Date of Award

Spring 2018

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Paula M Salvio

Second Advisor

Andrew D Coppens

Third Advisor

Joseph Onosko


This is a study of three second-career teachers’ experiences of self transformation and the processes of socialization and identity formation each undergoes during his or her first three to five years as a full-time teacher. Each narrative offers a means through which to explore how liminal identity is at play during the transition to a new career—an experience that reshapes the experiences and self-understandings of individuals in the process of becoming teachers. The narratives that emerge from in-depth interviews showcase individuals with multi-faceted lives who have engaged in a multitude of personal and professional activities throughout their life course and find themselves between worlds occupying a liminal identity during the transition to a new culture. Exploring personal and professional histories provides an appreciation of the motivations, the transitional experiences, and the transformations of self that individuals experience as they seek to situate themselves within the new culture in and out of the classroom and formulate a life that includes teaching. The multiple cultural activities, and the selves constituted therein, allow second-career teachers to bring rich learning experiences to students not merely as experts in their professional field but as experienced and caring adults with complex lives to share. The presentation of co-constructed case histories and analysis of the narratives seeks to add to the literature stories that engender an appreciation of the complex transformations involved in becoming a second-career teacher. Implications for teacher education programs serving and retention of second-career teachers are discussed.