Where are they now? Ex-teachers tell their life-work stories

Australia's Institutes for Educational Research
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Issues in educational Research, 2009, 19 (1), pp. 1 - 13
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Considerable research has been conducted into teacher retention and attrition (Huberman, 1989; Dinham, 1995; Ewing & Smith, 2002). Little is known, though, of the circumstances of ex-teachers, in terms of factors such as salary, workload, working conditions and 'job prestige'. For this paper, telephone interviews were conducted with 22 ex-teachers, asking what led them into and out of teaching, and views on their current working conditions compared to those of teaching. The interview protocol for this project foreshadows a questionnaire that could be used more broadly, nationally and internationally. This paper reports on respondents' perceptions of their current circumstances compared with those of teaching. Few of these ex-teachers regret their decision to leave the profession, and few consider their current circumstances inferior, even those whose raw salary is lower. The findings have implications for teacher recruitment, education, the provision of working conditions in the teaching profession, and for the public perceptions and promotion of teaching.
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