Teacher Educators and ‘Accidental’ Careers in Academe: An Australian Perspective

Aug. 01, 2011

Source: Journal of Education for Teaching, Vol. 37, No. 3, August 2011, 247–260
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

In this article, the authors examine the career pathways and work experiences of teacher educators in Australia.

Specifically, the authors explore why and how they became teacher educators;
how they negotiate(d) academe, how they think of their work and themselves as teachers and researchers, and the variable ways in which their teaching experience and research knowledge are recognised and valued within academe.

The participants were 19 teacher educators working in universities in three states of Australia: Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales.
All teacher educators interviewed at the time were employed as full-time academics.

The 14 female and five male participants ranged in age from mid-30s to early 60s, with the majority being in their mid-50s. In this respect, most participants had considerable work experience, be it teaching in a school or in a university

Data were collected through semi-structured interviews.


The findings reveal that the entry of all the teacher educators into teacher education work was often by accident rather than design.
It appears that ‘teacher educator’ is not usually a career of conscious choice.

Furthermore, many feel resentful that the teaching and administration work that often requires large amounts of time is not recognised as sufficient for career progression.

In addition, the role of a significant mentor was critical for many teacher educators in this study.
The participants mentioned that the mentors helped them to understand the role of university academic and the relevant balance of research and teaching in their work, as well as the critical role of the PhD in preparation for academic work.


The authors recommend that it is important that the teaching profession and academe understand the role of ‘teacher educator’ within the context of ‘academic’ as one with its own field of research and scholarship as well as an informed knowledge base about learning to teach.
Furthermore, the authors argue for clear career pathways in teacher education with relevant career incentives and close mentoring to help novice teacher educators plan for and achieve career goals.

Updated: Dec. 30, 2012