleagues. Power can become a critical element within this dual relationship. The research role carries power, as does the pedagogical or supervisory role, but, "often these power relations are hidden, because the researcher's power is often 'transparent, unspoken'" (Gorelick, as cited in Wolf, 1996, p. 19). Fine asked researchers to consider, "whose lives get displayed and whose lives get protected?" (p. 73). The coordinator role I held was largely administrative and supportive rather than authoritative, that is, I did not have power or authority to be critical of teachers' work. However, I was an experienced teacher and I did work at the school board office. It was important that I maintained 93 confidentiality and assured participants that I was doing so. This became troubling as I developed the cases and interpretations, as I will describe later in this chapter. There were no instances when I was aware of participants' uneasiness about my dual role; in fact many participants saw the research as part of my coordination. They were helping me to know more about their experiences so that I could improve the program for other beginning teachers and mentors. In response to Fine's concern regarding whose lives are portrayed and protected in a research study, I have attempted to display aspects of my life as the researcher and to conceal parts of the teachers' lives. Based on an assumption that "someone other than the researcher should benefit" (Wolf, 1996, p. 24), reciprocity between persons may take various forms. The researcher can give back to the participants. The teachers in my study quite reasonably expected me to continue to offer support when I was acting as a researcher. They asked me questions and talked through problems with me. In some instances this provided an opportunity for the participant to reflect on her experiences for her own benefit. There were also numerous examples in the interviews where I moved from a researcher role to an advising role, providing information about resources and school district procedures, and in many instances, advice. I classified these as "Merrilee mentors." In providing advice, I broke Bernard's 'rule' to, "get an informant on to a topic of interest and get out of the way" (p. 212). But an ethical issue seemed to be involved for me. I felt and continue to feel that "a degree of reciprocity was required in our relations" (Young & Tardif, 1992, p. 142). Another form of reciprocity involves the researcher disclosing details about her own life to the participants. I was asked in the interviews about my experiences as a beginning teacher and as a mentor. I was asked about my family and my work. I was asked about my dual status as student and as teacher. I initially struggled with concerns regarding interventions within my researcher role, but finally concluded that for the interviews to maintain a conversational form there were times that I had to respond as well as inquire. Further it seemed unethical for me to withhold information I could easily provide. I was constantly aware of the need for caution and intentionality in the interviews and reflected on each interview in my research journal. 94 I believe that intentionality is central to the interview process because the researcher's "apparently harmless remarks may somehow rather inhibit than encourage" (Young & Tardif, 1992, p. 142). A participant may be reluctant to describe her own experiences i f she feels they differ greatly from those of the researcher. The opposite effect is a concern as well. Finch (as cited in Christman, 1980) suggested that there are ethical concerns for feminist researchers when developing relationships between researcher and researched lead informants to be very candid. An experience early in the study highlighted the concern regarding participant candidacy and disclosure. During one interview a beginning teacher became distressed and began to cry and I elected to turn off the tape recorder and just listen to her. It seemed too invasive to record her anguish. This was one time when "Merrilee mentored." Another time I sat and listened to an extremely hostile exchange that to this day feels toxic to listen to or read. I continue to wonder i f I should or could have intervened to prevent it. A final form of reciprocity involves giving back transcripts, which was discussed earlier in this chapter. A l l of these forms of giving back have downsides. For example, even giving back transcripts not unproblematic. There can be a problem of participants seeing their utterances for the first time, wanting "to 'unsay' their words" (Tripp, 1983, in Lather, 1991, p. 58). Although no one chose in my study chose to withdraw sections of their transcripts, I was always alert to the possibility. Unlike researchers in unfamiliar settings, who have the luxury of retreating from the field upon the completion of research, in a familiar setting, the researcher may want to continue to work as usual. Therefore, considering issues of reciprocity is pragmatic as well as theoretical. While reciprocity appears to be a prudent approach and one which researchers in familiar settings must undertake, I have shown that it is not without dilemmas. Christman (1988) explored the issue of reciprocity in researcher-researched relationships, saying, "observation in any research situation has its own flavour-with the issues of reciprocity, researcher role, and ethics being played out in ways unique to the setting and those participants" (p. 79). As a researcher in a familiar setting, I was aware 95 that I might live long with the consequences of my research decisions and that, while reciprocity was essential, it was not a solution to the dilemmas imposed by the familiar setting. Data Analysis I began the process of data analysis with three principles in mind. The first was a strong intention to let the teachers' stories be heard. This intent was partly selfish: I wanted to know more about how mentors and beginning teachers experienced mentoring. Knowing some ofthe individuals involved, I anticipated that they would be able to describe their experiences with perceptiveness and sensibility. I wanted this perceptiveness and sensibility to be recorded, preserved, and heard. The second principle I followed was "flexible theory-building" (Lather, 1991, p. 54). I have previously described this principle, which requires that one's "a priori theories" be considered "dialectically with the experiences of the participants" rather than becoming "the container into which the data must be poured" (Lather, 1991, p. 62). The third principle was to consider what Anderson and Jack (1991) referred to as "conflicting perspectives:" A woman's discussion of her life may combine two separate, often conflicting perspectives: one framed in concepts and values that reflect men's dominant position in the culture, and one informed by the more immediate realities of a woman's personal experience, (p. 11) Anderson and Jack found in their own work that conversational constraints against "prying", resulted in transcripts that lacked "the complex web of feelings and contradictions behind [women's] familiar stories" (p. 13). I hoped that ongoing analysis during the interview timeline would facilitate returning to topics where conflicting perspectives emerged. M y plan was for data analysis to be continuing and dialogical. I wanted as much as possible, to negotiate meanings with the beginning teachers and the mentor teachers, by "recycl[ing] descriptions, emerging analysis and conclusions" (Lather, 1991, p. 61). This recycling was to become extremely problematic because of the timeline ofthe study and 96 the sheer amount of data to be transcribed. Unfortunately I could not provide transcripts as quickly as I had hoped. Thus, while all transcripts were eventually provided to participants, the time line was unsatisfactory. Instead at each interview I reviewed what we had talked about the last time. In addition, many topics were returned to by participants and new information was added to the cases as it was provided. The actual process of data analysis was eclectic or ad hoc (Kvale, 1996), involving "the ad hoc use of different approaches and techniques for meaning generation" (p. 203). M y process involved listening to the taped interviews and reading over the transcripts repeatedly until I had a good awareness of the data. As I read and listened I made informal notes of the stories, metaphors, conflicts and themes I could distill from the material. I compared these to my initial impressions as recorded in my field notes. Following this initial engagement with the data, I worked through the transcripts more systematically, using four major strategies. These were "meaning categorization", "meaning condensation", "narrative structuring" and "meaning interpretation" (Kvale, 1996, p. 192-193). As I read through each transcript, I created descriptors that represented the themes of natural sections of text. I recorded theme descriptors from all ofthe transcripts of a case and gathered the theme descriptors together on large charts. By viewing all of the thematic descriptors of a case, I was able to note which themes permeated the case and which appeared only a few times. Several kinds of themes emerged. One classification illuminated contextual factors that seemed to have an impact on the mentorship. These included among others, when and how the beginning teacher was hired, how the mentor was selected, what the beginning teacher's life was like, and supports the beginning teacher had. A second set of themes illustrated how the mentor and beginning teacher described and conceptualized their own and the other's role within the relationship. A sampling of these themes is: "mentor role-non-judgmental", "mentor role-confidentiality", "mentor role-encouraging risk 97 taking", "beginning teacher role-ask questions", and "beginning teacher role- initiate." A third group of themes was more eclectic. It included metaphors, emotions about teaching, and instances of my moving into a mentoring role. The fourth set of themes, which formed the vast majority, I called "knowledge construction episodes" or "KCEs." These refer to topics, events and themes that both teachers within the dyad referred to over time. They seemed to hold great significance for the pair and were pivotal in the development of the relationship. Generally, both partners spoke of learning a lot through conversations and activities the two undertook together. For Samantha and Marie, the dyad described in Chapter 5, some knowledge construction episodes were: 1. Plagiarism/racism, a theme that refers to ongoing conversations between Marie and Samantha about a series of events at the school involving instances of overt teacher racism related to student plagiarism, 2. Phoning parents, an early topic that seemed central to relationship development for Marie and Samantha, and 3. Report cards, a topic that emerged during each semester as Marie developed marks for her students. In analyzing the KCEs, which were distilled from rich ongoing conversation among the mentor, the beginning teacher and the researcher, I could consider what knowledge was being communicated or constructed, what events and actors precipitated the episode, how the knowledge construction was facilitated and how the beginning teacher and mentor experienced the episodes. The KCEs could be tracked over the set of interviews within a case. Some KCEs appeared across other cases as well, such as phoning parents and report cards. The identification of the KCEs and the development of the other thematic codes, while crucial to understanding the cases, were insufficient as analytical strategies because they violated the completeness and natural meaning of the cases. To regain those qualities, it was essential to return to the transcripts for the actual language of the teachers involved. 