‘The Dream and Aspirations of Teaching’: English Teachers’ Perspectives on Sustaining the Motivation to Teach

Hyde Park Press
Publication Type:
Journal Article
English in Australia, 2019, 54, (2), pp. 5-23
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
This paper reports on selected findings from a research study with 211 secondary school English teachers in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. A questionnaire was utilised to gather evidence of teachers' perspectives on teaching, including the continued salience of their initial motivations for entering the teaching profession and their career intentions. The relationship between the durability of initial intrinsic and altruistic motivations to teach and teachers' commitment to the profession over time has been implicated in career foreclosure and teacher turnover. This research investigated the relationship between teacher motivation, levels of satisfaction with teaching and career intentions for 'invested teachers' (Glazer, 2017) with ten or more years of service. The findings confirmed the predominance of altruistic and intrinsic motivations in the initial decision to become a teacher. One third of experienced teachers had not maintained their original motivations. More than one third were 'unsure', 'dissatisfied' or 'very dissatisfied' with teaching. Twenty per cent reported that they would only be teaching for another one to five years. The findings identify a range of extrinsic factors influencing declining teacher motivation, wellbeing, perceived self-efficacy, job satisfaction and early exit career intentions. The data point to flagging levels of motivation as risk indicators for teachers' decision-making about their future in the profession.
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