Selecting Teaching As A Career Education Essay

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This paper tries to uncover the long and short term determinants of selecting teaching as a career As an individual thinking of pursuing teaching as a new career choice, it's important for me to understand why so many have chosen this profession when the appeal for teaching seems to be declining. To help me looked at choosing teaching as a career I interviewed 30 current teachers and 4 current students to get their views of teaching as a career choice. A total of 34 individuals were asked Why did they choice teaching as their choice of career. The study concludes that the key determinants of an individual's likelihood to teach are their family background, the factors they valued in a job and their perceptions of teaching.

This paper presents the survey findings on student teachers' range of reasons for choosing teaching as a

career and discusses those differences between cohorts of different programmes.The overall purpose of this study is to uncover the long and short term factors that motivate people to go into teaching and more specifically elementary school teaching as a career. As we all know education as a lifelong process that must have a striving force behind it. Teaching is a way of shaping the young minds of today for tomorrow. It's a challenging task but there are some who chose to make that challenge a career. Obvious reasons why many make this career chose includes: summers off, national holidays off, and 2 weeks off during Christmas and New Year season. Those incentives of having days off seems rewarding but could you be happy as teacher - because you would accomplish nothing.

Some results of studies agree that the motivations for pursuing a career in teaching range from altruistic to extrinsic (Kreci & Grmek, 2005; Stuart, 2000; Yong, 1995). Moreover, those who are committed to teaching are more likely to be motivated by intrinsic rewards. On the contrary, those who have never seriously considered teaching are more likely to be motivated by extrinsic rewards. The overall purpose of the study is to uncover the long and short term determinants or factors that motivate people to go into teaching and more specifically elementary school teaching as a career.

Negative perceptions of material benefits such as teachers' pay and professional status are not likely to put off those who are committed to teaching, but they are potential deterrents to those who have no inclination to teach (See, 2004). What motivates individual to go into teaching is very crucial. Motivation is a vital force that drives one's behavior toward initiating and carrying out the tasks (Recto, 2005) that go with the teacher education program. Thus, understanding the reasons why people enter the teaching profession and what makes them stay or leave is essential, particularly, if success in maintaining a stable teaching force (Soh, 1998) that contributes to teacher education quality and excellence is most desired. Such understanding can expectedly generate valuable insights into contextual, behavioral, and structural dimensions of teaching. The contextual dimension refers to the teacher education environment and milieu. The behavioral dimension consists of the motivations and attitudinal dispositions of students and other stakeholders in regards to teacher education. The structural dimension refers to policy mechanism and options, both at the macro and

micro levels, which govern the overall operation of teacher education

institutions in the country.

A questionnaire based upon evidence collected via preliminary focus group and e-mail interviews from dozens of colleagues in Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Founded by seven school teachers in 1922 and today with over 80,000 members worldwide approximently 78% of the membership are in teaching. My paper will also identify the key social and economic determinants of whether to be a teacher or not. So I poised the question am in teaching because,' i know just what i want to say', i haven't considered teaching like this before. where do i start? most of all the future (meaning the child of today because i was one in that time) motivates me to teach and the opportunities and constraints under which i learn or learned and other learn. there is more but because i have to lesson plan for tomorrow classes. thanks i will get to you for moreDo the kids and yourself a favor and get a different jobWhen I was young, I always knew that I wanted to become a teacher someday. When I played, I would often gather my dolls together and pretend to teach them how to do math problems or how to read a book. As I grew older, my desire to become an ESL teacher became clearer as I did some volunteer teaching overseas and in the United States. As I look back on my reasons for becoming a teacher, there are three reasons that stand out. They are: my love for the English language, my innate interest in how people learn, and my desire to help other people .

Burnout is experienced by thousands of teachers across America each year. It is characterized by a loss of energy, enthusiasm for the job and a feeling of helplessness to change the situation. It causes high turnover rates and may pose a threat to the educational system.

