student teachers, career motivations, perceptions, concerns, backgrounds, teacher education
This paper explores second-level student teachers reasons for choosing a career in teaching, their perceptions of the teaching career and their assessments of second-level education in the Republic of Ireland. It is the first study to use theoretically grounded and validated scales incorporating themes from the teacher education as well as the career-choice literature more generally (FIT-Choice model - Watt and Richardson, 2007) to measure the importance of different motivational factors in the Irish context. Its results show that many who enter second-level teacher education in Ireland do so with high expectations, high levels of confidence and commitment and laudable altruistic intentions which are, to a certain extent, balanced by a number of realistic concerns and critical perspectives on Irish second-level education. Implications for teacher education at policy and programme level are discussed.