Challenges confronting career-changing beginning teachers : a qualitative study of professional scientists becoming science teachers

Watters, James J. & Diezmann, Carmel M. (2015) Challenges confronting career-changing beginning teachers : a qualitative study of professional scientists becoming science teachers. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 26(2), pp. 163-192.

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Recruitment of highly qualified science and mathematics graduates has become a widespread strategy to enhance the quality of education in the field of STEM. However, attrition rates are very high suggesting preservice education programs are not preparing them well for the career change. We analyse the experiences of professionals who are scientists and have decided to change careers to become teachers. The study followed a group of professionals who undertook a one-year preservice teacher education course and were employed by secondary schools on graduation. We examined these teachers’ experiences through the lens of self-determination theory, which posits autonomy, confidence and relatedness are important in achieving job satisfaction. The findings indicated that the successful teachers were able to achieve a sense of autonomy and confidence, and, in particular, had established strong relationships with colleagues. However, the unique challenges facing career-change professionals were often overlooked by administrators and colleagues. Opportunities to build a sense of relatedness in their new profession were often absent. The failure to establish supportive relationships was decisive in some teachers leaving the profession. The findings have implications for both pre-service and professional inservice programs and the role that administrators play in supporting career-change teachers.

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1 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 79131
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Science teacher education, Beginning teachers, Career-change teachers, Career-switchers, Second career teachers, Professional identity, School culture, Self-Determination Theory, School culture
DOI: 10.1007/s10972-014-9413-0
ISSN: 1046-560X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Secondary Education (130106)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Science Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy (130212)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Curriculum
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Springer
Deposited On: 02 Dec 2014 23:59
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2016 14:03

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