Learning (Not) to Become a Teacher: A Qualitative Analysis of the Job Entrance Issue

Jan. 02, 2012

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Vol. 28, Issue 1, p. 1-10. (January, 2012).
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

In this article, the authors examine how experiences during teacher education affect student teachers’ decision on job entrance.

The main research question was: How is student teachers’ job motivation (as part of their developing personal interpretative framework) affected by experiences during teacher education resulting in a particular decision on job entrance?

The authors examined case studies of 12 student teachers: six student teachers who indicated a major increase in intention to enter teaching and six who indicated a major decrease.

Data were collected through semi-structured interviews shortly before graduation.

Discussion and conclusion

The authors identified three major scenarios in student teachers’ changing job motivation:
a) from low to high job motivation,
b) from high, non job-specific to high job-specific motivation, and
c) from high to low job motivation.

The authors also describe determinants of the shifts in job motivation:
1) Development of professional competence, and
2) social-professional relationships in the placement schools.

The findings illustrate that the relevant relationships student teachers find themselves in during teacher education (with pupils, peers, teacher educators, or mentors) can make the difference for their job motivation.

Data revealed that guidance, support, follow-up, and feedback on field experiences are crucial determinants of student teachers who indicated a major shift in their intention for job entrance.
Therefore, teacher educators should strive to help their students develop realistic images of the teaching profession and of themselves as teachers in order to guarantee that their decision to (not) enter the teaching profession is well-considered and informed.

Updated: Aug. 27, 2012