An Investigation into the Psychological Capital of Second-Career Teachers and Factors Influencing Their Scores

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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the Psychological Capital (PsyCap) of second-career teachers (SCTs) and their perceptions of what affects their PsyCap in the workplace by surveying and interviewing second-career teachers in public school districts in central eastern and northern Virginia. The research questions were: What is the PsyCap of a second-career teacher? What are the factors that second-career teachers perceive to contribute to their PsyCap? Participants were located in rural and suburban school districts in central eastern and northern Virginia. Data collection consisted of demographic surveys, the Psychological Capital Questionnaire survey (PCQ-24), and semi-structured interviews. Eighteen second-career teachers were purposefully selected from 34 who completed the demographic survey data and PsyCap-24 to participate in semi-structured interviews using the interview questions protocol. Common themes from the interviews were determined using deductive and inductive coding. Major findings were that second-career teachers exhibited a high average workplace positive PsyCapof 4.8; mentorship and strong peer support significantly influence second-career teachers' positive PsyCap; and a teacher's relationships with colleagues and their team's impact second-career teachers' positive PsyCap. Additional findings also showed that positive relationships with administration and prior-life experiences in other fields contributed to an increase in positive PsyCap. Whereas extra duties assigned to second-career teachers negatively impact their overall PsyCap. These results underscored the significance of nurturing positive PsyCap among second-career teachers, adding to the broader research on educators' PsyCap and its impact on teacher retention and job satisfaction in education.



psychological capital, second-career teachers, teacher happiness, teacher retention, teacher attrition, management styles, administration support, student engagement, teacher autonomy, and teacher job satisfaction