Profiles of professional engagement and career development aspirations among USA preservice teachers

Helen Margaret Gilchrist Watt, Paul William Richardson, Kari Wilkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Future teachers have been found to exhibit different profiles of professional engagement and career development aspirations (PECDA) even at the very outset of their teaching career (Watt Richardson, 2008). Highly engaged persisters, highly engaged switchers, and lower engaged desisters differed in their initial motivations for having chosen teaching as a career, perceptions about the profession, career intentions, and demographic characteristics. The present study builds upon and extends this line of research by exploring profiles with a sample from the United States, a culturally similar, yet different setting. Among 246 elementary and secondary preservice teachers from 2 midwestern universities, 3 distinct clusters were identified: highly engaged persisters, lower engaged desisters, and classroom engaged careerists. Teaching motivations and perceptions were compared for the 3 types, as well as changing satisfaction ratings from the start until completion of their teaching qualification; patterns were enriched using qualitative responses from open-ended survey questions. Explanations are advanced in terms of cultural differences in teaching career structures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23 - 40
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Research
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Cite this