Still keen and committed: Piloting an instrument for identifying positive veteran teachers

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Teachers and Teaching


Taylor & Francis Group


School of Education




Lowe, G., Gray, C., Prout, P., Jefferson, S., & Shaw, T. (2019). Still keen and committed: Piloting an instrument for identifying positive veteran teachers. Teachers and Teaching, 25(4), 418–433. Available here


Since the mid-1980s, the working lives of teachers has become an enduring research topic. Much research has focused on early-career teachers and is often reported from deficit positions, i.e. why they leave the profession. However, career trajectory studies have described a small cohort of veteran teachers who remain positive and committed to teaching. This article reports on the creation and piloting of an instrument designed to test whether this positive cohort can be empirically identified within a wider teaching population. Four constructs (experimentation, challenge, comfort and leadership) drawn from Huberman (1993), and Day and Gu (2007) formed the basis for an online pilot survey completed by 145 teachers. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis supported three of the four factors (experimentation, comfort, leadership), with challenge loading strongly with experimentation. Initial findings suggest the potential of the instrument in helping identifying positive veteran teachers within systems, as well as the voracity of the research approach. Examining and articulating how these veteran teachers maintain their positive outlook may prove valuable as many countries confront an ageing teaching workforce, increasing student numbers and difficulties in retaining experienced teachers, meaning those who remain will be expected to sustain their commitment for longer.



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