01 SES 16 C, Exploring the Issue of Second Career Teacher Retention: Toward an Integrative Approach
Over the past twenty years, second career teachers (SCTs) have received a growing interest among researchers and policymakers (Berger & D’Ascoli, 2012). SCTs are teachers with a prior occupation in another profession than teaching. In many countries, the recruitment of SCTs is seen as a solution to face the increasing teacher shortage. The recruitment of SCTs adds a workforce coming from other sectors to the influx of teachers coming from initial teacher training (Baeten & Meeus, 2016). In order to attract SCTs, many countries implemented flexible systems concerning the formal requirements to enter the teaching profession and alternative certification programs emerged to become a teacher (Mathou et al., 2020; Zirkle & Jeffery, 2017).
Despite the increasing demand for attracting SCTs to the teaching profession, research shows that the transition from their previous careers to the school as a workplace is often challenging (Baeten & Meeus, 2016). As a consequence, the attrition rate is particularly high among SCTs and up to twice the attrition rate of first career teachers (Chamber Mack et al., 2019).
Few empirical studies have provided insight into this high attrition rate and more research is needed to better understand the professional integration and retention of SCTs during this early career phase. Additionally, existing research on SCTs often applies a micro-level or individual perspective (Goodwin et al., 2019). The majority of studies focus, for instance, on SCTs’ motivations for the career transition, their construction of a new professional identity, their capacity to transfer technical skills to students, or SCTs’ job satisfaction. Moreover, since the reality of SCTs is shaped by an interplay of different factors at different levels, we argue that it is necessary to take an integrative approach, which articulates micro-, meso- and macro-level frameworks (Coppe et al., 2020). In particular, how can we explain SCT retention, taking into account the interplay between factors at the individual (micro), organizational (meso), and policy (macro) level?
Through four contributions, the goal of this symposium is to provide an in-depth understanding of the issue of second career teacher retention using an integrative approach. In this symposium, we aim to describe, analyze, and critically reflect upon the (diverse) experienced realities of second career teachers as well as the contextual conditions explaining their realities. The varied national contexts (USA, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany) and entry points situated on a macro- meso- and the micro-level in this symposium will support both theoretically and empirically based reflections on the issue of their retention.
The first presentation describes the realities of SCTs combining macro-, meso-, and micro-level perspectives. This contribution presents a state-to-state comparison of alternative certification program requirements with a specific focus on the challenges of a program in the state of Ohio. The professional development strategies implemented by universities and schools are highlighted as well as the motivations and transition process of SCTs and the retention issue.
The second presentation analyzes the socialization process of SCTs into TVET-schools in French-speaking Belgium by using an organizational perspective. This contribution sheds light on how the school structure shapes the social fabric of teachers’ professional interactions and how it may impact novice SCTs’ work socialization.
The third presentation articulates meso- and micro-level factors by analyzing the working conditions and motivations of SCTs in Dutch VET-schools as important factors for their professional development and retention.
The fourth presentation focuses on a micro-level and compares motivations, well-being, and intention to stay in the teaching profession between first and second career teachers in Germany.
Baeten, M., & Meeus, W. (2016). Training Second-Career Teachers: A Different Student Profile, A Different Training Approach? Educational Process: International Journal, 5(3), 173–201. Berger, J.-L., & D’Ascoli, Y. (2012). Becoming a VET teacher as a second career: investigating the determinants of career choice and their relation to perceptions about prior occupation. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 40, 317–341. Chambers Mack, J., Johnson, A., Jones‐Rincon, A., Tsatenawa, V., & Howard, K. (2019). Why do teachers leave? A comprehensive occupational health study evaluating intent‐to‐quit in public school teachers. Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research, 24(1), e12160. Coppe, T., März, V., & Raemdonck, I. (in press). Second career teacher's first dates with the school: A marriage without romance. McGill Journal of Education. Mathou, C., Sarazin, M. A. C., & Dumay, X. (2020). Whither employment protections? Deregulation and the flexibilisation of the teaching workforce in the state-funded sector. Journal of Education Policy, 00(00), 1–23. Zirkle, C., & Jeffery, J. (2017). Career and Technical Education Administration: Requirements, Certification/Licensure, and Preparation. Career and Technical Education Research, 42(1), 21–33. Goodwin, A. L., Low, E. L., Cai, L., & Yeung, A. S. (2019). A longitudinal study on starting teachers’ retention intentions: Do pre-teaching work experience and length of working years make a difference? Teaching and Teacher Education, 83, 148–155.
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