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» One Physical Educator’s Career Cycle: Strong Start, Great Run, Approaching Finish

One Physical Educator’s Career Cycle: Strong Start, Great Run, Approaching Finish

PURPOSE: This paper is nested within a longitudinal project examining six teachers’ journeys along their career cycles (Woods & Earls, 1995; Woods & Lynn, 2001; Lynn & Woods, 2010). Two participants from the initial six continue to teach K-12 physical education, one of whom, Everett, is examined in the current study. This veteran teacher’s career cycle movement and the environmental factors that both enhanced and constrained his career development are examined through the lens of Fessler and Christensen’s Career Cycle Model (1992).
METHODS: Data sources included: eight formal interviews with Everett, formal interviews with his university teacher educators, student teacher supervisor, principal, and spouse; field notes, and systematic teaching observations. An interpretative framework was used to assess the perceptions and meanings Everett gave to experiences as a physical educator and coach.
RESULTS: Several factors acutely influenced Everett’s career progression, including: (1) his individual disposition, (2) the impact and continued influence of professional preparation program, and (3) his school and community support. He entered the profession with great promise, spent most of his career in the Enthusiastic and Growing and the Career Stability Stages, before shifting into the Career Frustration Stage where he currently remains.
CONCLUSIONS: Everett was able to negotiate personal and organizational environmental factors that have been identified as barriers for some physical educators. Therefore, viewing his professional life through the lens of the career cycle provides insights into the areas of change necessary to motivate and retain high quality physical educators such as Everett.