Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 8-25-2020

Publication Title

Journal of Science Teacher Education







Publisher Name

Taylor & Francis


Research into the construct of science teacher identity has gained momentum over the past decade in an effort to achieve a more comprehensive, holistic understanding of teacher learning and development. As yet few studies have examined the unique identity challenges of science teacher career changers. Akkerman and Meijer’s (2011) dialogical approach to the conceptualization of teacher identity informed this longitudinal, qualitative study exploring the different identity aspects, or I-positions, of two individuals who had changed careers to teach high-school biology. The study identified moments of disequilibrium experienced by the participants and explored how they each eventually restored equilibrium. Analysis included tabulation of data using preliminary categories of multiplicity and unity, discontinuity and continuity, social and individual, and the participants’ internal negotiations. Findings revealed various I-positions and the disequilibrium that resulted as competing I-positions emerged during participants’ transition to a new career in teaching. However, there was also a common theme of participants eventually integrating these competing I-positions in an effort to find unity and continuity. The need for teacher preparation programs to support career changers in negotiating I-position conflicts such that they do not become insurmountable is discussed. Implications of depicting identity from a developmental perspective are offered for teacher preparation programs as well as teacher education research.


Author Posting © Taylor & Francis, 2020. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Taylor & Francis for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Science Teacher Education, Volume 32, Issue 2, August 2020.

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation [1660794]

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.