Journal of Science Teacher Education

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 617–644 | Cite as

STEM Career Changers’ Transformation into Science Teachers

  • Catherine Snyder
  • Alandeom W. Oliveira
  • Lawrence M. Paska


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 changers Transformation Mezirow Secondary science Transition into teaching 


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Copyright information

© The Association for Science Teacher Education, USA 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Snyder
    • 1
  • Alandeom W. Oliveira
    • 2
  • Lawrence M. Paska
    • 2
  1. 1.School of EducationUnion Graduate CollegeSchenectadyUSA
  2. 2.Educational Theory and Practice DepartmentState University of New YorkAlbanyUSA

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