Midcareer Entrants to Teaching: Who They Are and How They May, or May Not, Change Teaching
Issue/Topic: Teaching Quality--Induction Programs and Mentoring; Teaching Quality--Recruitment and Retention
Author(s): Marinell, William; Johnson, Susan Moore
Organization(s): Harvard University
Publication: Educational Policy
Published On: 10/13/2014
No previous studies have used national data to examine midcareer entrants' personal and professional characteristics, their rates and routes of entry into the profession, or the positions they secured on entering teaching. Thus, policymakers have had little research in which to base decisions.
To assess the potential of midcareer entrants--teachers who enter the profession from careers outside of education--to diversify teaching, staff public schools, and fill vacancies in high-need subjects
Researchers found that although midcareer entrants were more likely than first-career entrants to be male and from minority backgrounds, they have not reduced the gender imbalance among first-year teachers nationally, and they appear to be only partially responsible for introducing slightly more racial diversity into the teaching force. Other findings:
About midcareer entrants
- Average first-year midcareer entrant was a white, 36-year-old female who entered teaching directly from a postsecondary institution, most likely after attending a postbaccalaureate, university-based teacher certification program.
- The percentage of midcareer entrants transferring to teaching from careers outside of education rose steadily from 18 percent to 31 percent between 1998 and 2004 and then decreased to 21 percent in 2008.
- The percentage of midcareer entrants coming from education-related nonteaching jobs increased steadily over time, from 12 percent to 22 percent between 1988 and 2008.
- The percentage of midcareer entrants among all first-year teachers grew from 20 percent in 1988 to more than 39 percent in 2004, and then decreased to 37 percent in 2008.
- On average, a greater percentage of midcareer entrants were men. However, females remained the predominant group among all first-year teachers and there was no statistically significant reduction in the gender imbalances among new teachers.
- The average percentage of non-white midcareer entrants (about 23 percent) was 5.3 percentage points larger than the average percentage of non-white first-career entrants (about 17 percent). Both midcareer and first-career groups were becoming increasingly non-white although only the trend among first-career entrants was statistically significant.
- Most midcareer entrants were elementary school teachers and did not assume the roles as secondary teachers to the extent that was expected.
- Simply recruiting more midcareer entrants is unlikely to solve secondary school staffing problems without providing additional incentives to attract teachers in specific subject areas or at the secondary level.
Midcareer entrants have not dramatically changed the gender and racial composition of the entering teaching force. As a result of these findings, researchers recommend that states and districts seeking to increase the diversity of their teachers should consider the following:
Recruitment & Preparation
- Developing specific initiatives to recruit, prepare, employ and retain male and minority teachers, who choose teaching, whether as first-career or midcareer entrants.
- Recruitment and preparation efforts, such as those of the Boston Teacher Residency Program or Illinois' Grow Your Own program.
- Creating fast-track preparation programs for midcareer entrants who have come from education-related fields.
- Develoingp programs, interventions and professional development that increase the effectiveness of white women in teaching male and minority students.
- Supporting new teachers by taking into account individuals' education, preservice training, prior work experience, and acquired skills.
- Differentiating induction supports for first-career and midcareer entrants.
- Providing midcareer entrants with advice from colleagues and coaches on how to best teach their subject and well as provide additional support with classroom management and pedagogy.
- Tracking teachers' employment history and researchers should examine the proportions and characteristics of midcareer entrants statewide and locally as well as their longevity in their schools and in teaching.
Longitudinal, cross-sectional study
A sub-sample of 3,266 full-time, first-year teachers, including both first- and midcareer entrants.
Year data is from:
Data Collection and Analysis:
Data from NCES' Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), a cross-sectional survey of a nationally representative sample of K-12 teachers, principals, and district personnel in public and private schools
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