Watters, J. J & Diezmann, C. (2012). Mid-Career professionals in STEM transiting to school teaching: Barriers at the border. 322-326. China: Beijing Normal University. Retrieved from http://stem2012.bnu.edu.cn/data/short%20paper/stem2012_72.pdf
In many countries there is a shortage of quality teachers in areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Additional to the low levels of recruitment is an extraordinary high attrition rate with some 50% of beginning teachers leaving the profession within five years. One solution implemented in several countries has been to encourage mid-career professionals in the area of STEM to become school teachers. These professionals are said to bring to teaching enthusiasm, knowledge and a passion for their subject which will impact engagement and learning by students. However, these career-changers have constructed professional identities and are accustomed to working within a culture of collaboration and inquiry. In contrast, school cultures are quite different and often teaching is a lonely solitary affair with little opportunity for collegial relationships aimed at knowledge building in the context of teaching. Crossing from a culture of STEM to a culture of schools and teaching can be challenging. This study was conducted with 13 teachers who were followed for three years. However, this paper reports on the experiences of one teacher with an engineering background crossing the boundaries from practising STEM to Teaching STEM.
Open Access Conference Paper