Understanding Career Change Student Teachers

Understanding Career Change Student Teachers in Teacher Education Programs

Research shows that a growing percentage of students in teacher education programs are career changers. Many have families and are still working while studying to become a teacher. Career change student teachers’ circumstances, background and career experiences can influence their professional and personal learning needs. Despite growing numbers, there has been little research on career change student teachers, particularly in recent times in Australia.

As a result of successfully obtaining a research grant from the Australian Teacher Education Association, a team of education researchers from the University of Technology Sydney are investigating the characteristics of career change student teachers and their evolving professional learning needs. Findings from this Australia-wide study will inform Universities and teacher education academics on how best to support career changers’ specific needs as student teachers and ensure their long term retention as teachers.

The project team consists of Dr Don Carter, Dr Meera Varadharajan, Prof Sandy Schuck and Assoc Prof John Buchanan. The project builds on Meera’s doctoral thesis, which explored the lived experiences of career change beginning teachers.