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Who becomes a teacher and why?

This paper reports on a comprehensive review of international evidence, synthesising the findings of some of the strongest empirical work on the main factors influencing people's decisions to be teachers or not. These studies highlighted three main motivating factors: intrinsic, altruistic and extrinsic, although the order of the ranking varies with subjects, phase of education and gender of teachers. Research on motivation to teach is also often focused only on those who have already made the decision to teach. Therefore, policies based on these studies might only be attracting those who are already persuaded. This paper argues that to improve recruitment of under-represented groups (e.g., males and STEM subject graduates), attention should instead be on those who might otherwise have gone into teaching, but have not. For this group, the  review found that it is the status of the profession, the working environment and salary over the long term that are important.

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