than one in ten to teach
nine per cent of science and mathematics undergraduates
are interested in going into secondary school teaching,
according to a survey by the school of education.
identified larger starting salaries, more opportunities
for progression and greater freedom in teaching methods
as measures to make teaching more attractive.
than one in ten of the 698 first-year students questioned
expressed any interest in becoming a teacher. While 52%
were undecided on any career, 39% had made career choices
which excluded teaching. Of the physicists within the
group, only four per cent placed teaching amongst their
possible career choices.
factors influencing career choice also came under scrutiny.
First-years are not long out of school, and their own
experiences there, of teachers and fellow pupils, figured
highly in their views of teaching as a career. The biggest
positive influence on students was their own experience
of good teaching, and expectations of poor behaviour from
pupils had the greatest negative impact.
with career prospects and salary the second most
negative influence these are the areas where students
judged policy initiatives to be potentially most effective
in improving recruitment. The survey found some support
for the theory that those with lower academic achievement
choose to go into teaching. When aggregate A level scores
were averaged out, those interested in teaching had a
score of 12.5 points, compared to 13.7 for the two other
director Jim Donnelly said: "It seems unlikely that what
might be called cosmetic' strategies, such as advertisements,
slogans and celebrity endorsements, would influence these
students, whose views are based firmly in their own experience.
appear to be making clear long-term judgements about teaching
as a career in terms of its rewards, financial and otherwise.
However, if potential teachers could be convinced that
they would be supported in dealing with disruption in
the classroom, and be assured through salary and career
progression prospects that teaching was a career for the
ambitious, a greater proportion would probably be prepared
to attempt it."
research, funded by the Standing Conference on Studies
in Education, is now conducting a similar survey with
third-year undergraduates to see how perceptions change
as memories of school grow less immediate.