Estimates indicate that up to 50 percent of all new teachers leave the teaching profession within 5 years. For some this is merely a personal preference, but for many it is directly related to teacher burnout. Young teachers enter the educational field with a desire to make a difference in the lives of children, but soon discover the enormous burden of meeting state and federal mandates is nearly impossible to achieve with the limited resources available to the teacher and students.


American schools are expected to experience a severe teacher shortage by the year 2010, when the majority of today's veteran teachers will reach retirement age. These teachers have stuck to the their commitment to teaching despite the ever increasing demands and expectations of teachers. Without younger teachers who are willing and able to combat teacher burnout the nation will face a tumultuous period of teacher turnover and children will suffer from the combination of inexperienced teachers and teachers who are actively seeking a change in career as a result of the rapid burnout rate.


Teacher burnout results from a wide variety of reasons. The work of a teacher rarely stops at the end of the day. The expectation to take home work and to spend evenings and weekends correcting and assessing student work, preparing lessons, and gathering resources for the classroom takes its toll. The lack of resources and financial support provided to schools often results in a lack of classroom material, inadequate textbooks and generally inferior working conditions. State and federal mandates for student achievement and rigorous state testing require an increasingly wider breadth and depth of knowledge across subject areas. Administrators, often experiencing burnout themselves, struggle to meet the changing needs of teachers and are limited by resources and finances.


The general public often is not aware of the enormous pressure a teacher experiences and is quick to criticize job performance based of a notion of what it thinks teachers should do. There is a perception that teachers enjoy an easy life with multiple vacations and a short work day. In many areas, teachers are perceived as over paid. A lack of respect permeates the community as it fails to respond to the need of teachers. Many erroneously assume that teacher burnout is caused by a lack of discipline in the classroom and fail to recognize that the majority of teachers who suffer from burnout would list students as the last item on a list of contributing factors.


Efforts towards prevention of teacher burnout need to focus on providing the financial resources to schools and provide adequate support for new teachers. Providing assistance in large classrooms and access to a wide range of intervention techniques, and the resources to implement them, will create shared responsibility for student achievement and alleviate the pressure and isolation teachers experience. Increased public awareness of the difficulties teachers face, solid parental involvement programs, and a decrease in extraneous duties like bus and recess duties will free teachers to focus their time and energy on their primary goal: teaching. Providing time for teacher collaboration and planning within the structure of the school day will allow teachers to work together to plan and implement the best possible program for children.

Determinants of teaching as a career

Beng Huat See1

University of York, email:

Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, University of Manchester, 16-18 September 2004


This paper tries to uncover the long and short term determinants of selecting teaching as a career. A questionnaire based upon evidence collected via preliminary focus group and e-mail interviews was employed to identify the key social and economic determinants of the individual's choice whether to be a teacher or not. A total of 1,845 students and trainees from four tertiary institutions in South-west England and Wales were involved. The study differs from much research in this area by including an explicit comparison between students intending to be teachers and those intending to pursue other careers. Logistic regression analysis was used to analyse the data collected. The study concludes that the key determinants of an individual's likelihood to teach are their family background, the factors they valued in a job and their perceptions of teaching. Financial incentives, although effective in getting those already interested in teaching to take up training, are limited in their impact. Those who are committed to teaching are more likely to be motivated by intrinsic rewards. Those who have never seriously considered teaching, on the other hand, are more likely to be motivated by extrinsic rewards, and to report a negative experience of school. Negative perception of teachers' pay and their job status are not likely to put off those who are committed to teaching but is a potential deterrent to those who have no inclination to teach.

Financial incentives to train have little influence on those already committed to other careers. In the long run policies could consider the personal characteristics of individuals. For example, publicity campaigns to recruit new teachers could highlight the extrinsic values of teaching. Currently they invariably highlight only the intrinsic appeal of the job. To be maximally effective such campaigns should also highlight those factors which people actually consider important in their career choice. This study reminds us that merely introducing financial incentives to recruit teachers is not enough. Individual decisions to teach depend, to a large extent, on the values attached to a job and perceptions of teaching.


