A Higher Calling Awaits: The Journeys of Encore Educators

Contemporary Perspectives on the Lives of Teachers: Opportunities and Challenges provides a forum for innovative research related to the lives of teachers around the world. This series seeks to highlight the voices of teachers themselves in constructing their own lives and careers and welcomes multiple methodologies and theoretical perspectives for doing so. Contemporary Perspectives on the Lives of Teachers also seeks pioneering research that identifies, analyzes, and addresses current challenges facing teachers in today’s classrooms nationally and internationally. This series strives to serve as an indispensable voice for the personal and the professional in teaching, synthesizing research that works toward an effective and committed teaching force for today’s schools, students, and the teachers themselves.


The field of education seeks to find those who have the passion and desire to enlighten young minds, bring knowledge and wonderment, and to engage in meaningful discovery. There are those individuals who seek to reignite the field of education although their journey may have been serendipitous. Maya Angelou stated, “Nothing can dim the light that shines within”. This is a narrative analysis of a Silicon Valley female professional who worked alongside Fortune 500 companies having a passion to shine a light on the sciences by encouraging female high school students to explore non-traditional careers; thus, entering the field of education. Once in the classroom and as an administrator, discovered colleagues whose journeys as educators was a path less traveled.

In gaining an understanding of why other ‘career professionals’ chose the education profession as an encore career, I will explore innovative college programs available to future educators, share candid conversations on the themes of transitions to teaching; perspectives of maturity, spiritual well-being, patience, and caring; student-centered  appeals of public service; infusing real world applications, creativity and rigor into curriculum; and the ability to see student learning through a different lens.

The narrative analysis will delve deeper into the lived experiences of a recent encore career educator, whom I had the pleasure of serving as a faculty supervisor. Her journey into the field of education, the sense of community, intrinsic motivation, and the purpose of making a difference in the lives of her students are personified.

There is no substitute for experience when bringing the proficiencies of community and business professionals into the classroom as encore educators; thus, providing students a new beacon of knowledge, passion, compassion, and wealth of scholarship.  As Robert Frost eloquently noted “I am not a teacher, but an awakener”. Their stories are worth knowing and emulating.


This publication has been peer reviewed.
Publication Type: 
Book Chapter
Dr Cheryl Burleigh
Year of Publication: 
Journal, Book, Magazine or Other Publication Title: 
Opportunities and Challenges in Teacher Recruitment and Retention
Publication Language: 
Boyer's Domain: 

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