Initial Choices: Promising to Teach
by Judy Randi & Karen Zumwalt - 2017
This article explores the motivations of the 25 exemplar elementary, secondary English, and secondary math teachers at the time they chose to enter teaching either through New Jersey’s alternate route (AR) program or college-based (CB) programs in the state. The article presents data that reveal these teachers’ underlying reasons for embarking on a teaching career and the circumstances that led them to a particular pathway. Their reasons for choosing teaching as a career are characterized on a continuum from passion (altruism) to pragmatism (practical considerations). The article then compares demographic characteristics and motivational influences of each group. Although these new recruits chose different pathways, the reasons they provided for teaching seem to characterize a changing teacher workforce rather than reveal striking differences between pathways.
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