98 At this point, I used a "meaning condensation" (Kvale, 1996) strategy to select lengthy quotations from the cases that represented the themes. By using the teachers' own words, I attempted to determine and preserve "natural meaning units" (Kvale, p. 194). The charting of the themes also revealed their temporal order. This temporal thematization was significant as the study followed the beginning teachers and the mentorships over the first year of teaching. I expected certain topics and issues to be more important at different times of the school year. To maintain the integrity of each mentoring experience, I reorganized the themes in their temporal order and structured the cases in a modified narrative form. The purpose of the narrative form was to retain the natural flow of events and deepening of relationships through the school year, to provide the thick description I felt essential to telling the stories. This step required "a condensation or a reconstruction of the many tales told by the different subjects into a richer, more condensed and coherent story than the scattered stories of the separate interviewees" (Kvale, p. 199). I selected sections of text from both the mentors and the beginning teachers that narrated the emergence and development of each theme. In some cases, long sections of interview data were included. This was in keeping with Kvale's suggestion that, "when spontaneous stories appear during interviews, the interviewer can encourage the subjects to let their stories unfold" (p. 200). Thus, my challenge as researcher was to be both "a 'narrative-finder'-looking for narratives contained in the interviews, and.. . a 'narrative-creator'-molding the many different happenings into coherent stories" (p. 201). Finally, as I alluded to in my second principle for analysis, I applied feminist theoretical conceptions, as they were pertinent, contributing to a deeper understanding i f the particular phenomenon under study. Kvale described this technique as: Meaning interpretation [which] goes beyond a structuring of the manifest meanings of a text to deeper and more or less speculative interpretations of the text. . . . In contrast to the decontextualization of statements by categorization, interpretation recontextualizes the statements within broader frames of reference, (p. 193) 99 In this study, I bring a feminist perspective on pedagogy and epistemology to the analysis of the cases. I have argued that such an analysis will reveal insights beneath the more readily apparent surface level ones. While the participants did not offer feminist interpretations for their own work, I believed that such an analysis would add to the richness of the cases and to my theory building. Gal (as cited in Biklen, 1995) suggested that: Gender, as "a system of culturally constructed relations of power produced and reproduced in interactions between and among men and women," is also present in the lives of teachers as adults working in schools. That is, teachers do not have to focus on gender for it to significantly mark their lives, (p. 6) The lack of explicit reference to gender (or race, as in the case of Marie and Samantha's racism and plagiarism issue) may be an indication of "conflicting perspectives" (Anderson & Jack, 1991), which I earlier described as my third analytical principle. It was these four strategies, meaning categorization, meaning condensation, narrative structuring, and meaning interpretation that formed the substantive framework for analysis ofthe cases. While I have described the strategies as functioning sequentially, in fact, the analysis was more interactive and recursive as I tried to categorize, concentrate, understand and interpret the complexities ofthe individual experiences of mentoring described by the participants. Trustworthiness of the Study A l l research is concerned with producing valid and reliable knowledge in an ethical manner.... Studies must be believed and trusted; they need to present insights and conclusions that ring true to readers, educators, and other researchers. (Merriam, 1988, p. 164) Given the discussion in this chapter of some ofthe issues related to this study's situatedness in a familiar educational setting, I conclude the chapter by addressing my 100 responsibilities as a researcher to the larger research community and to the reader. In particular, I address three issues drawn from Merriam (1990). These are "internal validity" or "credibility" (Marshall & Rossman, 1995), "reliability" or "dependability" (from Lincoln & Guba, 1985), and "external validity" or "transferability" (Marshall & Rossman, 1995). Together, these issues highlight concern for empirical rigour or trustworthiness within qualitative research. In the following section, I present some ofthe current constructs of validity and reliability in qualitative research and provide links to my own research design. Merriam (1988) suggested it is the "applied nature of educational inquiry.. .[that] makes it imperative that researchers and others be able to trust the results of research-to feel confident that the study is valid and reliable" (p. 164). Most authors agree that traditional standards of objectivity and replicability cannot appropriately be applied in qualitative research (Lather, 1991; Merriam, 1988) and pose alternate "canons" (Marshall & Rossman, 1995; Sanjek, 1990) and self-corrective techniques (Lather, 1991) to strengthen trustworthiness. As related above, three elements of trustworthiness are commonly identified. These are: internal validity-the question of i f "the findings capture what is really there" (Merriam, 1988, p. 166), reliability-"the extent to which one's findings can be replicated" (p. 170), and external validity-the concern about i f and how "the findings of one study can be applied to other situations" (p. 173). A variety of practices is recommended to strengthen (although not to ensure) the believability of qualitative research. I have integrated many of these practices into my research design. Internal Va l id i ty In addressing internal validity, researchers strive to show that their findings are accurate representations of the phenomena studied. Merriam (1988) contended that, "one ofthe assumptions underlying qualitative research is that reality is holistic, multidimensional, and ever-changing" (p. 167). It is therefore inappropriate to attempt to present one true representation of reality. Marshall and Rossman (1995) substituted the idea of 101 "credibility" for internal validity. Citing Lincoln and Guba (1985), they advised researchers to aim to "demonstrate that the inquiry was conducted in such a manner as to ensure that the subject [or phenomenon] was accurately identified and described" (p. 143). A collection of practices is recommended to further internal validity or credibility. The practices include: spending sufficient time in the field (Ely, with Anzul, Friedman, Gardner & Steinmetz, 1991; Merriam, 1988), involving research participants (Lather, 1991; Merriam, 1988), triangulation (Ely et al., 1991; Lather, 1991; Merriam, 1988), and searching for negative cases (Ely et al., 1991; Marshall & Rossman, 1995). Time in the field Spending sufficient time in the field means gathering data over a long enough period of time to document all of the important features of a case. Ely et al. (1991) contended that "one criterion for being credible is to engage in collecting data for such duration and in such ways that these are sufficient to help us understand what we set out to study" (p. 158) However, they also stated that, "what 'sufficient' means is often perplexing" (p.158). In a familiar setting, a researcher may begin by knowing what she will find, and in this instance, sufficient time might be time enough to be surprised into really looking and listening for what is happening. Time in the field is a necessary, but not sufficient element of internal validity. In my study, I spent eight years "in the field," first as I mentored Kyra and then as I coordinated the mentoring program. I thought I knew the landscape well but I did not know what went on inside other mentorships. I had just one school year to collect data. While some mentorships do continue after one year (as did mine with Kyra) most dissipate as the beginning teacher moves into a second year. M y research involved connecting with the mentoring dyads as soon as possible in the school year and following them through the year of their relationship. Spending sufficient time in the field meant that I scheduled as many interviews during the year as I felt teachers could reasonably manage. I had to resist the impulse to add more since to do so might have over-burdened 102 the participants. Although I believed I knew what I might find within the mentorships, there were many surprises, the worst of which was that having a mentor may create more difficulties for a beginning teacher. Involving research participants In determining when enough is enough in terms of data collection and in developing appropriate interpretations of data, a researcher may draw on the expertise of the research participants in a familiar setting. Lather (1991) asked researchers to reconsider the manner in which theory is constructed from data. She suggested the conception of dialogic research in which "respondents are actively involved in the construction and validation of meaning" (p. 63). This is a more intense form of reciprocity because it engages research participants in the construction of theory. In this study, I provided to the participants copies of all of their own transcripts. I encouraged but did not receive any direct responses to the transcripts, although I knew most participants did read them as many asked who their pseudonyms referred to (having apparently forgotten the pseudonyms they chose). At the conclusion of the interview process I sent a completion survey to each participant, again asking for feedback on both the interview process and content. The survey is included in Appendix B . Triangulation Triangulation involves "using multiple investigators, multiple sources of data, or multiple methods to confirm the emerging findings" (Merriam, 1988, p. 169). Including research participants in analysis and theory building may provide two forms of triangulation: "investigator triangulation"-by including different evaluators; and "theory triangulation"-by revealing different perspectives on the same data (Patton, as cited in Yin , 1994). If case studies are to speak to and about the participants, the resultant theory must evoke the situation and the setting studied, not only for the researcher, but also for the researched. Ely et al., (1991) noted that "no matter how unobtrusive and non-judgmental [the researcher's] presence is, it is heightening [the participant's] own awareness of what he is doing. . . . Once the reflective mode is introduced, this impulse 103 toward examination and impetus to change is inevitable and inexorable" (p. 196). I found that the participants reflected in different ways on the interview process between interviews. Elizabeth kept a journal, which she referred to during interviews. Marie phoned me a few days ahead of her interview to ask for the questions, so she could write out some notes for her responses. Taylor usually told me at the beginning of each interview that she had several things she wanted to be sure to say. One of the significant forms of triangulation within this study was the sequence of interviews with the same participants. For example, the beginning teacher might introduce a topic in her interview. It would often be picked up by the mentor in her interview and sometimes the exact words would be used. The same topic would continue to be referenced as the interviews proceeded. A strong example of this is the