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The lived experiences of novice teachers in out-of-field positions influence future career decisions and impact on their journey towards being competent and experienced practitioners, conversely their “life-world” is often misunderstood. The purpose of the study reported in this article is to investigate the lived experiences of these teachers, how principals’ understanding and leadership styles influence the lived experiences of novice out-of-field teachers, and what these lived experiences mean for school leaders. The article highlights perceptions of school leaders and novice out-of-field teachers about out-of-field teaching. It argues that the strategies implemented by school leaders based on their understanding of novice out-of-field teachers’ lived experience greatly influence the development of these teachers. It draws on Gadamer’s theories to investigate the lived experiences and perceptions of four principals and four novice out-of-field teachers through the different lenses of these participants. It concludes with a discussion on the interrelationships between school leaders’ understanding, novice teachers’ lived experience and what it means for the teaching environment. Participants’ interpretation of specific lived experiences connected to out-of-field teaching shapes meaning in their attempt to understand and to “belong,” for example, confidence issues, self-esteem concerns, and disconnectedness. The investigation of these units of meaning provides an in-depth understanding of the interrelationship between leadership and the lived experiences of novice out-of-field teachers.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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