Drifters are just as dedicated

12th August 2005 at 01:00
People who drift into teaching because they have nothing else to do are just as committed to the profession as colleagues who view teaching as their vocation.

That was the finding of a government-funded study that divided teachers into those who join the profession "by design" and those who fall into it "by default".

Researchers from the Institute for Public Policy Research interviewed 73 secondary teachers to find out what attracted them, or dissuaded them, from teaching in challenging schools.

They defined the "default" teachers as including "older female teachers who remember being advised that teaching was a 'good job for women' and who opted for teaching over a career in banking and the civil service.

"This category also includes younger teachers who enter the profession after university and who do not know what else to do."

The "by design" teachers were those who had their hearts set on becoming teachers before they went to university or who had switched careers because they realised they would find teaching more satisfying.

The researchers found some default teachers were "less likely to articulate a positive account of teaching as a profession of value and which has real impact". But the default teachers were no less committed to their jobs.

The report noted that by-design and by-default teachers appeared to be evenly spread among the schools studied, half of which were struggling to improve exam grades.

Leader 14

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today