Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Regena Nelson

Second Advisor

Dr. Patricia Reeves

Third Advisor

Dr. Marcia Fetters


Second-career teachers, transition process, novice teachers, meaning-making, teaching experience


The world we live in is in constant change. During change, people focus on the observable part of what is not there anymore and what has come in its place, not being conscious of the adaptation process that underlies the change: the transition. The transition is a process that has different phases and the development of the process is differentiated depending on the individual. Transition is also directly related to the type of experience. Although circumstances differ among individuals, it is possible to say that there are some common aspects in terms of challenges faced by all novice teachers, both first-year teachers, and second-career teachers. These challenges were summarized in four categories: personal; curriculum, instruction, and assessment; relationships; and unsupportive environments. Each of them has a significant effect on teachers’ success during their first years.

This study is a multiple case study of the transition process that Dominican second-career teachers in K-5 classrooms undergo when changing to the teaching career. After analyzing data from semi-structured interviews, Stimulated Recalled Interviews (SRI), observations, and journals from the participants, an in-depth description of these professionals, their journey, and their meaning-making process was described.

As evidenced by the data collected, making meaning processes and transitions varies among individuals, supported by their previous experience. The process of reflecting on the teaching practice and analyzing situations helped the participants become conscious of their meaning-making process.

Understanding the personal, emotional, and professional implications of the transition into teaching of these second-career teachers should be considered in the professional preparation of this group of professionals. The particularities of the meaning-making process pose a challenge for how to support this minority group professionally. Nevertheless, findings show the need to differentiate and personalize the career support and training for second-career teachers.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access