PDL For New Teachers: A Reason To Stay

An Article by:

Dan Doerger, Ed.D.
Assistant Professor of Education - Beginning Teacher Mentor
Indiana University East
Richmond, IN 47374

(posted January, 2003)



Indiana University East (IUE), located in Richmond, IN, is a regional campus of the Indiana University system and has a long standing history of strong community connections. As a result of our commitment to the local community and because of our commitment to retention of beginning teachers, six years ago the IUE Division of Education implemented a Beginning Teacher Mentor Program for all first and second year teachers in our service area which includes 12 school corporations. The overriding program goal is to support beginning teachers as they make the transition from university student to teacher.

The Beginning Teacher Mentor Program at IUE was first developed under the guidance of Dr. Cheryl Stolle. Services provided by the program are voluntary and confidential and include one on one consultation, curriculum and planning resources, professional development resources, assessment resources, content area consultation, support in understanding the culture of schools, career counseling, and portfolio consultations among many others.

Beginning teachers who have utilized the university mentor services have indicated that the service has been beneficial and greatly appreciated. Even highly successful new teachers have welcomed the support. The mentor provides a safe source and sounding board as well as practical and relevant counsel and resources. Our services run the gamut from experienced professional consultant to cheerleader.

A new initiative, started with a local school corporation, is graduate courses geared specifically to first and second year teachers. There is a two course series, one per year lasting the length of the year. The first course is a theory into practice course. The second is action research based. Both courses help beginning teachers acclimate to our profession and provide them with six graduate credits. Each fall a new cohort group begins. The class is team taught with an IU East faculty and a school corporation master teacher.

The above services are currently coordinated through and/or provided by Dr. Dan Doerger, a full time faculty member and co-author of this article. In addition to the services noted above, Dan maintains an electronic chat room/resource room for beginning teachers both in and beyond the IUE service area. Since this resource is web-based, there is the potential for all beginning teachers to participate regardless of where they are teaching. As of the writing of this article, the site services beginning teachers around the state of Indiana and in South Carolina.

The Beginning Teacher Mentor Program at IUE is currently being utilized by beginning teachers in more than thirty different school buildings in twelve school corporations. These teachers represent all teaching levels K-12 and a variety of content areas. If you would like more information about the Beginning Teacher Mentor Program at IUE or you would like to visit our on-line forum as a guest, please contact Dr. Dan Doerger at ddoerger@indiana.edu.

Dan Doerger, Ed.D.
Assistant Professor of Education
Beginning Teacher Mentor
Indiana University East
Richmond, IN 47374