Publication Date

2015

Abstract

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 1-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 preservice and professional in-service programs and the role that administrators play in supporting career-change teachers.

Document Type

Journal Article

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