The aim of this paper is to identify important determinants of becoming a teacher. It examines the influence of demographic background, the values people attached to a job and their perceptions of teaching on their career choice. Of interest is the impact of financial incentives for initial teacher training recruitment on people's choice of teaching as a career. The study involved undergraduates, both teacher trainees and others, and postgraduates, both teacher trainees and those on other professional training routes, in South-west England and Wales.

Many current policies to increase teacher supply have assumed that teacher numbers can be increased by monetary incentives, such as better pay and other financial incentives to recruitment. While these may be effective in the short term, there is evidence that as many as 40% who enter training do not continue to teaching anyway (STRB, 1999). Moreover, these measures are largely based on a 'universal' human capital theory of motivation, which does not adequately explain the under-representation of men and people from certain social class and ethnic groups in teaching. Evidence from previous studies suggests that peoples' choice of career is, to a large extent, influenced by their socio-economic and cultural background and by a relatively permanent view of what is 'appropriate' for them (Gorard and Rees, 2002). These social determinants differ from economic and practical factors in being longer term and, therefore, less amenable to a short-term technical fix. They have so far not been explored in previous studies on teacher shortages. For these reasons, this study examines the influence of social-economic background, as determined by parents' occupations and educational qualifications, sex, ethnicity and type of school attended, each of which might be regarded as formative of their values and norms. Geographical mobility and whether individuals had close family members and friends who are/were teachers were also considered, as was the extent to which current financial inducements in teacher training had an impact on teacher trainees' decision to go into teaching.

Besides these social determinants, an individual's decision to go into teaching or not is also believed to be influenced by what they value in a job and their perceptions of teaching (Kyriacou et al., 2002). If we are able to identify those factors which individuals consider important in their choice of career, and highlight the factors in teaching which match these, then we might hope to persuade better qualified students to consider teaching. As Johnson and Birkeland (2003) noted, it is essential to understand people's concerns and responses, otherwise policymakers and practitioners will continue to introduce what they believe to be promising recruitment and retention strategies with no real effect.

To attract and retain new teachers, a comprehensive strategy that addresses the full range of new teachers' concerns is required. In this way, under-represented groups such as men, ethnic minority groups and those in shortage subjects can be effectively targeted. This involves a consideration of the career choices made by prospective and potential teachers, as well as by those who have rejected the possibility of teaching. The views of the latter are key in acting as a corrective to the majority of relevant research in this area based only on consideration of teachers and potential teachers - for example, Reid and Caudwell (1997), Bloomfield and Selinger (1994), Fraser et al. (1998), Smithers (1990), Lock (1993), Newson (1993) and Heafford and Jennison (1998). More recent studies on teacher supply by Robinson and Smithers (1998) and Howson (1999) were concerned with student teachers' reasons for not taking up teaching posts. These studies focused on the motivations of those who had previously made the decision to become school teachers. Few studies have investigated individuals' reasons for not choosing teaching as a career in the first place. Even fewer studies looked into barriers to entering teaching (e.g. Wellington, 1982; Smithers and Hill, 1989; Finch, 1986). The views of undergraduates who have yet to take up teacher training and who might be attracted by the incentives are usually not sought in UK educational research. This could easily give a very misleading impression about why individuals do not become teachers. In general, the majority of the educational participation literature is based, for very pragmatic reasons, on studies of existing participants, often in the same institution as the researcher. This can give misleading results about the causes of non-participation (Gorard and Rees 2002). Non-participants in any educational endeavour are, ironically, also routinely excluded from research about their non-participation.


The study involved 1,845 undergraduate and postgraduate students in four institutions in South Wales and South West England. Four main subject groups (arts and humanities, social sciences, maths and science and vocational) were identified to represent the broad range of undergraduates. Vocational courses included law, accountancy, business studies and sports and leisure management. The overall response rate is 82%2. The sample was selected after a re-analysis of all available and historical statistics relating to teacher supply and retention in England and Wales, and of the annual UCAS census data (further details in See et al. 2004).

