Many primary teachers are inspired to enter the profession either by their childhood teachers or by the achievements of their own offspring, research has found. A study by Roehampton university asked teachers at six primaries to name their reasons for choosing to teach. Many said that they had enjoyed working with children from an early age. But others only began to consider a career in teaching after having children of their own.
Dorothy, a Year 3 teacher quoted in the study, said: "I've got two children. When they were at primary school, I used to volunteer to help out. It was a teacher there that really encouraged me to go into teaching."
Sharon, a Year 6 teacher, said: "When I had my own children and they came to this school, I decided to help them out in their classroom. I wanted my own classroom with a group of children I could take forward in their learning."
Teaching was also a convenient choice for those with children. Many of the female teachers admitted that the working hours were a significant draw.
But many also felt a strong sense of mission, seeing teaching as a means of serving society. Christine, a headteacher, said: "It was either being a teacher or a police officer."
Another, younger teacher spoke of having worked as a volunteer teacher in India. She said: "It was very rural, very poor. They literally sat at a desk and recited things. I really want to teach creatively and be able to take advantage of all the resources that we have." Others were inspired by a good teacher from their schooldays.
Primary Teacher Commitment and the Attractions of Teaching, by Geoff Troman and Andrea Raggl