Second career teachers and (mis)recognitions of professional identities

Ann Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Since the late 1980s there has been an increase of ‘second career teachers’ (SCTs), professionals that switch careers to become teachers. Little is known about SCTs and their sense of professional identity. Building from Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of power and cultural capital, the professional identities of teachers were examined through the following questions: What are the professional identities of SCTs? How can SCTs inform the field of teaching about professional identities? This mixed methods study gathered perspectives on professional identities through an online survey of 236 educators within 1 school district which were analysed and compared to interviews of 16 SCTs and their supervisors from the same district. The study findings invite us to consider alternative definitions of professionalism in teaching, especially for teacher leadership.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-245
Number of pages25
JournalSchool Leadership and Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 14 2016


  • Teacher identity
  • second career teacher
  • teacher professionalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management


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