A self-administered questionnaire survey was used to identify the important factors influencing people's decisions to go into teaching. The instrument was designed and piloted following a series of preliminary interviews (e-mail and focus group) with potential and trainee teachers. It gathered students' retrospective life histories, and their reported career decisions, plans and motivations, placing the latter within the context of their longer-term educational and career trajectory.

Logistic regression analysis with forward stepwise entry of predictor variables was used to predict/explain the individual's intention to be a teacher or not (dichotomous) using all background variables, factors influencing their career choice and their perceptions to teaching as likely predictors. The model is 'hierarchical', entering explanatory variables into the model in life order from birth (e.g. family background) through initial education (e.g. where lived at age 16) to the present (e.g. subject studied at university). In this way, each step can only work with the variance left unexplained from previous steps. The final step adds variables for awareness of financial incentives and other recent policies to encourage teacher recruitment.

Cross-tabulation procedures were also used to demonstrate the relationship between these predictor variables and individuals' career decision. Because of the large sample size (Pallant, 2001) and because the population was not a random sample, a test of significance would not be relevant here (Gorard, 2003). Therefore, the 'effect' size was used to standardise differences between groups (Coe, 2002).


This section is divided into three parts. The first part examines the influence of demographic characteristics on an individual's decision to teach. The second part looks at the influence of career choice factors, such as the values people attached to a job and their perceptions of teaching. The third part analyses the influence of ITT (initial teacher training) recruitment financial incentives on career choice. The respondents were classified into three groups based on their responses to the question on their career decision:

Those who have considered teaching and wanted to be teachers also known as confirmed teachers (30%, N= 550)

Those who have seriously considered but decided not to teach, or marginal teachers (34%, N= 621)

Those who have never realistically considered teaching and would not want to teach, or non-teachers (37%, N= 674)

Background characteristics and decision to go into teaching

The three groups mean that the regression analysis is multinomial. For simplicity of presentation, I consider here only some of the possible comparisons, focusing on the differences between confirmed teachers and others. The analysis was robust in revealing that the background characteristics that explain most of the differences between groups were an individual's sex, ethnicity, academic achievements and parental background (Table 1). The coefficients in the table give an indication of how likely someone is to be a teacher or non-teacher. For example, a male is, ceteris paribus, only 10% as likely as a female to be a confirmed teacher rather than a non-teacher, and those who described themselves as White are almost twice (1.8 times) as likely as non-White to be teachers than non-teachers.

Table 1 - Background characteristics differences between teachers and others

Background characteristics



ï‚· Male

ï‚· Female





ï‚· White

ï‚· Non-white




Mothers' qualifications

ï‚· No qualification

ï‚· O-level

ï‚· A-level

ï‚· Degree and higher,

ï‚· Don't know & no response







Entry qualification

ï‚· A-level

ï‚· A-level and vocational

ï‚· Access

ï‚· Unclassifiable






Degree result

ï‚· 2:1 and above

ï‚· 2:2 and below

ï‚· Don't know and no response





Those whose mothers have an A-level and equivalent or higher qualification are less likely (0.8) to become teachers than those whose mother's qualifications are unknown. In general, those with less educated parents are more likely to choose teaching as a career. Those with or expecting a degree graded at 2:2 or below are more likely to become teachers than those with a 2:1 or above, and those for whom no degree result is known. While a degree is now almost a requirement for teacher status, it is generally the least qualified of those eligible who are most likely to be teachers.

Analysis by demographic characteristics shows that students' decision to teach or not was also found to be related to their subject of study at university. For example, social science students were two and a half times more likely than those doing science and maths to choose teaching as a career. Vocational students in courses other than education were, unsurprisingly, the least likely to have considered teaching. This finding is consistent with that of the Institute for Employment Studies, which found that those in financial subjects, economics, science or law had a lower propensity to enter teaching (House of Commons, 1997, Appendix 5).

