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Many studies of teacher motivation have been conducted in different contexts over time. However, until fairly recently there has not been a reliable measure available to allow comparisons across samples and settings. This has resulted in an abundance of findings which cannot be directly compared or synthesised. The FIT-Choice instrument offers the opportunity to examine motivations across settings. The various studies in this book suggest that people who choose teaching as a career are motivated by a complex interaction of factors embedded within communities and cultural expectations, but seem generally to embrace a desire to undertake meaningful work that makes for a better society. Unlike some careers, where rewards are in the form of salary and status, by and large these factors are not strong drivers for people who want to become teachers. They want to work with children and adolescents, and believe they have the ability to teach.
The motivational profiles, perceptions about teaching, and background demographic characteristics of beginning English and Mathematics teachers were compared within an Australian sample, from the start of their teacher education studies (NT1 = 325; 213 English) until early career teaching (NT2 = 132; 89 English). Beginning Mathematics teachers tended to be older, to study through graduate-entry mode, were less likely to have chosen teaching as their first career, and more likely to have parents who worked in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. Relative to beginning English teachers, there was a higher proportion from non-English speaking and less advantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. Preservice English teachers tended to have parents who worked in education, were more highly motivated to enhance social equity, less motivated to teach as a “fallback” career, and regarded teaching as more demanding. From initial teacher education until early career teaching, the only significant change was that perceptions of teaching demand increased for beginning English and Mathematics teachers; overall, there were more similarities than differences between the motivations and perceptions of beginning English and Mathematics teachers.