G S T logo

(How) Does Gender Matter in the Choice of a STEM Teaching Career and Later Teaching Behaviours?

Helen M. G. Watt, Paul W. Richardson, Christelle Devos


This study examines beginning women and men STEM [Science, Technology, and Mathematics] secondary teachers' initial motivations for undertaking a teaching career and their subsequent self-reported teaching style during early career. The sample was recruited from four Australian teacher education university programs during their first year. Those STEM teachers who qualified and were subsequently in their early career teaching (N = 245, 53% women at Time 1; N = 96, 58% women at Time 2) were compared with non-STEM secondary teachers recruited at the same two timepoints (N = 619, 70% women at Time 1; N = 258, 76% women at Time 2) from the same programs. Motivations were assessed using the Factors Influencing Teaching (FIT)-Choice scale; teaching style was assessed using the Teaching Style Scale. Gender differences in initial motivations appeared similar for women and men among STEM and non-STEM specialisms, indicated by no significant interaction effects between gender and specialism. More positive motivational profiles were evident for women than men, and for non-STEM than STEM teachers. In particular, men and STEM teachers were more motivated than women and non-STEM teachers, to choose teaching as a fallback career, which had consequences for subsequently reported higher negativity towards students during their early career. Our findings suggest implications for enhancing the effectiveness of efforts to recruit and support future STEM teachers who will be central to future students' STEM learning and engagement.



STEM teacher motivations; Teacher gender; Teaching style

Full Text: