"Teaching…I can see myself not doing that forever": The beginning teacher experience

Schools Australia Tasmania

Data suggests beginning teachers in the Western world, having invested their time, finances and effort into their University education, resign from their chosen profession within three to five years at a rate of 25% to 40% (Smithers & Robinson, 2003).

This longitudinal investigation of the Bachelor of Teaching students enrolled at the Launceston Campus of the University of Tasmania in 2007 and 2008, gathered demographic data as well as information regarding the beliefs, perceptions and experiences, both before they commence their teaching education and after their required practicum. The study, as part of an ongoing PhD, attempts to discover what motivates these individuals to choose to teach, explore their perceptions of their place in the profession and to investigate what changes in perception may occur as a result of the classroom reality.

This study employed a combination of both quantitative and qualitative strategies (Burns, 2000) utilising a variety of data collection instruments; questionnaires, interviews, journal writing and classroom observations, yielding 81 completed questionnaires, 14 interview transcripts, 26 final questionnaires, 4 interviews, 6 classroom observations and 2 journal entries from the pre-service teachers. Results indicate that although Bachelor of Teaching students come from a broad range of backgrounds and demographics, as a cohort, they do show similarities in their motivations for choosing to teach and their initial pre-conceptions of the profession.

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