From School Teacher to University Lecturer: Illuminating the Journey from the Classroom to the University for Two Arts Educators

From Section:
Teacher Educators
Jan. 15, 2011

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 27, Issue 1, January 2011, Pages 62-72.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This article explores the experiences of two arts educators, both of who are described as early career researchers at the university level. Furthermore, the paper investigates the events, personal and social conditions, places, and the subsequent joys and challenges they encountered in their progression from secondary school teachers (years 8–12) to arts educators.

Both participants in this study are currently working as arts educators in the university context after teaching in schools for a period of two (2) years (Carmen), to fourteen (14) years, (Margaret) respectively.

Narrative inquiry has been used to discuss how the arts have informed their identities and subsequent transition into their current roles.


There are a number of recommendations concerning the transition from school teaching to becoming a novice university academic in the field of education

1) acknowledging previous skills and expertise in teacher training programs
This recognition of previous identities and experience will ensure that teacher training programs will exert a more profound influence on their students by valuing who they are and what they have done.

2) engaging in research during teacher training programs
This would also allow school teachers wishing to move into the university sector to begin working on their identity as a researcher before, or at the very least, simultaneously to the commencement of their career in higher education (Swennen et al., 2009).

3) providing networking and mentoring opportunities in teacher training programs
Engaging in professional development and mentoring opportunities throughout teacher training ensures that they are perceived as essential components of a teacher’s identity which provide assistance and support for coping with the challenges of a new position and enhancing professional expertise in either the school or as a novice academic in the university context.

4) establishing communities of practice between the school and university sectors
The importance of establishing communities of practice during initial teacher training, particularly between the school and the university sectors cannot be underestimated.
This would serve to alleviate the sense of isolation that both novice school teachers and novice university academics can experience.

The incorporation of these recommendations into the planning of pre-service and graduate teacher programs would facilitate and strengthen existing connections between the school and university sector.


The authors conclude that challenges encountered by beginning school teachers such as developing an identity which is informed by previous experience and expertise; comprehending the requirements for the role of teacher; being aware of and implementing strategies to assist teaching practice and partaking in research opportunities which can enhance practice are important in facilitating the transition for school teachers who wish to share their experience and expertise and establish a career in education in the university sector.

Updated: Jan. 17, 2017
Art education | Narrative inquiry | Professional identity | Secondary school teachers | Teacher educators | Transition