plagiarism and racism theme in Marie and Samantha's case. Searching for negative cases By being alert to discrepancies or "negative cases", we are led to reexamine findings and emerging theories. "There are three outcomes that might result from a triangulation strategy.. . convergence, inconsistency, and contradiction'" (Matheson, as cited in Ely et al.,1991). There is a "danger of throwing out useful information" (Ely et al.,1991, p. 98) when researchers are excessively focussed on "finding convergent evidence." Lather (1991) described "face validity" as "a 'click of recognition' and a 'yes, of course' instead of a 'yes, but'" (p. 67) and saw face validity as being "operationalized by recycling description, emerging analysis and conclusions back through at least a subsample of respondents" (p. 67). In a familiar setting, a diligent search for negative cases balances a tendency for face validity to come at the cost of complexity and contradiction. Through the yes, buts of participants the researcher is able to struggle with contradictory evidence which must either help to reform categories or be reported as anomalous. Originally, in designing this study, I intended to provide my analysis to participants and invite their responses, both agreements and disagreements. It soon became apparent that this plan was highly problematic as participants disclosed in their individual interviews 104 information they did not want to discuss openly with their partners. I began to realize that to return my analysis to participants could have two serious effects. First, it would jeopardize the relationships that were being constructed. Many participants attended rigorously to the quality of their relationships. For example, in her first interview, Elizabeth expressed her concern about Maggie reading what was said about her teaching. This concern was so strong that at one point she asked that the tape recorder be turned off while we discussed the worry. However, after reading the transcript she did not request any changes or deletions. Over time, it seemed, the concerns lessened. Another example of this concern for relationship was Jenny and Michelle's refusal to relinquish their mentorship despite extreme challenges in finding time to meet together. Many feminist authors have described the importance women teachers in particular (Biklen, 1995; Griffin, 1997) and women in general (Hochschild, 1996) place on relationship. Attributing such a focus on relationship to women is problematic, according to S. Acker (1995), "on grounds of tendencies toward essentialism... and the difficulties of dealing with diversity among women" (p. 120), however many of the women in this study placed a high priority on maintaining relationship. Fractures to some mentorships did developed (due to other causes) and the mentorships were seriously impaired. I did not want to precipitate other fractures. The second reason for not returning analyses to participants has to do with the quality of the data. I worried that some participants might withdraw sections of their transcripts, due to their immediate concern for the relationships. Yet those troubling sections of text contain stories that are important to tell. Mentoring is not unproblematic. The authentic struggles need to be explored to determine what happened and to ponder why. Only then will we know what happens within mentorships, a necessary step to better supporting beginning teachers and mentors. After much deliberation and with a nagging sense of discomfort, I decided not to return my analyses to the participants during my writing process. 105 The internal validity of this study is built upon the practices of spending sufficient time in the field, involving research participants, triangulation, and searching for negative cases. These practices are not isolated; instead they are interconnected and mutually supporting. In addition, the concern for internal validity or credibility flows into the next issue I wil l discuss, the concern for reliability. Reliability In considering reliability, we ask the question, "If the study is repeated, wil l it yield the same results?" (Merriam, 1988, p. 170). In traditional research, this is the issue of replicability. Since qualitative research assumes multiple valid interpretations and views the researcher as the primary research instrument (Merriam, 1988), the issues of reliability shift: "Rather than demanding that outsiders get the same results, one wishes outsiders to concur that, given the data collected, the results make sense- they are consistent and dependable" (Merriam, 1988, p. 172). This is the alternate conception of "dependability" or "consistency" (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). A variety of practices is recommended to fortify dependability, including explicating the researcher's positionality (Marshall & Rossman, 1995; Merriam, 1988; Sanjek, 1990), triangulation (Lather, 1991; Merriam, 1988; Sanjek, 1990), including fieldnote evidence (Sanjek, 1990), and providing an "audit trail" (Marshall & Rossman, 1995; Merriam, 1988; Yin , 1994). Explicating the researcher's positionality It is especially critical that researchers in familiar settings identify their positionality, as I have discussed earlier in this chapter. Familiarity does make a difference, and readers have a right to be aware of the positionality of the researcher when they determine a study's trustworthiness. Sanjek (1990) referred to "theoretical candour" (p. 395), requiring the researcher to delineate the theories that underlie her decisions. Reliable or dependable studies are those in which a researcher struggles to develop and to describe her own assumptions about a setting and her own relationships within that setting. 106 In Chapters 1,2 and 3,1 have explicated the theoretical framework I am drawing upon in this study. I have been candid about my dual roles in the study and my relationships with the participants. In the case analysis I have sought to question my assumptions and to consider alternate interpretations. I have lived and worked with the data for over two years. This time has provided a distance from which I can re/view the stories. In addition, over that time, my positionality has changed. In April 1997, Portal school district underwent a set of cutbacks due to funding shortages. Mine was one of the positions eliminated within the district. Since September 1997,1 have not worked in the district or with beginning teachers. Instead, I am now working in a university teacher education program. Although this experience was a personal crisis, it has provided a new standpoint from which to view mentoring in general and the data in particular. Triangulation I have already presented triangulation as a strategy for enhancing the internal validity of a study. Merriam (1988) argued that when "multiple methods of data collection and analysis are utilized" (p. 172), triangulation enhances dependability as well as internal validity. Including fieldnote evidence Sanjek (1990) considered the inclusion of large portions of fieldnotes or transcripts to be an important aspect of strengthening dependability in qualitative research studies. For researchers in familiar settings, the desire to include large extracts of raw data may bump up against a need to maintain participant anonymity because inclusion of lengthy excerpts of raw data wil l necessitate the publication of intimate details that wil l be revealing to others in the setting. Thus, while including data has the potential to enhance the dependability of study, this practice must be carefully considered and cautiously undertaken. From the beginning, I believed it was important to tell these stories, as much as possible, in the words of the teachers. Thus, I have used lengthy excerpts of teacher discourse in the case studies, connected by brief researcher narration. I have told the stories as they 107 unfolded, from the beginnings to the endings. Themes are included sequentially as much as possible. The analysis of the case follows the case itself and I have balanced my analysis with that of the participants when they have offered it. To protect participant anonymity I have used pseudonyms for not only participants, but also schools, school principals and others named in the interviews. I have made minor alterations in contextual details such as food preferences, hometowns, car types etc. Also, the amount of time that has passed since the data were collected increases the likelihood that outsiders will not recall specific details since they tend to be internal to the relationships. Providing an audit trail The notion of an audit trail comes from Lincoln and Guba (1985) and requires a researcher to "describe in detail how data were collected, how categories were derived, and how decisions were made throughout the inquiry" (Merriam, 1988, p. 172). Sanjek referred to this practice as explicating the "ethnographer's path" (p. 398) and described it as a thorough description of how a researcher moved through her study, who she spoke to, how she made decisions and so on. When well-written, such a description makes it possible for readers to follow the flow of a study and the flow ofthe researcher's thought process, so that they can determine more confidently i f they accept the credibility of the study. The caution in utilizing this practice is that a well-described audit trail can increase the risk to anonymity for participants in familiar setting research. Throughout this dissertation, I have attempted to reveal the decision-making processes I underwent, such as the choice I made in broadening my participant pool. I have included excerpts from my research journal and fieldnotes. By undertaking the practices of explicating my positionality, utilizing triangulation strategies, including fieldnote evidence, and providing an "audit trail," I am attempting to include sufficient data and explanation so readers can decide for themselves i f the study is dependable. I do so cautiously. Researchers must study well and describe well because i f readers decide that a study is not dependable or credible, the efforts of all the participants are lost. I turn now 108 to a further consideration of how readers make sense of the completed research study. In particular, I address the issue of external validity in case study research in familiar settings. External Validity In Chapter 1 and again at the beginning of this chapter, I expressed my passion for supporting beginning teachers and my strong attachment to the project of mentoring. I want this research study to contribute not only to the scholarship about mentoring, but also to its practice and policy. To accomplish this goal, this study must have convincing external validity. External validity or transferability is the issue of showing the applicability of the research findings beyond the specific case studied (Marshall & Rossman, 1995). Marshall and Rossman contended that "a qualitative study's transferability or generalizability to other settings may be problematic" (p. 144), because qualitative research places a high value on context as a critical component of interpretation. Ely et al. (1991) agreed with this concern; their reminder is that a case study is intended to be "about a bounded system such as one person, one event, or one institution" and that the purpose of case study is "to illuminate important findings about that person or about the entire social unit" (p. 173). Thus, some authors argue that generalizability is a contentious issue for qualitative research, and in particular, for qualitative case study research. Merriam (1988) suggested four alternative conceptions of external validity. The first of these is re-conceiving of generalization as presenting "working hypotheses" (Cronboch, as cited in Merriam, 1988). A working hypothesis suggests