10 SES 04 A, Second and Mid-Career Entrants to Teaching
During the past decades, a shortage of Swiss primary and secondary school teachers has been observed. As a consequence, teacher training programs for second-career teachers have been established in many Swiss cantons. Since 2011, the Zurich University of Teacher Education offers such studies for candidates over 30 years of age with former experience in the labor market, as well as in pedagogical work, either within vocational or non-vocational settings. This know-how is supposed to be useful and transferable to the teaching profession. Within the research on teacher education in Switzerland, there is only limited knowledge about second-career teachers. The focus in the international context mainly lays on aspects such as: previous pedagogical experience; vocational biography and associated conceptions of teaching and learning; formal and informal learning processes; professional motivation; supervision of workplace learning and remaining in the teaching profession (Darling-Hammond, Chung & Frelow, 2002; Dill, 1996; Ingersoll, 2001; Tigchelaar, Vermount & Brouwer, 2012; Zeichner & Schulte, 2001).
The entire educational program is being evaluated in a research project at the Zurich University of Teacher Education. The research questions focus on the biographical experience, motivation and expectations of students, as well as the competence development and their socialisation into the new profession. One aim of our research is the optimisation between academic studies at university and workplace learning in school. Another subject, which will be presented in this proposal, is in regard to gaining general knowledge of student’s biographies and their reasons for choosing teaching as a second career. Here the focus lays on student teachers in secondary education and includes these central questions:
- What is the academic and professional background of the second-career teachers?
- What are the reasons for their career change, and what motivated them to become teachers?
- What differences can be observed between students who participate in regular teacher training and second-career teachers (pedagogical experience, motives etc.)?
- How do they perceive their career change?
The theoretical framework includes concepts of educational science and biographical research. Personal beliefs, informally acquired competences and former experience are assumed to strongly influence their teaching style. In addition, role models are considered to be central in the making of the decision to become a teacher (Herzog et al., 2007; Huberman, 1989; Kappler, 2013). In light of career choice, we consider the person-environment congruence, and we focus on personal skills and interests which best fit into a specific vocational environment with particular requirements (Holland, 1997). Theoretical models highlighting career change look at personality trait, risks and the costs of the change, as well as personal expectations and values, supporting systems and organisational factors. Studies indicate that second-career teachers show higher intrinsic motivation in their profession and have more experience of pedagogical work than students in regular teacher training. Furthermore, second-career teachers explain their career change in terms of intrinsic interest, such as meaningfulness and self-fulfillment, in addition to extrinsic incentives, for example job security, career perspectives and a better income (Grzeda, 1999; Lent et al., 1994; Richardson & Watt, 2005; Rhodes & Doering, 1993).
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