Who Would be a Teacher?

Barbara Lee, Margaret Spear, Katy Gould

01 October 2000

Why do some people go into teaching? What makes teaching an enjoyable life-long career for some, while others leave the profession? This review of research investigates those aspects of teaching that contribute to, and detract from, the appeal of a teaching career for both prospective and practising teachers.

The aim of this review was to examine research that has explored the factors influencing the motivation, morale and job satisfaction experienced by teachers, and the effect of teachers' motivation and morale upon their career moves.

The report presents the findings from a wide range of research carried out since 1988, the date of the Education Reform Act. It covers the following areas:

  • reasons why people choose teaching as a career;
  • perceptions of teaching by prospective teachers;
  • teachers' reasons for seeking promotion;
  • teachers' reasons for leaving or staying in teaching;
  • factors affecting teacher motivation and morale;
  • factors affecting teachers' job satisfaction.

Discussion of the findings is complemented by suggestions for future research.