Career choice factors and the decision to go into teaching

Careers choice factors refer to those characteristics people look for in a job, and their perceptions of teaching as a career. These are withheld from the model above because they are a current snapshot rather than a reliable retrospective account, and because the causal model linking choice factors and revealed choice is unclear. The logistic regression analysis shows that we can predict/explain with 90% accuracy who are likely to be teachers rather than non-teachers than a non-teacher once these factors are included in the model.

Table 2 shows the career choice factors that explained differences between groups. The factors are listed in descending order starting from the one which explains the most difference between confirmed teachers and non-teachers. These factors are the chance to share knowledge, job satisfaction, length of holidays and the chance to continue in the subject of interest. The coefficient for 'chance to share knowledge' means that those who indicate that the chance to share knowledge as quite important are 3.4 times more likely to be teachers than those who did not think it is important. Similarly those who indicate chance of share knowledge as very important are 3.42 (11.6 times) more likely to be teachers than those who think it is not.

Table 2 - Choice factor differences between teachers and others

Factors influencing career choice


Chance to share knowledge


Job satisfaction


Length of holidays


Chance to continue interest in own subject


Job security




Working conditions


Status of job


Promotion opportunities


Intellectual stimulation.


Note: these choice factors were rated in importance on scale from 1 to 3 (most important)

Table 2 shows that confirmed teachers differed from non-teachers in the values they attached to a job. While confirmed teachers were more likely to report being motivated by intrinsic factors, such as job satisfaction, the desire to share knowledge and to continue interest in their subject, non-teachers were more likely to value extrinsic factors like salary, promotion opportunities, job status, good working conditions and intellectual stimulation. Other factors motivating confirmed teachers included job security and the length of holidays. These differences suggest that financial incentives, if properly applied, might have persuaded non-teachers to consider teaching as a career. Of course, there is also a danger for those already on vocational courses of rationalising their choice post hoc.

Analysis by subject groups indicates that social science students and teacher trainees were more likely to consider intrinsic factors as very important compared to maths and science and 'other' vocational students. Females were also more likely than males to regard these factors as very important. There was no difference between white and non-white. Maths and science and vocational students, on the other hand, were more likely than teacher trainees and social science students to regard extrinsic motivations, such as job status and public perception of job and salary as very important. This, perhaps, explains why students from some subject groups were less likely to want to teach. This is consistent with Smithers and Hill's (1989) study which found that mathematics and science students were less likely to regard such intrinsic motivation as important in their career decision. They were also more likely to perceive teaching as offering intrinsic rewards and person-oriented satisfaction than extrinsic reward. Mixed science and arts students, on the other hand, were more likely to be people-oriented, and hence more likely to be attracted to teaching.

The three important perceptions of teaching that explained most of the differences between teachers and non-teachers were job satisfaction, teachers' workload and career prospects (Table 3). Those who perceived teaching as rewarding were 4.5 times as likely as those who did not know or did not answer, and 4.52 (20 times) as likely as those who disagree to be confirmed teachers. Therefore, we might conclude that teaching appealed to confirmed teachers because they believed that teaching could offer them the values they looked for in a job. For example, confirmed teachers were more likely to perceive teaching as a rewarding career than their non-teacher counterparts. They tended to have a more positive perception of teaching. They were more likely to perceive teaching as offering job security, good career prospects and promotion opportunities. They were also more likely to agree that teaching offers the intellectual stimulation they looked for in a job. There is a danger of an element of tautology creeping into the model here. However, the same pattern also appears when the model is run with only that sub-sample who have yet to make a choice.

