Second-career teachers and the school workplace: Effects on commitment and job satisfaction

Barbara Mrozik, Fordham University


Studies on teacher retention report staggering attrition rates among individuals teaching between 1 and 5 years. Due concern has been given to how the nation will staff its elementary and secondary schools in the years to come. A significant portion of adults will make a career change during their work lives. Some career changers will chose teaching as their second career. Little is known about why some career changers choose to teach and whether or not they find their new careers satisfying. The purpose of this study was to examine how the conditions of the school workplace affect the work experiences, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment of second-career teachers. Further, the study was designed to examine whether the experiences of second-career teachers differ from the experiences of first-career teachers. The initial teaching experiences of two female and two male second-career teachers in a New York City public school provided the data for this study. Since little empirical data existed regarding second-career teachers, a qualitative design, consisting of interviews, on-site observations, and on-going inductive analysis, was most appropriate. The findings provided information regarding the training and adaptability of these second-career teachers to the school workplace, the importance of their interactions with administrators and colleagues, and feelings regarding their futures as teachers. The practical implications of the findings suggest that: (1) recruitment of career change adults into teaching may help alleviate predicted teacher shortages; (2) induction programs at the school site should be developed to meet the particular needs of second-career teachers; (3) mentor programs provide information and support for second-career teachers. Implications for future research suggested by the findings are: (1) continued studies on second-career teachers as they persist through the critical first 5 years; (2) further study of other work environments to learn about successful supervisory methods that might transfer to the school workplace. The second-career teachers in this study suggest that non-traditionally prepared teachers bring a wealth of knowledge and significant experience to the classroom. Their contribution to our schools should not be overlooked in the education of our youth.

Subject Area

School administration|Labor relations|Occupational psychology

Recommended Citation

Mrozik, Barbara, "Second-career teachers and the school workplace: Effects on commitment and job satisfaction" (1993). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9328418.