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Beitrag 127.3

Social resources and early career challenges in second career teachers: A qualitative study


Recurring periods of teacher shortage are an important reason for the recruitment of second career teachers in many countries. Second career teachers are often confronted with high hopes as well as misconceptions concerning their skills and resources (e.g., Tigchelaar et al., 2008). However, little is known on how job resources are perceived and how these resources are related to the professional challenges that second career teachers encounter. The current study addresses this research gap. Past research has shown that social support is a crucial resource for mastering job demands (e.g., Lazarus & Folkman, 1984; Lehr et al., 2008). On the other hand, social collaboration can pose a professional challenge itself; for new teachers in general, but especially for teachers with former career experiences, who tend to have high expectations in teamwork (Bauer et al., 2017). Thus, the current study tackles the discrepancy regarding the role of social support as a professional resource as well as a professional challenge.

Focusing on the role of social support in mastering early career challenges, we interviewed 23 second career teachers, 7-10 years after their graduation from a Swiss university for teacher education. All teachers had obtained at least one vocational qualification before completing a regular teacher training program. While at the time of study, 9 interviewees had again left the teaching profession, 14 were still working as a teacher. To cover a broad range of relevant sample characteristics, we chose interviewees with a wide variety of first careers. All 23 interviews were fully transcribed and analyzed according to the qualitative content analysis by Mayring (2004).

Overall, social collaboration was the most frequently reported early career challenge. Many second career teachers reported feelings of disappointment or irritation when realizing that teamwork did not have the priority that they were used to from their former careers. At the same time, the solicitation of social support was one of the most important coping strategies, with support stemming mainly from colleagues and school administrators. While the staying teachers were more satisfied with the social support that they managed to solicit from their colleagues and school administrators, the individuals who had again left the teaching profession reported more dissatisfaction with social support. The results will be discussed in view of job well-being and teacher retention.



Bauer, C. E., Aksoy, D., Troesch, L. M., & Hostettler, U. (2017). Was bringt der Vorberuf? Der subjektive Nutzen beruflicher Vorerfahrungen im Lehrberuf. In C. E. Bauer, C. Bieri-Buschor, Christine & N. Safi (Eds.) (2017), Berufswechsel in den Lehrberuf., Bern: hep.

Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer.

Lehr, D., Schmitz, E., & Hillert, A. (2008). Bewältigungsmuster und psychische Gesundheit. Zeitschrift für Arbeits-und Organisationspsychologie, 52, 3-16.

Mayring, Ph. (2004). Qualitative content analysis. In U. Flick, E.v. Kardorf & I. Steinke (Eds.), A companion to qualitative research (pp. 266-269). London: Sage.

Tigchelaar, A., Brouwer, N. & Korthagen, F. (2008). Crossing horizons: Continuity and change during second-career teachers’ entry into teaching. TATE, 24, 1530-1550.