Table 3 - Perceptions of teaching which explain differences in career choice

Factors influencing career choice


Teaching is rewarding


Teachers' workload is heavy


Teaching has good career prospects


Teaching offers greater job security


Teaching allows use of academic knowledge


Teachers are underpaid


Better opportunities for promotion in teaching today


Teaching is lifestyle choice


Teaching is no longer a 9-5 job


Teachers' salaries are comparable


Teaching is high status profession


Teaching does not offer enough intellectual stimulation


Own experience in school gives negative perception


Note: these choice factors were rated in level of agreement on a scale from 1 to 3 (agree)

Teacher trainees and social science students were the most likely to have a positive perception of teaching, while maths and science and 'other' vocational students were the least likely. For example, maths and science and vocational students were more likely than teacher trainees to perceive teaching as lacking in career prospects and promotion opportunities, and a dead-end job. Maths and science students were also more likely than teacher trainees to report that teaching did not offer enough intellectual stimulation and stimulus to ambition. In general, confirmed teachers tended to have a positive experience of school. Those who had a negative perception of school as a result of their own experience were less likely to be teachers. Teaching did not appeal to non-teachers because they were less likely to perceive it as offering them the things they looked for in a job.

Negative perceptions, however, did not put off those who were interested in teaching. Confirmed teachers were, in fact, more likely than others to agree that teachers' workload was heavy and that teachers were underpaid. However, if negative perceptions of teaching involved matters that were important to individuals' career decisions, these could be a barrier. For example, non-teachers were more likely to rate career prospects and promotion opportunities as very important in their career choice, but were less likely to believe that teaching can offer these. A majority of students agreed that teachers' were underpaid and only 35% saw teaching as a high status job, but non-teachers were more likely to rate these factors as very important in the career choice. This suggests that negative perception of teachers' pay and their job status might not put off those who were committed to teaching but might be a deterrent to those who did not wish to teach.

Financial incentives and the decision to teach

Students were asked about their awareness of, and the importance of, financial incentives for teaching when deciding upon a career. When their responses were entered into the logistic model, the accuracy of predicting who were likely to be teachers and non-teachers increased from 90% to 94%, while that for confirmed and marginal teachers increased from 80% to 81%. This shows that financial incentives did not dramatically change individual career plans, although they did make it easier for those who wanted to teach to go into teaching. As determinants of career choice financial incentives were not as important as the values people attached to a job and their perceptions of teaching. They did not appear to have much influence in persuading non-teachers into teaching. These are people who have already made up their minds about their career paths and would not be likely to be persuaded otherwise. Those who reported that they were most likely to be persuaded by these incentives were marginal teachers (Table 4).

Table 4 - Reported influence of financial incentives


Career decisions


Confirmed teacher (n= 550)%

Marginal teacher (n=621) %

Non-teacher(n=674) %

Offer of training salaries




Promise of shortage subject bursaries




Exemption of fees




'Golden handcuff' deal




The two incentives that were likely to influence people's career choice were the offer of training salaries and the exemption from fees (Table 4). Shortage subject bursaries appeared to be the least effective (because they apply only to a subset of cases). Shortage subject bursaries and exemption of fees also did not seem to be effective in persuading maths and science students. Maths and science students were the most likely to be influenced by the 'golden handcuff' deal compared to students in other subject groups, and least likely to be influenced by the offer of training grants.

Male and female students did not appear to show any difference in their responses to these financial incentives. Exemption of fees appeared to be the most effective in influencing the career decisions of non-white students. These findings have (sometimes negative) implications for policies to increase ITT recruitment of ethnic minorities and those in shortage subjects.

Training grants and shortage subject bursaries were the two incentives most widely known among students and proved to be most influential in getting those who were interested in teaching take up teacher training. It was effective in attracting those who were already interested in teaching, but not those studying shortage subjects at university. Training salaries made it easier for some to give up their job, but certainly did not act as a 'carrot' to those who had not considered teaching. Many had applied for course entry before the schemes were announced, while others would have gone into training anyway, though much later, after they have saved up enough. This point was clearly illustrated by PGCE students in the focus group interviews.

English PGCE students:


 I umm.. I mean the thing is because I applied really early on the course really really really on and I knew that I wanted to do it, and I'd already taken a year to work to try to save some money up and so actually it's a surprise when the training salaries were announced.


