ERIC Number: ED501492
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr-2
STEM Career-changers Transition to Teaching: I Have to Become a Student Again?
Grier, Jeanne M.; Johnston, Carol C.
Online Submission, National Association of Research in Science Teaching Annual International Conference (Baltimore, MD, Mar 30-Apr 2, 2008)
The purpose of this study was to identify the concerns of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career changers to better inform teacher education programs on how to best address their unique needs. We identified three career-changers with former STEM-related careers, each seeking a secondary teaching credential in biology and currently enrolled in a post-baccalaureate fifth-year secondary-level credential program. Data were collected using a variety of qualitative methods including open-ended interviews and non-participant observations. Teaching portfolios (including employment resumes and program assignments and lesson plans) and academic transcripts were also collected. Qualitative data were analyzed by organizing the data into topics, codes, and then categories based upon predetermined themes from the research questions and emergent themes from the data set. A case for each career changer was then developed and further analyzed for similarities and differences. This study raises questions about designing alternative certification programs exclusively for second career teachers. The findings of this study in several ways agreed with other literature on the reluctance of career-changers to become students again; however, this study presented an alternate picture as well. Two of the three study participants expressed initial misgivings about their needs to enter a credential program because of either their previous experiences in working with youth or teaching at the university level. However, by the end of the first semester of student teaching, all three saw the value in learning about students especially when working with diverse student populations. In conclusion, we found that these STEM career changers benefited by entering the teaching profession alongside more traditional peers in the credential program. A longer term and future goal is to follow these individuals into their teaching careers to determine if their collegial experiences inthe credential program are related to the development of their teacher identity and what impact that may have on their success in the classroom and on teacher retention.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A