"Teacher, what do you want to be when you grow up? : a case study of career development in a New Zealand primary school : a thesis [i.e. research report] submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Educational Administration at Massey University
With the introduction of Tomorrow's Schools (New Zealand Government, 1988), a national appointments structure for teachers was removed by the Ministry of Education. The researcher was interested in investigating how teachers planned their careers, in the post 1988 era, and if there were any significant differences in career patterns between genders. Factors influencing teachers' initial choice of vocation, as well as positive and negative career motivations were also identified. The research methodology selected by the researcher was that of case study, and was conducted in my current school. Questionnaires provided the initial source of quantitative data. Interviews and field notes provided a wealth of qualitative data. The researcher was a participant observer and as Associate Principal had considerable tacit knowledge about the staff and current school policies. The research results identified four central themes; positive motivators for teaching, negative factors impacting on teachers, gender issues, and career planning methods. Positive motivators were all intrinsic in nature. A desire to work with children was the main reason respondents identified as the most important reason for choosing teaching as their first career. Significant positive career motivators included the teachers' own confidence and ability, desire for involvement in decision-making, and the need for change or greater motivation. External motivators such as salary or qualifications ranked the least important. The overriding importance of balancing home and school, family commitments, location and travel factors, and significance of holidays were key factors identified as negative influences on career planning or potential career barriers. A surprising factor in the study was the lack of significant differences in the career planning between male and female. In comparison the more relevant dimensions of differing career motivations based on women's age, generation, and family commitments were of far greater significance to the final research. Career planning is occurring in a variety of ways, the most significant identified by teachers was the support given by a role model or mentor, and career planning conducted at appraisal interviews. Issues identified in the discussion also address the importance of career planning, and whose responsibility it should be.