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Beitrag 139

Stabilization after the career switch - longitudinal findings on everyday working life and the self-concept of second career teachers


Background: From 2011 to 2013 the School of Teacher Education in North-Western Switzerland operated a regional program for the recruitment of second career teachers. The selection was based on age and professional experience as background criteria; however, a grammar school diploma was not mandatory. Thus, the program was open for interested persons with a professional background based on vocational education. The selection of candidates was based on an assessment leading to individualized recommendations with regard to pedagogical studies combined with the opportunity to apply immediately as a part-time teacher.

Research questions: The evaluation of the program focused on resources, competencies, challenges and self-concepts of the second-career teachers in a longitudinal perspective. The presentation will provide a summary of findings with regard to the future biographical perspective: Do the respondents intend to stay in the pedagogical profession; are they inclined to get back to their first career or do they think about a new professional challenge?

Methods: The study combined quantitative and qualitative methods. The longitudinal survey spans three waves of measurement. Online questionnaires were applied during the academic studies (t1), one year after graduation (t2) and four years after graduation (t3). Additionally, fourteen respondents participated at each measurement point in semi-structured interviews.

Results and discussion: Quantitative data show for all waves a high level of stability, indicating a congruence of expectations and experience. However, many second-career teachers seem to undergo a phase of “reality shock” in the period from t1 to t2. In most cases, the respondents were able to cope successfully with this shock in the period from t2 to t3. Qualitative data confirm the willingness to stay in school; in doing so, some second-career teachers think about the option to become a principal, taking advantage of their leadership experience from the first career. Others insist that they still want to focus on teaching, stressing the social relationship to the students and their role as mentors as a main source of professional satisfaction.



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