HomeThe Asia-Pacific Education Researchervol. 21 no. 2 (2012)

Still Seeking for an “Iron Bowl”? Pre-service Teachers’ Journeys of Career Choice in Taiwan

I-fang Chung | Yi-cheng Huang

Discipline: Education



Currently in Taiwan, there are more than fifty thousand pre-service teachers who are unable to find a teaching position at school. This has become a social problem that deserves close attention. The paper reports on an exploratory, longitudinal study that analyzes and interprets the evolution of pre-service teachers’ motives for choosing the job as elementary school teachers as well as their career expectation and adaptations. It further explores the factors that lead to the imbalance of teacher demand and supply. The study covers a span of two years, adopting focus group interviews as the main research tool. Findings reveal that extrinsic motives play a dominant role in participants’ choice of entering the teaching profession. Their expectation of becoming a teacher at school diminishes over the years with decreasing teacher demand. In addition to persisting in obtaining a teaching position, various other adaptations were made by the participants. The study contends that the government should strengthen the teacher evaluation mechanism on the one hand and enable the free market mechanism to function on the other.