The decision to teach: Why Orthodox Jewish day school teachers choose the profession
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Research has revealed that public school teachers enter the profession for mainly altruistic and intrinsic reasons (Kyriacou & Coulthard, 2000; Lai, Chan, Ko, & So, 2005; Burke, 2000). These reasons most often relate to an interest in working with children and an interest in teaching specific subject matter. While not as popular, the theme of changing society and making a difference in the world are also motivating factors to teach.;Research on the motivation to teach has proven to be essential to the recruitment and retention of teachers (Ingersoll, 2001). In order to recruit and retain teachers, researchers have argued the need to understand why they are even entering the profession. By understanding their motivations, policyholders can take measures to appeal to these motives and teacher education programs can be tailored to support them.;Teacher recruitment and retention poses a challenge in Jewish day schools as well (Ben-Avie & Kress, 2008), thus emphasizing the need to understand Jewish day school teachers' motivations. This study aimed to explore why Jewish day school teachers choose the profession and the factors that influence their decision. Understanding their motivations can help the Jewish educational sector make informed decisions that will aid 2 in teacher recruitment and retention and will lend perspective to the inner motives of those who are hired to educate Jewish children.;A mixed methodology design was incorporated in order to collect quantitative and qualitative data on the aforementioned research questions. A questionnaire that included Likert-style questions was distributed, from which overall themes and influences in the decision to teach emerged. In addition, eighteen in-depth interviews of pre- and inservice teachers provided deeper insight into motivations to teach and brought additional issues facing Jewish educators, to surface. Findings revealed that while motivations to teach are similar to public school teachers, religion plays an integral role in the decision. Influences on the decision to teach, the role of religion in the decision, perceptions of teaching status, and reflections on the realities of teaching, all posed valuable insight into the motivations of Jewish day school teachers.
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