School of Education
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Mark A. Lamport
Primary Subject Area
Hermeneutics, Non-Traditional, Phenomenology, Second-Career
Lee, William Darrell, "Non-Traditional Entrants to the Teaching Profession: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Study of the Motivations, Experiences, and Reflections of Second-Career Teachers" (2010). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 305.
Individuals entering the teaching profession from other fields have much to offer in terms of practical experience in fields such as business, private industry, law enforcement, and the military. This study examined the phenomenon of second-career teachers with specific emphasis on the motivating factors, common experiences, and reflections of the participants in this study concerning the decision to leave already established professions in order to pursue a career in teaching. The study also inquired into the process involved in professional preparation as well as in assimilating to the culture of schools. Twelve diverse second-career teachers were purposefully chosen for this study and data was gathered utilizing lengthy, semi-structured interviews, subject-kept journals, and classroom observations. The participants in this study indicated several reasons for changing careers, such as the need for more meaningful work, a more flexible and family-friendly schedule, and the desire to share their experiences with the younger generation. Many of the participants also discussed a sense of religious calling. A discussion of the hardships faced by second-career teachers is discussed, along with an examination of the strengths and weaknesses of teacher education programs as they relate to second-career teacher candidates. Reflections concerning the participants' current teaching practices are discussed. Finally, recommendations for teacher education programs and school districts seeking to fully utilize the potential of teachers with prior work experiences are discussed along with suggestions for further research.