Recruiting and Retaining Teachers: Understanding Why Teachers Teach

By Anne D. Cockburn; Terry Haydn | Go to book overview

Introduction and acknowledgements

This book was written at a time of teacher shortage in the UK but goes far beyond that. It was specifically written for LEA and government policy makers and headteachers but it is intended for a far broader readership. We are confident in writing such sentences, for our researches into teacher supply demonstrate that it is an issue which touches many aspects of school and, indeed, community life. On examining how the crises in the teacher supply and demand balance arose, it is clear that the problem is multifaceted and, although effective strategies are available for addressing the problem, they frequently have not been applied. This, in our view, is not because they are expensive and complex. Rather, we argue, there has been insufficient understanding of teachers as people - with lives, aspirations and an abundance of fine qualities - and the situations in which they work. Neither, we suggest, has there been sufficient insight into what individuals seek in their working lives and the potential of teaching as a profession. We do not claim to have all the answers but, in writing this book, we discovered much and, on reading it, we hope that you will develop a broader understanding of teaching, schools and the teaching profession.

The negative aspects of being a teacher in the UK at the present time have been widely explored and documented over the past few years (see Chapter 1) but the factors that persuade many people to go into teaching and stay teaching in the face of these deterrents has been less extensively researched. Listening to the voices of teachers and trainee teachers is one way of gaining a better understanding about what helps them enjoy their work. Finding out what young people at universities and in sixth forms who are considering teaching as a career hope to get out of life in teaching is another way of providing better intelligence for those who shape the quality of teachers' working lives.

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