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The implications of teacher career pathways for teacher education

On 16 September 2021 the Teacher Education Policy in Europe Network, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and Umea University  organized a webinar on career pathways for teachers. The reason for this theme was the need to explore how teachers can stay motivated in their profession during a longer time span. This motivation is key for retaining teachers in their profession, and key for learners in schools, as motivated and passionate teachers are better in supporting their learning.

During the webinar, the focus was on the question how teacher career paths could support this long lasting motivation and wellbeing of teachers. As many countries are struggling with teacher shortage, the question how to retain teachers and how career opportunities can contribute to this, is of high importance.

Three parts

The webinar consisted of three parts. In the first part three keynote presenters explored the issue of teacher career paths from different angles (a recording of this first part is available here). In the second part subgroups discussed issues and experiences and exchanged policy examples from different countries. In the third part, the outcomes of this exchange were collected and key issues for further exploration were identified, especially in relation to the role of teacher education.

During the webinar it was emphasized that the teacher profession cannot be one in which initial teacher education is considered as a lifelong qualification (from a ‘now or never’ perspective), but where teacher education needs to be seen as a progressive process where high expectations are combined with high support and underlying professional trust. This recognizion has not only implications for teachers and school leaders, but also for teacher education institutions as they can not restrict themselves to support of student teachers during initial teacher education, but should use their expertise on teacher learning to support graduated teachers during their lifelong professional development and support school leaders in creating contexts that serve as fertile soil for lifelong teacher development.