Journal of Science Teacher Education

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 617–644

STEM Career Changers’ Transformation into Science Teachers


    • School of EducationUnion Graduate College
  • Alandeom W. Oliveira
    • Educational Theory and Practice DepartmentState University of New York
  • Lawrence M. Paska
    • Educational Theory and Practice DepartmentState University of New York

DOI: 10.1007/s10972-012-9325-9

Cite this article as:
Snyder, C., Oliveira, A.W. & Paska, L.M. J Sci Teacher Educ (2013) 24: 617. doi:10.1007/s10972-012-9325-9


This study examines the transformation (professional growth) of career-changing women scientists who decided to become teachers. Drawing upon Mezirow’s Transformative Learning Theory, we tracked their transformation for 3 years. Our findings revealed multiple identities, disorientation, a perceived sense of meaninglessness, loss and eventual regain in confidence, gain in pedagogical knowledge and skill, and changed perceptions of the social roles of science teachers and scientists. Driven by personal choice or need (financial, intellectual), such transformations were achieved through active pursuit of meaning in one’s work, critical assessment of assumptions, planning, and trying on the unfamiliar role of a science teacher. It is argued that such transition entails complex changes in thinking about science teaching and identifying oneself as a science teacher.


Career changersTransformationMezirowSecondary scienceTransition into teaching

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© The Association for Science Teacher Education, USA 2012