a way of looking at the case study that also provides a new lens for the reader to view a similar situation. I believe my frame of feminist pedagogy provides such a lens. The second conception is "concrete universals" (Erickson, as cited in Merriam, 1988) which involves "studying a specific case in detail and then comparing it with other cases studied in equally great detail" (p. 176). Concrete universals emerge from multiple case studies that involve intra-case analysis. The cases presented in Chapters 5 and 6, "Marie and Samantha", and "Sue Ann, Tie and Emily" are written in depth to facilitate such comparison. The three cases 109 that follow in Chapter 7 are intended to provide deeper texture to the analysis. A third view of generalization is Stakes' (as cited by Merriam, 1988) notion of "naturalistic generalization," a form of generalization driven by the intrinsic desire of people to look for "patterns that explain their own experience as well as events in the world around them" (176). I hope that some of the patterns emerging from the five cases wil l resonate with readers' own experiences. The fourth form of generalization that Merriam posited is "reader generalizability" which involves leaving the extent to which a study's findings apply to other situations up to the people in those situations. This view of generalizability, from Wilson (1979), has already been presented as a strategy for dealing with issues of dependability. The previously stated caution about leaving the reader to assume what is really the researcher's responsibility also applies here. However, given the applied nature of educational research (Merriam, 1988), it would seem that the reader has a critical, but not exclusive role to play in generalizing from qualitative research. Beyond the practices suggested to enhance internal validity and reliability, there is a final practice suggested in the literature that can provide readers with the substance that they need to form their own generalizations and to accept or disregard those drawn by the researcher. This is the inclusion of multiple case analysis (Marshall & Rossman, 1995; Merriam, 1988). Multiple case studies, such as Ayers' (1980) study of pre-school teachers, amplify the frame of reference for the researcher as well as for readers. In designing my study, I wanted to include a number of cases to enable this kind of analysis. I felt that single case studies, such as those undertaken by Bullough (1989) and Jacka (1995) made important contributions to the scholarship about beginning teaching, but that multiple case studies are needed to better inform practice. On the other hand, I believed that survey style research would not provide the depth of detail I desired. I settled on six cases, one of which I was not able to use. Although I had originally hoped to work only with elementary cases, I now believe that the inclusion of two secondary 110 cases was fortuitous. These two cases increased the breadth, as we might expect, but surprisingly, they also increased the depth ofthe study, as I wil l explain in detail in Chapter 9. Ofthe four conceptions of external validity described above, three are most applicable to this study: concrete universals, naturalistic generalization and reader generalizability. As I have explained, two ofthe cases are presented and analyzed in depth. These reveal the most contrasts. The other three cases are presented in less detail, but sufficient to suggest findings and draw conclusions across the five cases. What emerges may not be "universal," but it is certainly concrete, specific and well documented. The second form of external validity that is operational within this study is naturalistic generalization. I agree with Stakes (as cited in Merriam, 1988) that readers wil l seek their own patterns as they interact with this dissertation. Although I attempt to adhere to all ofthe practices that contribute to trustworthiness, I acknowledge that my interpretation is not only founded on the data and on my research experience, but also, as previously discussed, on my familiarity with the context and with mentoring as a practice. Compounding the complexity of my interpreting are my life experiences, which I cannot interrogate deeply here without losing focus on the stories I wish to tell. Readers with different experiences may draw alternate conclusions. This is reader generalizability, the third form of external validity I believe to be operational in this study. I argue that reader generalizability does not detract from my interpretation and I agree with Kagan (1992) that: The themes I extract tell only one ofthe many stories that could have been constructed. In this sense, this is a somewhat subjective distillation.... I suggest that this does not testify to the weakness ofthe method... but does testify to the richness of the [data] (p. 131-132). Others may indeed tell valid and important stories. It is not my desire to provide a conclusive true account of mentoring, but to broaden the discussion by suggesting another lens through which we may search. I l l Summary In this chapter I have described and justified my research design and the research process for this study. Where there were discrepancies between the plan and the reality, I have explained both the reasons for the differences and the decision-making practices that led to the changes. It is my desire to produce a strong, well-articulated and trustworthy study. To accomplish such a goal in case study research in a familiar setting, I have argued that researchers must undertake such special responsibilities. Lather (1991) suggested that "researchers are not so much owners of data as they are 'majority shareholders' who must justify decisions and give participants a public forum for critique" (p. 58). In a familiar setting, where the researcher must also live and work alongside the research participants, one may freely be asked for such justification, both by those participants and by readers wondering why they should accept this interpretation of a case as believable. I contend that it is the researcher's responsibility to anticipate and respond to these queries. In a familiar setting we gain entry and find participants because we are trusted. Through the rest of the research process, including publishing a research report, we need to demonstrate that such trust is well founded in both the researcher and in the study. This is the responsibility I accepted in engaging in my study. In the following chapters, the five cases will be developed and the mentoring stories told. Chapter 5 tells the story of Maggie and Samantha, two secondary teachers. Chapter 6 is the story of the only triad, Sue Ann, Emily and Tie, who are elementary teachers. Chapter 7 includes three cases-Taylor and Alisa, the other secondary dyad, Michelle and Jennie, and Maggie and Elizabeth. Each case is written using as much direct quotation as possible, with narration to integrate the themes and embed them in the conceptual framework I am developing. Each includes a description of the school context and the participants' backgrounds. Following this, the creation of the mentorship is explicated along with a description of the initial mentoring interactions and experiences. The themes are introduced in temporal sequence as the school year begins and advances. Any problems faced by the dyad are probed and the successes recounted. Finally the culmination of the school year is addressed and conclusions about the mentorship are suggested. It is there that my account of each story stops, although the mentorships do not 112 necessarily end. In some stories, we can predict a quick and perhaps relieving ending. In others, we can foresee a continuation of a rich collegial relationship or friendship: I want to let you know that having you behind me never lets me be afraid to try new things and stretch my abilities. I hope next year in both our new journeys we can help each other along the way. (A beginning teacher, to her mentor) 113 CHAPTER FIVE: MARIE AND SAMANTHA Journal/ entry October 30, 1996 Marie/ and/Samantha/ were/ the/ first dyad/ to- sign up for my research/project. Perhaps this is-because/Sam/and/I worked/together in/the/past, perhaps it wasbecause/Sam/likestobe/involved/in/a/l^ She/huyan/ amazing/amountofenergy. Two glad/ she/was interested/ and/1 hope/that Marie/ is too. Sam/ should/be/the/ ideal/ mentor. She/hasworked/both with experienced/ and/ student teachers and/ co- coordinated/ p rofessional/ development projects. She/also didher Masters thesis- on/ teacher education/. So, if anyone- canbe/ a- successful mentor, it should/be/SamA November 12, 1996 I met Samantha-in/her classroom/ at three- & clock/ on/ friday afternoon/. This-is a- day that she-typically goestoanarts and craftsclubthatanother teacher hosts in/the/ school. She/asked-ifl would mind/ if she- worked- cnv her project, a/paper angel/, so through the- interview she- curled/the/paper strips that made/up the- angel) s dress. November 15, 1996 Marie)s classroom/ is a- small, internal/ classroom/ with no- windows to-the/ outside/. There/ were/ lots of posters and other things up in/her room, many of them/ made/by the- students. Marie- had a- great dead of difficulty selecting- a-name/for herself but, looking-atthe/postersoffoments-scientists that her studentyhad/done- and/that were/ displayed in/her room, she/finally selected/ Marie/after Marie/Curie/. 114 The Characters and The Setting Marie and Samantha taught at Sprucevale, a large secondary school. Samantha, a very experienced teacher, had been at the school for one year, as a Resource teacher1. As a new graduate, Marie was fortunate in that she was hired during the summer to teach a specific science course on astronomy at Sprucevale. This was unusual: many beginning teachers are not hired until well into the fall term. Samantha began teaching 14 years ago as a secondary general science teacher, following which she worked as a helping teacher and a university supervisor of student teachers. Samantha was involved in a number of professional organizations and was very active in her own professional development. Samantha was a bright, bubbly and articulate Chinese-Canadian woman. She had been married for several years and had a young child at home. In addition, she was expecting a new baby in February. Despite the busy-ness of her personal life, she was very excited to be mentoring a beginning teacher. In part, her enthusiasm for the mentoring role was fueled by memories of her own mentors: I had some very wonderful people in my teaching life. Mac Waterton was the very first colleague I met and the first thing he said was-at this school we share, here's the binders of resources. It was my first experience of people being that open with their time and energy. Then I went down the hall and another teacher gave me a big hug and said welcome to the school. . . . M y first principal was fantastic. (SI, p. 7-8) Perhaps Samantha was able to recognize the care she received from colleagues as a beginning teacher because her own life was imbued by an ethic of care (Noddings, 1984). She brought caring to her relationships because she felt she had been raised to be helpful to and caring of other people. Her mother had been a powerful influence in the development of this belief: ' A Resource teacher in the Portal district was one who assisted teachers in working with special needs students, both as they were integrated in regular courses and in a pull-out program in a separate resource room. 115 A l l my life, in my care at home my mother had always been very good about saying-be good to other people, always be good to other people, always be positive. When I started teaching, it was so much a human endeavor... . You've got to be congruent with your actions and words. When you say you're going to do