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Finding and Redefining the Meaning of Teaching: Exploring the Experiences of Mid-career Teachers

Author(s): Coulter, Shannon | Lester, Jessica Nina

Journal: Journal of Curriculum and Instruction
ISSN 1937-3929

Volume: 5;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 5;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: teacher education | teachers

We carried out a grounded theory study to describe how mid-career English teachers make meaning of becoming teachers and persisting in the field. We explored the experiences of midcareer teachers in order to understand the experiences of those who made it “over the hump,” yet were far enough away from retirement so as not to be focused on such. After participant interviews were transcribed and analyzed using the constant comparative method, we developed the four themes, referred to as activities: (a) changing over time, (b) seeing the big picture, (c)sticking around, and (d) receiving rewards. Participants identified the primary reasons why they became teachers to be the intrinsic and subjective qualities of being a teacher and making adifference in students’ lives. These reasons were also the only motivators for why they remained in the field. A model describing the process of identity formation for teachers was proposed.

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