 Like me I applied before the salary was introduced. I am like Anna, I applied to do the course and, and was accepted on the course before the training salary was announced so it was a nice surprise - and exactly the same I didn't entirely anticipate how much it probably would cost to do it, and I'm living at home. I mean I'm actually not even paying rent but I'm driving a car everyday and you know, so the little expense I didn't even anticipate before.


 I think because I sort of applied late on and I hadn't really thought about training salary didn't really you know haven't been keeping up with that so I wasn't sure, but I guess I just knew that because it's what I really wanted to do that I would have the support of my parents I guess so I knew that I'd be able to struggle through this with my parents. Just being in that lucky situation and you know…


I had the promise of that support from my mum and dad as well which, which because I didn't know when I was going to get this training salary because I live in the Isle of Man and they have different rules and everything, but I was just so relieved when I did…


 I would have just done it a lot later. I would have done it like 10 years down the line if they haven't offered the salary.


 I would have done it later as well (Jemma, and Edward would have done it later as well)


PGCE history students




I suppose the question to ask about our motivation is which of us was motivated by the 6,000 grant. I personally wasn't.


I wasn't because I applied before.


In retrospect, the same I didn't realise when I applied because I want to teach, but now knowing how much it cost….


Same here


I applied before. It didn't attract me, I only come in before…


I probably would perhaps have waited for two or three years until my children are older and I wouldn't need to pay childcare.


PGCE maths students also applied before the policy came into place and for some it did make it easier for them take up training.



I applied before.


So do I. (There was general agreement - students nodding their heads)


I was going to apply about 3 or 4 years ago. I actually got the application form, decided where I was going to apply to and I was earning about 14,000 pounds at that time, not a huge amount of money but then the grant that I would have got for doing the PGCE was 1,000 pounds and I thought that was stupid I'm going to run into so much debt, what's the point, you know, I'll put it off and I'll try something else, so I tried another couple of jobs umm, and then when I decided that I was going to reapply definitely at the time they said you'd get two and a half thousand pounds and then when they say you'll get 6 thousand pounds it all coincided with me applying, I said great really good, really good.


So you've already made the decision even before these policies came into being, but that policy did help you.

Fran and Catherine:

Oh yeah.

Lack of publicity regarding these incentives seemed to be an issue. Some comments made by students in their questionnaire returns with regards to these incentives included:

Throughout my degree course, no one actually came to persuade us to go into teaching.

3rd year Law student

I am interested in teaching but not sure how to get into it, whether my law degree is enough, and what kind of qualifications I would need.'

3rd year Law student

There should be more publicity if the incentives were to be effective. Many of us have not heard of these incentives at all. We are not aware of their existence.

2nd year Language & Communication student

I have considered teaching in the secondary sector but still undecided whether to go into teaching or not. The reason for my indecision is the lack of information available. I don't have any clue of what to do .

2nd year Accountancy student

Had no information about teaching, rather get a job.

Have not been given any information regarding being teacher.


This study reminds us that merely introducing financial incentives to recruit teachers is not enough. Individual decisions to teach depend, to a large extent, on the values attached to a job and perceptions of teaching. My findings reveal that there are fundamental differences between non-teachers and confirmed teachers as to what they look for in a job and in their perceptions of teaching. This study and that of Smithers and Hill (1989) revealed that those who had not considered teaching were more likely to perceive it as offering intrinsic rewards and person-oriented satisfaction but were more likely to be motivated by extrinsic rewards. On the other hand, those who go into teaching were not likely to stay on unless their experiences with students and the school, in general, are rewarding. Clear lessons emerge, not only for policymakers, but also principals and school administrators. Teaching must be seen as an attractive and financially rewarding career. At present, policy is too much focused on teacher training and the incentives and barriers to that, and the move from training to post. If these results are to be believed, then work to enhance the status and professional prestige of teachers in later career will be just as important, long-term, in attracting high-quality students to the profession.