something, whether it's for your kids or your colleagues, follow through. . . . So I think an important thing for teaching is to be congruent with your actions. Your actions must agree with your words and I would rather let my actions speak. (SI, p. 10-11) Samantha had worked with teachers in a variety of professional development roles and she was able to articulate clearly her approach to mentoring. The intentionally of her actions came through as she spoke about the mentoring role: I think my role as a mentor is to support her, to ponder with her when she is pondering and to give her some space to learn and to be there.... I don't treat her as a student teacher. I treat her definitely as an equal, like when we're both working on previews I say-I'd love to have your feedback and what you think of some of these activities. (SI p. 4 & 7) I try to share with her my experience through products [examples] as opposed to telling her. . . . I always say-I know that you're asking a lot of people for their opinion and advice and it's really important that you do, and then you've got to make your own decision. (SI, p. 14) Marie was a new graduate from teacher education. She had completed her practicum in a neighboring community and was hired to Sprucevale to a full time teaching position. Marie was engaged to be married and her fiance was living and working at a distant location. She lived at home, as a member of a closely knit Chinese-Canadian family, including a sister who was also a teacher and who was very supportive of Marie through her first year: M y sister went through Education. If I have things, I call her on the phone.. . . Everyday I do self-reflection. I don't write it down like the way they told us to in 116 practicum. Forget it! . . . For classroom management I talk to Samantha a little bit, but not that much. I talk to my sister mostly about those kinds of things. ( M l , p. 18) As previously stated, Marie was hired because of her background in one particular science subject area. Although she anticipated teaching other courses as well, she was specifically hired to teach that one particular science subject. As it turned out, due to a scheduling error at the school, the course was not offered. This led to a dilemma for Marie, and, when the time came for Marie to indicate who she would like as her mentor, as was the practice in the Portal program, the dilemma led to Marie choosing Samantha as her mentor. Choosing a Mentor Marie told how the dilemma unfolded: Near the end of the first week John, the principal came in and he said-uh Marie, I got some bad news, your course won't be offered because the enrolment dropped from 18 to about 8. And then he goes-but also you're going to have to give up your grade 8 class, so you go from the 1.0 [a full time position] to the .71. And I go-oh there goes ten thousand dollars. But then he offered me-do I want to teach ESL Science2 because they need 8 extra blocks and I wasn't sure at first because I thought-well I didn't have the background and my philosophy. I mean for the students, I wanted them to have the best education they can and have the best instructor they should be getting and I said-well I don't have an ESL background. But they gave me the weekend to think it over. Monday morning I was still thinking-well, the Science part I'm very comfortable with, the ESL Science part, but the language part in terms of the assessment, the evaluation, I lack theory and background in that area. So I wasn't sure. ( M l , p. 3). 2 ESL Science was a course for students who lacked the English vocabulary to succeed in regular science courses. It focused on strengthening science vocabulary while developing scientific understandings. 117 At this point in her decision, Marie happened to meet Samantha in the staffroom. Samantha told this part of the story and again, her valuing of care for others comes through in her actions: How did I end up being a mentor? She asked me . . . . They asked her (to teach ESL) and there was nobody around to give her advice. So when she saw me she said what do you think of this and I said-you can do this. But anyway, she didn't ask me to be her mentor at that time. It was a couple of days after that. I didn't ever ask her why she chose me. I suspect it's because I took a real interest in making sure she got good work-a good diversity of work experience in her first year. I felt bad for her... she was hired full time and suddenly two of her classes got taken away. (SI, p. 1) Marie was presented with a difficult decision for a beginning teacher. The assignment she expected disappeared due to confusion in scheduling. A further complication occurred in that another part of her assignment was given to a more senior teacher who faced a similar reduction of her/his assignment. Marie was left to decide whether to take on a new challenge with the ESL class or to drastically reduce her teaching load and her earnings. This dilemma is not uncommon for beginning teachers. It was Samantha who advised Marie to take on the new assignment by telling her that she believed Marie could do the job and that Samantha would support her. However, according to Marie, this was not the only event that led her to choose Samantha as her mentor: I knew that I wanted Samantha as my mentor before that incident. Just from the way she was interacting with the new staff-very friendly, very warm, approachable and just really supportive.... So that lay in my mind-okay this is the sort of thing I want in my mentor, who's not going to be judgmental and can be supportive and just overall nice. I think that's the key thing. (MSI, p. 1) Through Samantha and Marie's comments about the creation of this mentorship, it is obvious that Samantha's previous experiences had directed her towards a mode of "connected knowing" (Belenky et al., 1986). She was very focused on the others in her life, both in the personal and the professional realm, and in affiliating with them. Clinchy, 118 (1996) clarified "connected knowing as a rigorous, deliberate, and demanding procedure, a way of knowing that requires work" (p. 209). Certainly, Samantha's mother had encouraged her to be rigorous in her efforts to do for others. When Samantha had been a beginning teacher, colleagues supported her. This affiliation to others was evident in her early interactions with Marie. But beyond her sense of affiliation was a conscious, rigorous method of working in relationship with Marie. First Samantha showed her interest in Marie. This was expressed as concern for the altered and inappropriate teaching assignment. The dilemma of accepting an inappropriate teaching challenge is common for beginning teachers (Cole, 1993; Galvez-Hjornevik, 1986). In an earlier internal evaluation of the Portal program, I had found that challenging teaching assignments, that is, those beyond the scope of the novice's teacher preparation, were a major cause of stress for beginning teachers. In advising Marie, Samantha recognized Marie's economic need to take the job and encouraged her to accept the position. At the same time she offered her support and expressed confidence that Marie could handle the challenge. Marie responded consciously to this intentionality. We can recall her statement about observing how Samantha interacted with new, colleagues: "very friendly, very warm, approachable and just really supportive." Marie said of her observation: "That lay in my mind. Okay, this is the sort of thing I want in my mentor" (MSI, p. 1). This expression reveals the deliberate thinking going on in Marie's selection process. Yet the characteristics she was describing are affective in nature. This fusion of pedagogical elements with relationship being highlighted is reflective of feminist pedagogy (Gitlin & Thompson, 1995), as described in Chapter 3. Beginning the Relationship Marie and Samantha made an early connection through the experience of Marie's losing her astronomy course and taking on the ESL class. By October their relationship was fully in place. They engaged in a variety of activities together, taking advantage of the fact that Marie still had one non-teaching block and that Samantha was the Resource 119 teacher for two students in one of Marie's classes. Marie described their early relationship as follows: It's very casual. It's not formal at all. We don't say-we're going to meet once a month and discuss my first year of teaching issues. It's more like-oh, there's Samantha after school or sometimes I drop in her D block i f I have a student I'm concerned about because she's the Resource teacher for two of my students.... I think frequency-wise I think we go and talk to each other at least once a day unless we have lots and lots of meetings. But it's very casual. (MSI, p. 4) To this description, Samantha added: It's been very casual. Sometimes we sit beside each other in staff meetings, sometimes we sit in the same topic sharing groups, sometimes we talk about issues like at the pro-d day... and at other times we don't see each other. So, its quite fluid. As the need arises she comes to me or I go to her. It's a good feeling. (SI, p. 6) Clearly, the mentorship Marie and Samantha were co-constructing required a commitment of time. Marie had some time because she did not have a full time teaching load. She devoted her own time to the relationship. Samantha did not have this free time, but encouraged Marie to be with her during her teaching times. Samantha also devoted a great deal of personal time to Marie. As discussed in Chapter 3, the concern for time is endemic to mentoring (Hollingsworth, 1992), as it is with many aspects of teaching (Hargreaves, 1994). Time is needed for mentors to be available to offer support, respond to questions and to share resources. This offering of time leads to the development of trust. The resources that Samantha initially shared with Marie related to her new ESL class: After Marie got her science ESL assignment I gave her three or four big boxes of books. And also all my ESL stuff. I gave her my resources. And again, resources are resources. If you have the time to go through them, they make sense to you. (SI, p. 6) 120 They also worked on planning together: Marie has never had a formal set of previews to write up, she has got a couple of copies of previews from colleagues in the science department, so again I try to make it a co-learning experience-let's compare notes.... So we went to the computer room to download my previews so she could actually look at it. So we just did some co-planning, because of my background in science I was able to work with her on science concepts for her Science ESL curriculum. It was just a matter of, I guess, me asking questions-what's most important for this curriculum because you can't do everything, where would you go from here, how would you assess? (SI, p. 7) Marie appreciated Samantha's style of support, saying: Samantha's a very good listener and she's very supportive in the way that i f you mention specific problems, the next day she will still be thinking about it and come back and share her thoughts. That really helps, that it's in her mind, like she's sort of, I feel like that she's a mother, well I don't want to say mother hen, because, you know. She's very caring and supportive. She's very sincere and genuine in her support and the way she cares about her mentee, that's me. It's really nice to have that kind of relationship. ( M l , p. 15) The Study Skills Club There were several pivotal experiences in this dyad's relationship. The first was a study club that they co-sponsored. Samantha explained the reason for suggesting this project: I just thought it would be a good idea to start a study skills club. But I didn't want to do it by myself, because I enjoy collaboration. It's best to be working with somebody, so I thought it would be great to