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Beitrag 142

Professionals as teachers: Two studies investigating second career teachers’ career paths and professional development (“Berufsleute als Lehrpersonen”, BaL I & II)



This paper seeks to outline two scientific studies titled “Professionals as Teachers I & II” (“Berufsleute als Lehrpersonen, BaL I & II”) , examining second career teachers’ (SCTs’) professional development. As globally, SCT make up a substantial part of the teaching staff, and will further gain importance due to frequent teacher shortages, their professional development and retention is highly relevant for educational practitioners, teacher trainers and policy makers alike. In Switzerland, SCT-rates have been growing considerably in the last decade (BfS, 2016); in our studies, it is around 30% of the teacher population.

School practitioners tend to value SCT as life-experienced, broad skilled and resilient (e.g., Tigchelaar, Brouwer & Korthagen, 2008). While some authors have indeed found particularly high self-efficacy and intrinsic motivation for teaching (Weinmann-Lutz et al., 2006), others caution that professional skills are not per se transferable (Mayotte, 2003), that attrition can be high (Redding & Smith, 2016), and warn against the risk of deprofessionalisation (e.g., Ingersoll, 2001). Based on these ambiguous findings, our studies aim to gain more insight in SCTs’ specific resources, challenges and retention or attrition from teaching.

Current studies

A first project (2013-2017) addressed occupational well-being, challenges, coping and attrition in 400 qualified teachers with and without earlier careers. In a second, ongoing longitudinal study (2017-2020), we investigate the professional development of teacher students, with a focus on previous educational and professional qualifications and experiences, career choice motives and goals, coping resources, and attrition.

Both projects have a mixed methods-design using questionnaires and semi-structured interviews, which were analysed with qualitative content analysis, and are relying on a resource-oriented model of teacher well-being and retention or attrition, based on Kyriacou & Sutcliffe (1978).


So far, we found that SCT are highly resourceful and resilient, but also prone to frustrations when established standards, routines and expectations don’t match the new work situation, particularly regarding teamwork and working hours (Troesch & Bauer, 2017). The findings will be discussed with regard to their relevance for the recruitment, training and induction of SCT.



BfS (2016). Personal von Bildungsinstitutionen. Reihe Statistik der Schweiz (15). Neuchâtel: Bundesamt für Statistik BfS. 

Ingersoll, R. (2001). Deprofessionalizing the teaching profession: The problem of out-of-field teaching. Educational Horizons, 80(1), 28–31.

Kyriacou, C., & Sutcliffe, J. (1978). A model of teacher stress. Educational Studies, 4, 1-6. 
Mayotte, G. A. (2003). Stepping stones to success. Teaching and Teacher Education, 19(7), 681-695.

Redding, C., & Smith, T. M. (2016). Easy in, Easy out: Are alternatively certified teachers turning over at increased rates? American Educational Research Journal, 53(4), 1086-1125. 

Tigchelaar, A., Brouwer, N., & Korthagen, F. (2008). Crossing horizons: Continuity and change during second-career teachers’ entry into teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24(6), 1530-1550.

Troesch, L., & Bauer, C. (2017). Second career teachers: Job satisfaction, job stress, and the role of self-efficacy. Teaching and Teacher Education, 67, 389-398. 

Weinmann-Lutz, B., Ammann, T., Soom, S., & Pfäffli, Y. (2006). Jetzt noch studieren... Münster u.a.: Waxmann.