This article is based upon the premise that there are many veteran teachers who maintain positive attitudes towards teaching throughout their careers. According to The Grant Study (Waldinger, 2015), positive attitudes towards life and work stem from close relationships and adaptive behaviours that people engage in throughout adult life. This article describes a study undertaken in Australia which revealed that, in line with Grant Study findings, positive veteran teachers (aged 40-70+ years) build and maintain supportive social connections among colleagues in their school and others outside school, plus spouse (or long-term partner) and close family, that contribute to their sense of emotional and physical wellbeing. In a highly relational career such as teaching, our article highlights the credibility positive veteran teachers ascribe to their social connections, including the derived benefits in terms of their teaching and their own wellbeing. We then discuss the implications of the findings, including the role of school leadership in acknowledging the importance of, and fostering healthy social connections within their schools, as a way of sustaining engagement for all teachers.
Positive Veteran Teachers, Social Connections, Adaptive Strategies, Life-Long Learning, Narrative Inquiry
We wish to acknowledge the advice and support for this research, including preparing this article, by friend and colleague Dr Denise Meister, currently of Albright College, Reading, Pennsylvania.
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Recommended APA Citation
Prout, P. F., Lowe, G. M., Gray, C. C., & Jefferson, S. (2019). An Elixir for Veteran Teachers: The Power of Social Connections in Keeping These Teachers Passionate and Enthusiastic in Their Work. The Qualitative Report, 24(9), 2244-2258. Retrieved from https://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol24/iss9/10