invite my beginning teacher into this process.... I volunteered to do the first session. I wanted to model how I normally operate with my k ids . . . . I didn't want to tell Marie directly but I did 121 want to model for her. And then after I did the session, when we got together, she talked about it. So, I tried to show my ideas through modeling rather than directly telling, although we do debrief. (SI, p. 12-13) Marie described how she came to be involved in co-sponsoring the club as follows: She said-hey Marie, I thought maybe we could form a student study support group in the school to help students learn some strategies to help them cope better with school . . . . At first I go-oh is this going to be a lot of work. In my mind, honestly I thought-I don't really know anything. Like what do you mean I'm going to be doing test taking strategies, I don't know anything. So she has a lot of stuff on her files, she goes-here's some materials, so I just adapted and changed it a little bit for that session and then it was fine. ( M l , p. 16) In hearing about the study club, I was curious about how co-sponsoring the club affected their relationship and their learning. Specifically, I wondered i f such a shared experience would deepen their dialogue: Merrilee: I'm wondering i f the group created a unique opportunity to do the debriefing around a shared experience. Samantha: We just basically decided on our framework and our intents and Samantha presents the first one, Marie presents the second one, Norlan (the vice-principal) presents the third one and on the fourth one, we're going to debrief with the kids. The study group allowed us to actually see each other teach. When I saw her teach she was very dynamic, she made good connections with the kids, she followed up on their responses, she gave lots of positive feedback to the kids. It gave me a very different look at who she was. (SI, p. 15) Thus, addition to casual and contextual interactions during staff meetings, informal lunch hours and consultations about students they shared, Samantha purposefully created opportunities for more intentional shared experiences such as the study skills club. The club was organized partly to encourage Marie and to facilitate a shared experience. Samantha was pedagogically purposeful in her invitations and interactions: "I think my 122 role as a mentor is to support her, to ponder with her when she is pondering and to give her some space to learn and to be there" (SI, p. 4). Marie's participation in this process was to continue to respond, to be open to suggestions: "She helped me open up myself a little bit more and take a few more risks, it's just risk taking... and she got me to do Craft Clubaswell!"(Ml,p. l6-17). These experiences created opportunities for "collaborative conversations" (Hollingsworth, 1992). Samantha and Marie engaged in collaborative conversations not only when Samantha planned them, but also in response to daily school events and experiences such as parent interviews, unit planning and problems such as plagiarism. Plagiarism and Racism The study group was pivotal in bringing Samantha and Marie together as colleagues. Another experience, or set of experiences, brought them even closer. This set of experiences developed around a spate of cheating and plagiarism that took place at Sprucevale over the early part of the school year. Initially, Marie experienced plagiarism within her own classroom and sought Samantha's support in dealing with the situation: We had a famous scientist project and one student, his project was plagiarized. It was quite obvious and so I called his m o m . . . . So she said-can I see you tomorrow after school. I said-okay. Then I went to Samantha and I said-I've got this mom coming. I'm not sure, but I think she's not happy with my instruction, she might be quite angry because her son's not understanding some science concepts at home when he does his homework, or thinks it's due to my poor quality of teaching. So I said-well how do you conduct parent conferences, because I've never had to do that when I was in my practicum. So I talked to Samantha.... So when the mom came in I was a little bit nervous and everything because I didn't know how she was going to be and she was alright because I guess the focus was on her son's learning and how to help him be the best learner he could be. ( M l , p. 6-7) 123 In addition to helping Marie with the parent interview, Samantha also suggested that she check with the vice principal and department head regarding school policy. Further she encouraged Marie to document everything related to the incident. She helped Marie reconceptualize the problem from self-blame for perceived failure to a focus on a appropriate situational response. Samantha utilized these experiences to call forth conversation about parent relationships and student evaluation. While the situation in Marie's class was relatively easily resolved, the issue of cheating continued to be a factor in Marie and Samantha's relationship. Other colleagues were apparently dealing with similar incidents in their classrooms and the issue came to an emergency staff meeting: Samantha: Yesterday at lunch we had this emergency staff meeting regarding plagiarism. And one of the teachers that reported out said-all these ESL learners are really skilful and really crafty at cheating. Marie: She used the word Asian. She's heard stories from another high school where these students, grade 11 and 12, when they're given a multiple choice test they would program their calculators with the answers-A-B-C-D, score for the 60 multiple choice. They would pass of their calculator to the next block. And this teacher's comment was-mostly this happens with Asian students because in order to do this kind of cheating, you need to have a lot of cooperation and I guess she implied that they're better at it because they're a more tightly knit group. And I'm sort of looking at Samantha and I said to Samantha afterwards when we left the staff meeting-well of course they're mostly Asian students, look at the population. There's about 80 percent Asian students. Of course i f you count the numbers of students who are cheating or plagiarizing, they'll be higher because hey, look at our clientele. Like duh! Samantha: So they're making these drastic comments and the thing is we can both feel the discomfort in the audience, because on our staff they hired a lot of Asian teachers3. This year we're got Yvonne, we've got you, we've got Jim, so we've got a lot of Chinese teachers. So we felt uncomfortable that she actually 124 labeled. And we didn't exactly speak up because she was just so adamant and she just said, her theme was-they're so crafty and they're so skewed towards this negative element and I guess the implication in that all non-Asians are not very crafty at cheating, they're not very good at cheating, you know. So we were very uncomfortable, but we debriefed it, we discussed it a little, but I know this wil l continue to come up. If the situation arises again in another situation or as our discomfort level rises. (MSI, p. 13-15) The situation did arise again. In January, Samantha reported in her interview that a parent had accused a teacher of racism because of his response to a student apparently cheating on an assignment: Plagiarism has become a hot issue in our school. Marie and I went to an after-school meeting where people from the union had come to describe the process of appeal and situations around cheating and plagiarism.... At that meeting the last part of the agenda was for the staff to read over this draft letter that a lady on staff had constructed and to sign a letter of support to be forwarded to the superintendent. Marie and I didn't consult with each other but at the end of the meeting but we both declined to sign at that moment. M y reason for not signing was I had not read the letter over. It was too short a time frame. I had not discussed it with anybody. The next day in the morning another teacher came to my room and said - well, you were at the meeting yesterday, Samantha, have you signed the form? I said-no I haven't signed the letter. And then in fourth period another person approached me with the teacher list to check off my name and said-have you read this, have you signed it? . . . . I felt pressured to sign. So I signed with the intent that the letter was asking the superintendent to begin developing policy around plagiarism and cheating. But I was really uneasy because there were some strong emotional language that I was very uncomfortable with and I had purposefully not signed. But the pressure to sign at that moment was very strong because she was checking off who was signing. 3 It is important to keep in mind that both Samantha and Marie were Chinese-Canadian. 125 And then that evening I debriefed with Marie how I felt and she felt exactly the same. She said the same person went into her classroom just as she was about to teach and said-you were at the meeting yesterday, have you signed? Here, sign now. So she signed, but she also had reservations because she said those emotionally charged words did not reflect her state of mind. So she too felt awkward.. . . Marie and I with some other colleagues talked about the process and again had very similar feelings. We didn't talk about it before but when the whole thing had been done and taken over to the board office, we talked about the whole process and how uncomfortable we were about how it went and how the letter did not reflect the whole staff. But we felt pressured to s ign . . . . So we've been talking about that issue, that's been a heavy issue. I wouldn't say it's been an issue that had dominated Marie's life or my life. However, it was one incident that happened and it left us feeling uncomfortable. (S2, p.5-8) It seemed to Marie and Samantha that the concerned teachers were not aware of the implications of their remarks about crafty Asians nor did they seem to notice that Samantha and Marie were also Asian. They discussed this issue in a joint interview: Samantha: Some teachers just said-this is an ethnic thing, those Chinese people are really cooperative, they're really good at cheating. It's a culturally based behaviour. We both felt uncomfortable. We both did not say anything but we debriefed afterwards. And we were both uncomfortable sitting there while our colleagues were making these kinds of comments.... That's my take on it, being Chinese Canadian. Marie: I couldn't say anything at a staff meeting but I went to a department get together and at that small close kind of thing, I tried to address that and I go-well I don't think it's necessarily more, more-Samantha: Ethnic bound? Marie: Ya, I said-I don't think that's the issue... I mentioned at that party-well think about the school, there's 80% of the school population is Asian. Of course 4 out of 5 kids you catch are Asian. The statistics doesn't justify you saying-oh it's mainly Asian people who cheat... . 