A Case Study of Early Career Secondary Teachers’ Perceptions of their Preparedness for Teaching: Lessons from Australia and Spain

February, 2017

Source: Teacher Development, Vol. 21, No. 1, 101–117, 2017
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This case study aims to identify the extent to which beginning teachers believe they are prepared for their careers through their teacher training. The study also examines what teachers have learned as practicing teachers.

The authors interviewed 11 secondary teachers from Australia and Spain in their third year of full-time teaching.
Five participants were from Australia: three female and two male.
Six participants were from Spain: three women and three men.

The findings indicated that the internship period was believed to be of most use and benefit in the preparation of pre-service teachers for entering the profession. These early career teachers perceived the professional experiences from the practicum as provided the necessary link to the reality of teaching that they were looking for in their programmes of study.

The findings suggest that the practicum also leads to an awareness of the participants’ vocational identity as teachers, where values as educators are reasserted and they become more conscious of their transition from being university students to being ‘teachers’.
Furthermore, the participants noted that there were differences in the expectations and the reality of being a teacher. They highlighted these mismatches and included the pressures of answering to department heads and parents.
The findings revealed that participants from both countries believed that theoretically based courses with few references to the realities of teaching were of little relevance. After a few years of teaching experience, however, the Australian participants identified an awareness of the links between theoretical concepts taught at university and their own teaching practice.

The authors conclude that the perceptions held by Australian and Spanish participants of their early teaching careers are generally positive, realistic and self-demanding. The findings suggest that participants’ teacher identities after three years of teaching practice have evolved and revolve around pedagogical relationships. The authors argue that participants have become aware of the relationships between teachers and students and their reciprocal interactions. 

Updated: Dec. 09, 2018