To be or not to be a teacher?  Indonesian teacher education students' career plans

Year: 2012

Author: Suryani, Anne

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Indonesian teachers' salaries are the lowest among the World Education Indicators (WEI) countries and are also low compared to national income (UNESCO, 2006). Despite this, the workload of teachers in Indonesia is higher compared to the WEI and OECD countries (OECD, 2010). Why do many students still choose teacher education? Is it possible that they enter teacher education because of their personal interests; enjoy working with children; contribute to the society; or, because of lower tuition fees and less competitiveness in teacher education enrolment? The current research investigates Indonesian teacher education students' motivations for choosing a teaching career and their actual career plans.

Surveys were administered to 802 final-year teacher education students from two public and two private universities in Jakarta and Yogyakarta, Indonesia during October-November 2011. The motivation to become a teacher is measured by an Indonesian version of the FIT-Choice scale with some latent variables added such as religious commitment, second job, teacher education admission and tuition fees. The FIT-Choice framework adapted for this study is based on the expectancy-value theory of achievement motivation (Eccles [Parsons] et al., 1983; Wigfield & Eccles, 2000) which has established that people's choices, persistence and performance can be explained by their beliefs about how well they will perform an activity and the extent to which they value the activity.

The majority of participants (83%) had a teaching plan after graduation, a further 12% planned to teach temporarily and the remaining 5% planned to pursue non-teaching jobs. Making a social contribution and shaping future of children/adolescents were some of the main motivations for participants who chose a teaching career.

The study will enrich international and national literature, particularly on teacher education students' motivation for choosing a teaching profession in a developing country like Indonesia. Moreover, as the research uses an existing measure of teaching motivation (FIT-Choice) scale, the findings will contribute to the international comparisons of motivation for choosing a teaching career across different countries.