126 Samantha: But has it affected me personally? Not really because I think that I'm uncomfortable hearing it. But how I view people is a person is a person is a human being is a person. So what about your skin colour? If you're behaving inappropriately in whatever fashion, it doesn't matter what skin tone you are. (MS2, p. 3-4) For whatever reasons, personal or professional, both Marie and Samantha continued to express concern and frustration about the issue of cheating and the link other teachers were making to ethnicity. They continued to debrief the series of negative experiences as they occurred throughout the year. Thus, while negative in tone, the incidents did contribute to the bond they were building as colleagues. It is interesting to note, that although entire focus on cheating at Sprucevale was racist in nature, neither Marie nor Samantha referred to it as such. In fact, they avoided doing so, preferring to see it as a misunderstanding among some teachers. The Resource Teacher Role Because Samantha was a Resource teacher, her job involved both working with students with special needs and supporting their subject teachers. Samantha was the Resource teacher for several of Marie's students. This formal relationship enabled ongoing conversations about teaching strategies, working with parents, working with Classroom Assistants4 and adapting curriculum for students. Samantha: We talk about students. I guess what we do is talk about the real thing and that is students and how they're taking all this in. And what else we could do to make it an easier way for them to take it all in, to learn, to be successful. Marie was struggling, we were both struggling, actually, we came to realize we were both struggling, although we didn't talk about it, with Donny not comprehending the written word or the verbal instructions.... So, together we 4 A Classroom Assistant is a para-professional who works individually with one special needs student to help him/her with modified assignments. 127 worked towards getting [Marie] a Classroom Assistant to support Donny and that just happened in the last week. Marie: What really hit the point with me with this student was I had an assignment where you had to fill in the blanks and basically it was about safety rules. He put something like-always use the city or something. I said to Samantha-I think I have a problem here. And so I mentioned it to Samantha and she goes-okay, let's get you a CA. Samantha: Because I noticed the same dilemma in my class because sometimes he is so divergent in his answers. He just has his own thinking patterns. So given a number of situations all happening within the same week, we recognized the need. (MSI, p. 18-20) This interaction is a nice example of the kind of "transformational understandings" Hollingsworth (1992, p. 383) referred to as a central element of collaborative conversation. Hollingsworth stated that for beginning teachers issues emerge from the "tangled nature of practice-situated attention" (p. 382). The beginning teacher has an immediate "need to know" (Carter & Richardson, 1989, p. 406). In her study, Hollingsworth observed that issues emerged first as "examples of real classroom problems, then were relocated within related but larger issues", this theoretical or philosophical framing then led to the formulation of plans and resources and finally to "transformational understandings" (Hollingsworth, 1992, p. 383). Hollingsworth contended that this process can only unfold given sufficient time, since time is an essential component for relationships to develop. Over time her participants talked about the relationships of their work-relationships with students, colleagues, administrators and parents. This talk led to talk about the diversity of values among those they worked with and about power relationships inside and outside schools. It was within this relational context that issues about practice began to emerge, to be shared, reflected upon, reconsidered, and acted upon in "continuous cycles of critique, knowledge, construction, and social action" (Hollingsworth, 1992, p. 398). 128 Many of their collaborative conversations were driven by Marie's "need to know" and Samantha's willingness to ponder with her. However, in other instances, such as the experiences intentionally structured by Samantha, the need to know was not situational but created. Further, even when the root of the episode was necessity, the nature of the discussion often took the topic beyond the specific to the philosophical or theoretical. This process has to do with how topics emerged, were discussed, and then facilitated more tranformative knowledge construction. In the conversation about Donny, one of the special needs student they shared, Marie noted some of the unusual responses Donny filled in on his worksheet: "Basically it was about safety. He put something like-always use the city or something." Samantha, in her response, first acknowledged Marie's specific concern and immediately moved to a theoretical reframing of the concern leading to a plan to request a C A for the student: I noticed the same dilemma in my class because sometimes he is so divergent in his answers. He just has his own thinking patterns. So given a number of situations all happening within the same week, we recognized the need. (MSI, p. 18-20) This kind of reframing of issues was typical of Marie and Samantha's relationship. Another powerful example is the knowledge construction episode relating to cheating and racism, in which Marie and Samantha struggled with student and colleague relationships and attitudes, and had to confront issues of their own ethnicity. I argue that episodes such as these demonstrate both the pedagogical and epistemic nature of their mentorship through the intentionality of the interactions and the consideration of justifications to know. Samantha took collaborative conversation a step further. She began to ask for feedback on projects she was undertaking with her own students. In response to these requests, Marie commented: She asks for my feedback on some of the things she's developed too. And the thing is she genuinely welcomes it. She's not just saying-oh you want to look at 129 that kind of stuff? So she's wanting to grow as a professional and so that's something I sort of model after too. ( M l , p. 16) As previously stated, it was usually concerns about specific students that led Marie to visit Samantha during her preparation block. Samantha was teaching, but took time to talk with Marie. In addition, Marie had opportunities to observe Samantha teach. This observation helped her both clarify and express her own belief about child-centred teaching: One thing that I look up to in Samantha is her relationship with her students. . . . She puts them first, they're the priority. And so when she does that with her students, she gains their respect and they wil l work hard for her. So I notice the students will work hard for you and they wil l respect you. (MSI, p. 25-27) I believe in child-centred or more student-centred activities because I think of that constructivism way of learning. And when I went to university, the education program, I had this handout from one of my instructors about meaningful learning and constructivism and that made so much sense, you know. Like, having students just take notes, it doesn't work for me . . . . But one time I said-okay, I'll try giving some notes because this is a difficult concept and maybe they can't do it on their own. So I gave them the notes and then the next day we had a discussion and I felt like the retention or the understanding was not the same until they did it themselves and they discussed it among themselves. So just by observation, looking at that kind of empirical evidence I say, it makes more sense. And the idea about how you only learn 5 percent from lectures and 10 percent from reading and the most you learn is 90 percent in teaching. I have to believe that's true. (MSI, p. 30-31). Throughout this flow of events there were many opportunities for Samantha and Marie to share their knowledge with each other and to offer justifications for it. Through these experiences, they developed shared standards of evidence, they developed an epistemological (Nelson, 1993) or inquiry-based (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 1999) 1 3 0 mentorship. How could they know i f something was the right thing to do? They applied an "M.O." that they developed within their mentorship: planning, rethinking, debriefing. This M . O . 5 wil l be explained in more detail later in this chapter. Deepening the Relationship The closeness that Marie and Samantha were developing was facilitated by a variety of out-of-work experiences that Samantha urged Marie to participate in. I first found out about these experiences when references to them were embedded in discussions of teaching-related issues. In Marie's first interview, she was describing a problem she was having with several students and how she had asked Samantha for ideas: So she thought about my problem last night and we were talking about it in Chinese painting this morning. ( M l , p. 14) Later, she added: She helped me open up my self a little bit more and take a few more risks, it's just risk taking. And she got me to do Craft Club as well. ( M l , p. 16-17) In her interview, Samantha described how she was trying to create more balance in her own life and was encouraging Marie to do so as well. They had both joined several craft activities at the school including Chinese painting and raffia angel making. Further, over occasional lunches and dinners out and in-school birthday celebrations, they began to discuss personal issues and interests, including families, relationships and plans for the future. In doing so, they moved beyond mentoring to friendship, where all topics were open and all aspects of life accessible. In the first interview, they shared some of the things they knew about each other personally: Marie: What do I not know about Samantha? . . . . It would probably be more of the personal stuff, like, I know you like futomaki. And you know what, I 5 Modus operandi 131 didn't know what the heck that was and on Saturday I went out with a friend of mine and we were eating sushi and it was one of those floating little river things with boats and there was this big huge roll rolling by and I said-what the heck is that. It's huge. And he said-that's a futomaki, so I ordered it and I go-oh that's what Samantha likes! That's a wee little gourd, that yellow thing in the middle. (MSI, p. 32) Samantha: I know she lives with her family. She has a great rapport with her brother and her sister. They're just into sharing, which is like me. M y family background is that I'm very close with my family. We're always in conversation. We visit each other, we talk, we celebrate birthdays, we always call each other on birthday days and say happy birthday. I see a lot of family support, which is what I had in my family. I had a very good childhood, a very supportive family. So I see how we are very similar through ethnic upbringing. So I don't have to really know a whole lot specifically, because I can feel the way she is as a human being and how I am and how I've grown and learned in my home experiences, and maybe transfer and understand why she is the way she is. (MSI, p. 32-34) For Samantha, this closeness was one ofthe rewards of the mentoring: It's been extremely rewarding and because I've been so intense with this one-on-one relationship with Marie, I've not bonded with any other educator as closely as I have with M a r i e . . . . This sustained relationship with Marie only is so rich and so meaningful.... It's been just exceptional. (S3, p. 10). For Marie, it was surprising to find a colleague who became a friend, her previous professional experiences having been with male sponsor teachers, "Everyday she'll give you a hug. She's a very very affectionate person that way as well, so that's nice too. If she's not a male teacher it's okay. ( M l , p. 15). 