10 SES 11 C, Teachers' Perceptions and Insights
The present study examined the career choice narratives of mothers of children with special needs, who work as special education teachers in various educational settings. The purpose of the study was to investigate the career motivations of these mothers. The present study is part of a series of studies that focus on narratives of career choice in special education of various minority groups.
Most studies indicated similar motivations for choosing teaching as a career: Some intrinsic (e.g., self fulfillment, ideology), some extrinsic (e.g., occupational status and security, vacations, scholarships for teacher training) and some altruistic (e.g., wishing to support children, social involvement and agency of change of the educational system). In addition, some researchers suggested reasons such as critiquing the educational system and wishing to improve it, organizing motivations (wishing to regulate behavior based on rules), and motivations of control (e.g., Sivan, 2014; Arnon et al., 2012). Additional reasons for choosing a teaching career were the influence of significant teachers, prior experience with working with children, and viewing teaching as a valued occupation. Henoch and colleagues (2015) found that vocational interests (especially social interests) were the most important predictor for choosing a teaching career, although these motivations may also be highly influenced by cultural and economic contexts (Feng, 2012; Suryani et al., 2016). Watt and Richardson (2007) suggested an expectancy-value motivational model to investigate reasons for choosing a teaching career.
Motivation to become a special education teacher as a career choice shares some similarities with the aforementioned motivations (a synthesis of intrinsic, extrinsic and altruistic factors). However, students who choose to enroll in special education teacher training programs report that specific factors such as personal (e.g., learning disabilities) of familial difficulties (e.g., immigration), or personal or familial experiences with people with disabilities were their primary motivations (Hausstätter, 2007; Hillel Lavian, 2013). In addition, Hillel Lavian (2013) found that some students chose to become special education teachers due to personal traits and abilities (e.g., creativity and flexibility, commitment, patience, sensitivity and empathy), or as a stepping stone towards studying various types of expressive therapy. However, little is known about motivations of mothers of children with special needs, a unique group among those who chose to become special education teachers. Based on our experience over the last 19 years of teaching in special education departments in teacher training colleges, we observed that every year, some of the students were mothers of such children.
Our research question was: What were the motivations of mothers of children with special needs for choosing a teaching career in special education?
Arnon, R., Frenkel, P., & Rubin, E. (2015). Me? A teacher?! Consdierations concerning the choice of teaching as a profession. Dapim, 59, 17-44. [Hebrew]. Bradley, J. G. (2000). Male elementary teacher candidates: A narrative perspective on their initial career choice. McGill Journal of Education, 35(2), 155. Feng, Y. (2012). Teacher career motivation and professional development in special and inclusive education: perspectives from Chinese teachers. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 16(3), 331-351. Hausstätter, R. S. (2007). Students’ reasons for studying special needs education: challenges facing inclusive education. Teacher Development, 11(1), 45-57. Henoch, J. R., Klusmann, U., Lüdtke, O., & Trautwein, U. (2015). Who becomes a teacher? Challenging the “negative selection” hypothesis. Learning and Instruction, 36, 46-56. Hille Lavian, R. (2013). 'You and I Will Change the World': Student Teachers' Motives for Choosing Special Education. World Journal of Education, 3(4), 10-25. Kelchtermans, G. (1999). Teaching career: Between burnout and fading away? Reflections from a narrative and biographical perspective. Understanding and preventing teacher burnout, 176-191. Kelchtermans, G. (2009). Career stories as gateway to understanding teacher development. In M. Bayer et al. (Eds.), Teachers’ Career Trajectories and Work Lives. Professional Learning and Development in Schools and Higher Education, 3, 29-47. Sivan, A. (2014). "And you chose life" – the life story as a motivation in choosing woring with adolescents at risk. Menituk Leshiluv, 18, 65-92 [Hebrew]. Suryani, A., Watt, H. M., & Richardson, P. W. (2016). Students' motivations to become teachers: FIT-Choice findings from Indonesia. International Journal of Quantitative Research in Education, 3(3), 179-203. Watt, H. M., & Richardson, P. W. (2007). Motivational factors influencing teaching as a career choice: Development and validation of the FIT-Choice Scale. The Journal of experimental education, 75(3), 167-202.
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