Australian Journal of Education

Article Title

Telling tales out of school : exploring why former teachers are not returning to the classroom


Teacher attrition is a cost to the community and, often, to the teachers concerned. One ready potential source of teachers is those having left the profession, particularly recently, and who may be willing to return. For this article, 22 former teachers were interviewed about their journey into and out of teaching. Understanding what made teachers leave may inform us on what it might take to get them back. This paper reports on these former teachers’ professional intentions in light of their changing constructs of teaching through time, comparing, where possible, their former and current constructs of teaching and of their teacher-selves. The study constitutes a series of ‘before and after’ pictures, providing stark contrast at times. The findings generate theory on factors leading to these changes. One emerging inference is that the teaching profession fails to apply some of its corporate pedagogical knowledge to its own newcomers.