Teachers' career decisions: Perspectives on choosing teaching careers, and on staying or leaving

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Abstract

Teacher attrition and retention has been the focus of international research. Teachers (N = 133) who were staying in teaching (n = 59), or undecided about staying (n = 34), and former teachers who had changed careers (n = 40) completed free-response questionnaires about their decisions to choose and to stay in (or to leave) teaching careers. Four-fifths (79.57%) of current teacher respondents had considered or were considering career change, including two-thirds (67.80%) of teachers who had subsequently decided to stay. Thematic analysis of free responses suggested that salient reasons for both choosing and staying in teaching were personal fulfilment and practical considerations. Barriers to change were implicated in staying. Negative aspects of teaching, practical considerations, and need for change were important both for considering and actually leaving. Retention strategies should address workload, foster positive and supportive relationships, and provide diverse opportunities within teaching.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-35
Number of pages18
JournalIssues in Educational Research
Volume25
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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