132 Science: A Subject, a Process and a Way of Knowing Samantha and Marie had both undertaken their teacher education programs at the same university and focused on the same area, science. They had several professors in common and this supported their initial bonding. However although they had a common subject background, this was not an explicit focus of their relationship. Perhaps because Samantha was at the time a Resource teacher and not involved in the school science department, she thought Marie saw her "from a pedagogical perspective" (S3, p. 17). Samantha said, "I think she sees me as a mentor or a colleague to chat with regarding pedagogy and philosophy.... She sees me more as a process person, how to work with kids and dealing with dilemmas and issues" (S2, p. 17). Instead of focussing on science as a curricular area, Marie and Samantha used their common immersion within the "scientific method" as a basis for many of their interactions. Samantha described their process of working together scientifically as their "M.O.": As for a scientific model I think that we do practise some of the principles of the scientific method. So i f we have a problem that we're both agonizing over and we wil l go on one path and assess how it's going and we wil l revise it i f we have to. (MSI, p. 9) We plan our words and our follow-up... . That's a pattern that we always have so that when we make decisions, it's a decision made at this time and this place. We always come back and revisit our decisions and we always are debriefing or talking about how things went. We always talk about the process. That's kind of like our M.O. We know we don't deal with an issue in one shot. We always revisit it. (MSI, p. 13) Further, Marie tended to use a process of data gathering when she needed to make a decision or was struggling with a dilemma: Samantha's a really good listener. If you have any kind of issues, she wil l be a very good listener and you might bounce off ideas off her. But she would not 133 really in any way be judgmental. And she won't say-well, i f I were you, I would do this, unless something's very-. When would she do that? She would be direct and give direct advice, but she never really pushes her ideas onto people. She's always-here's a suggestion, take it or leave it. And she tells me to go around and listen to other people's suggestion or advice. And I actually do. I go sort of survey several teachers, and then I'll go back and do my own thing at the end. But I do that survey thing, you know-four or five other teachers. (M2, p. 8) Samantha had observed this pattern and also described it: She'll always seek out resources i f she's struggling. If she's unsure, she'll always go and talk to teachers. She's very confident in that way, confident, receptive to hearing what other folks have to say. She'll go visit all her science colleagues and say-what are you doing in Science 10, not because she's a new teacher and she can get away with it, but because it's her personality. She wil l seek out. So, I'll be one of many people she'll consult with. Even though I'm her mentor. (S2, p. 17) Thus, beyond a subject or a process, for Marie and Samantha, science seemed to allude to a philosophy, a way of being, of knowing, and of interacting. Marie explored this idea in some depth. Marie: I talked to another teacher who was assigned a mentor from another department. And she told me-it wasn't useful at all because she can't help me, she's in totally another area. What worked for me was I found someone and we had sort of the same philosophical similarities. Merrilee: What you're saying is really important. For the mentoring relationship to work it needs to be someone you will talk to and one of the things that's real obvious for secondary people is subject. Subject is important. But you're also saying that philosophy is important. Marie: I think it is for when later on you talk about teaching strategies and evaluation philosophies and what not. Classroom management. If you have drastically different-well it's good to have someone who's not exactly the same as 1 3 4 you because i f they're the same as you, it's like talking to yourself and everything you say is just reconfirmed for you. Merrilee: So you want someone who wil l challenge you a bit? Marie: Ya. I'm not saying people have to have really similar philosophies. But thinking back to the practicum where I know some student teachers found drastically different ways of dealing with things, that can become a source of conflict as well and add stress to the relationship. But that's true of any relationship-a marriage relationship [laughs]. Some people have their differences, whatever. (M3, p. 20-21) Science also provided a metaphor for Marie and Samantha to describe their relationship-ionic and covalent bonding: Marie: Ionic bonding is when usually you have metal and non-metal compounds. And how they bond together or how they join to form a compound is the metal donates an electron to the non-metal. So sometimes when I have a problem and I need help I go to Samantha. She becomes the metal; she donates her electron, that's her idea to me, the non-metal. And occasionally we do covalent bonding, which is compounds forming from non-metals and non-metals, like oxygen, 02, and hydrogen H2 gas. And what they do is because they're both missing some electrons in the outer orbit. To have a full stable orbit they wil l come together and maybe share their electrons.... Samantha: To add to that analogy, when we truly collaborate, we sit together, we brainstorm, we plan, then we deliver together. So that's very covalent. And even in the ionic part, the electron transfer goes both ways. Sometimes I'm the metal, sometimes she's the metal and we both are recipients of each other's knowledge. (MSI, p. 8-9) Being Evaluated: A Shared Experience Through the year, Marie and Samantha had many shared experiences, some positive, such as the study skills club, and some negative, such as the plagiarism sequence. Perhaps the most obvious and pervasive experience they shared was being evaluated by 135 their administrators. In Portal, all beginning teachers are evaluated, and continuing teachers are evaluated every 5 years after that. At Sprucevale, there was a comprehensive process of evaluation that consisted of administrator observations of the teacher, followed by post-conferences, and a written self-evaluation that teachers were expected to complete and provide to the principal. Teachers engaged in the process in varying degrees and with varying commitment. Marie began the evaluation process with enthusiasm, seeing it as a supportive process: I wasn't worried about being observed or evaluated because it's there to help me. If I can change my strategies in some way or find new strategies to help my students, well-wonderful. I'm open to it. It's good to be observed because there's a lot of things you don't notice about yourself. ( M l , p. 11-12) Later, she acknowledged a little more anxiety with the experience: We're both being evaluated this year. We both might have a little bit of anxiety. I probably have a little bit more than she does.. . . So things like that I would tell Samantha.... She'll be nice and she'll come out-good luck Marie, good luck with your class today, I'm sure it will be fine. And then afterwards, after the evaluation, she wil l come over and say-well, how did it go? I remember John [the principal] came one time, and he made some really strange comments-let the students read the textbook, instead of you reading.... He didn't know what was happening, he sort of swooped in for forty minutes, swooped out and he missed, he didn't have time for a pre-conference with me. And that's not good, because he doesn't know what the unit is, what's the flow, what's the outcome.... And you don't want people to get a wrong impression of the way you teach, the way you are, your relationship with your students. Just because they came in for forty minutes out of a whole semester. Are they going to write something based on that? I'm a very strong advocate of myself. Because there's no one else, you know, i f you don't speak up for yourself, what's going to happen? (M2, p. 10-11) 136 In talking about the evaluation process they were both undergoing, Samantha identified herself with Marie's apprehension: We're both being assessed this year so we can both talk about the anxieties of being formally observed and how we feel about the observations. She got observed today and I got observed on Monday. So we talked about how he observes and how you feel after he observes and what happens when he debriefs. (MSI, p. 5-6) Samantha recognized the potential of this shared experience in developing reciprocity between them: I ran to Marie and said-hey, you got that form and so did I. I'm being assessed this year too. I think when you're being evaluated formally, you always feel nervous.... So we were able to share a common experience and the anxiety and uncertainty, which is very good again in learning, putting us both in the learner's role. (SI, p. 5) She also assisted Marie in taking more control ofthe proceedings. In this exchange Samantha suggested a strategy for ensuring the administrator attended to her chosen focus, rather than concentrating on events he did not comprehend (as in the textbook reading example): Marie: Before he came in, John asked me what he should look at. And I actually never got a chance to tell him that because he doesn't come in before the class begins, right? Samantha: I put a little post-it note on my plans, I said please observe these three students, here's the data on them. So he actually had that in his package while he was getting some orienting. (MSI, p. 7) After several observations by both administrators and several debriefing session with Samantha, Marie was able to reflect on the experience of begin observed: John and Mike (the vice principal) have different ways of observing. And John's more, you know, more advice-giving. Mike is less of that. He's more of the 137 question-asking type. So it creates a different response from me. See, now I know what John wants... . It so happened John came the day before, when we're doing-here's the parts of the microscope, now learn them because I'm going to refer to them tomorrow. So more of a daily maintenance type class he showed up on. And I told Mike that I was a little worried, and Mike goes-oh no, don't worry about that, John's not looking for those kind of things. But in a way, I think John was. (M2, p. 19-20) Later in the year, the second part of the evaluation process began, when Marie and Samantha were expected to complete a written self-evaluation. Since this experience took place during Samantha's maternity leave, I have included it in the following section. Separation: Samantha's Maternity Leave From the beginning, we had known Samantha was expecting a baby. This did not deter her from becoming a mentor, nor did it seem to deter Marie. At their first joint interview, Samantha joked about her plans to mentor in absentia: I've left the invitation open when I'm pregnant [on leave], as long as you don't call me in the delivery room [laughter].... So I think it will continue, but maybe we won't see each other every day. But at least when things get crunchy or things get hot, she can always, she knows. (MSI, p. 17) I was curious about what effect the leave of absence, from February until June, would have on the mentorship. Samantha had intended to begin her leave at the semester change in late January. However, she had a fall just before Christmas, injuring her back, and only came to school in January to finish a few tasks prior to beginning her leave. The suddenness of her departure did not lessen her interest in mentoring nor in completing the research project. In fact, Samantha called me to ask i f we could move the second interview up so she could participate before she left the school. Samantha's baby was born just a few days later. 138 Journal/ entry May 14, 1997 This- wa* a/ delightful interview. Samantha is on a/ maternity leave-yo-1 went to-her house-for the- interview. Ittooh a/ while/to- get started/ because/ we/ had/ to-wait for her husbaAxdstcr gethom&to-looh after their toddler. He/ did/ come/ home/ and/they went out, leaving- uy with the-baby, who-is-4 months old. The/ baby was notyure/he/ wanted/Samantha/to-dothe/ interview, yowe/had/an exciting/time/. She/tried/to- s^tde/him/inhiyywing-, then tried/breast feeding-him/and