The secrets of successful veteran biology teachers: Metaphors of evolution, regeneration, and adaptation

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Voices of veteran junior high and high school biology teachers are seldom heard. Yet, the unique characteristics of this subject-matter may shed some light on veteran teachers' lives in school and their possible contribution to educational systems anywhere. Eight teachers were interviewed, aiming to arrive at their self-perceptions as veteran biology teachers. Using metaphors from biology, they unfolded their own journey through teaching, over their past and ongoing professional development, revealing diverse profiles in accordance with their educational and disciplinary orientations. Analysis of these teachers' descriptions of their successful survival in the system, despite its evolution and many changes, revealed three types of survival strategies: (1) adapting, transforming teachers; (2) non-transforming teachers; and (3) regenerated teachers. Inasmuch as various knowledge domains and their instruction share some properties with the domain of biology and its instruction, teachers' profiles and strategies may be helpful for understanding teaching careers in other domains as well. Different profiles may all lead to successful teaching, and veteran teachers may serve to promote others in their own areas of strength.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-513
Number of pages21
JournalTeachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Biology
  • Environmental changes
  • Metaphors
  • Transformation
  • Veteran teachers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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