Source: Teachers and Teaching, Volume 15, Issue 6 (December 2009), pages 683 – 700.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The purpose of this study was to investigate preservice teachers' views of teaching as related to their levels of commitment to teaching. More specifically, this study sought to explore preservice teachers' understanding of their goal of becoming teachers and their motivation for teaching.
The present study was conducted in two phases.
Phase I: Descriptive data
In the first phase of the study, 67 students completed an initial survey to collect demographic data as well as participants' career intentions. The administration of the survey occurred during the first two weeks of the semester and requested that students provide demographic and general information.
Phase II: Interviews
Following the initial survey, students who indicated they were willing to participate in an interview were placed into one of three groups according to participants' answers regarding their career intentions.
Group I, labeled Fully committed to teaching, were students who indicated that they currently were intending in pursuing a career in teaching.
Group II, labeled Undecided, were students who indicated that they were not sure regarding whether or not they would pursue a career in teaching.
Group III, labeled Not currently interested in teaching, included students who indicated they were no longer interested in pursuing a career in teaching.
From these three classifications, nine students (three from each category) were selected to participate in a face-to-face interview.
The nine participants in the second phase of the study were recruited from the pool of survey respondents who indicated that they were willing to participate in a face-to-face interview.
An analysis of the demographic profile indicated that participants varied in their ethnicity ;
marital status; major/specialization, and years in the teacher education program.
Participants' ages were between 20 and 35. Additionally, 5 of interviewed participants were females, and 4 were males.
Overall, findings from this study revealed that preservice teachers' understanding of their goal of becoming teachers and interpretations of their motivation for teaching were unique, yet the types of influences on their career choices were similar across participants' stories.
Most preservice teachers perceived teaching as a desirable career if they saw themselves as having the knowledge and skills to teach, and the confidence to do it. Also, the preservice teachers' teaching experience in this case was associated with positive emotions. The positive emotions were associated with a willingness to pursue a career in teaching.
Participants in the Fully committed to teaching group had more favorable views of teaching and positive emotions about teaching compared to the other two groups of preservice teachers.
For those who were Undecided and those Not currently interested in teaching, their previous experiences and beliefs about teaching generated negative emotions, and they perceived teaching mostly as a demanding, challenging, and overwhelming job. Additionally, they saw themselves as not adequately prepared for teaching, and expressed lack of confidence in their teaching skills.