University Of Tasmania
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Teachers’ career decisions: Perspectives on choosing teaching careers, and on staying or leaving

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 14:06 authored by Loene HowesLoene Howes, Goodman-Delahunty, J
For early-career teachers in particular, teacher attrition and retention has been the focus of international research. We aimed to provide a more holistic view of teacher attrition and retention in an Australian educational context by including the perspectives of a cross-section of current and former teachers with various lengths of teaching service. We explored the similarities and differences in considerations about past career decision points reported by the teachers in different groups. Australian teachers (N = 133) who were staying in teaching (n = 59), or undecided about staying (n = 34), and former teachers who had changed careers (n = 40) completed free-response questionnaires about their decisions to choose and to stay in (or to leave) teaching careers. Thematic analysis suggested that three overarching themes were salient across all three groups of teachers at different decision points in the career. These overarching themes were personal fulfilment, practical considerations, and lack of alternatives or barriers to change. Strategies to retain teachers should aim to foster collegial relationships, address workload, respond to needs for job security or flexibility, and provide new opportunities within teaching.


Publication title

Issues in Educational Research








School of Social Sciences


Western Australian Institute for Educational Research Inc.

Place of publication


Rights statement

Copyright 2015 Western Australian Institute for Educational Research Inc. and the authors

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Other law, politics and community services not elsewhere classified

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