Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Louann Bierlein Palmer

Second Advisor

Dr. Patricia Reeves

Third Advisor

Dr. Agnes Quinones


Teachers' motivations, pre-service teachers' motivations, teaching career choice


Teachers’ salaries in the Dominican Republic (DR) have become competitive, but there is a noticeable tendency for high performing students from high performing high-schools to avoid selecting teaching as a career (Figueroa & Montes de Oca, 2014). Such students often have choices to enter higher paying and status careers. Yet, some such students are now studying to become teachers, and this research captures their voices around this career choice. This topic is important given the need to improve the academic profile of future teachers who can help improve the Dominican ratings on various international measures.

This study involved 13 semi-structured interviews with preservice teachers. All had been high performing students coming from high performing high schools, and are now enrolled in a teacher preparation program as part of a scholarship program within private universities in the metropolitan area of Santo Domingo, DR. Analysis of this data revealed 10 major themes.

Similar to previous research, I found that these excellent students from excellent schools in the DR disclosed their career choice was primarily motivated by the fact that they like to work with children and helping others. These academically excellent students, now preservice teachers, chose teaching as a career to help the DR with its educational challenges.

They all had a previous considerable teaching experience they refer to as critical, when asked about facts influencing their teaching career choice. They considered this experience was significant when they had to balance teaching with other careers. Many of these participants made their choice against their parents’ advice, but all of them expressed pride and satisfaction in their choice, hope in a bright future and see the career as a well-paid option and gaining social status in the DR. The interviews also revealed that the DR government’s scholarship program for preservice teachers within private universities is helping to increase the status of the teaching career. Teaching is now a career choice for students who want the quality of a private university, but also want to become teachers. This allows them to be part of a new lineage of teachers the Dominican government is supporting to face the country’s education challenge.

Recommendations are offered that encourage leaders to start programs that expose more students in secondary education to teaching activities. Unveiling intrinsic motivations for becoming a teacher might help more high school students to consider this career option. Universities also need to put more emphasis on recruiting excellent students coming from excellent schools as they strive to increase the academic profile of their teaching career applicants.

Overall, this research captures the voices regarding the motivations of excellent students in the DR who have choose the teaching career within their rapidly developing country. Such findings contribute to the literature related to the factors that influence teaching career choice in a moment when teacher shortages have become a global challenge.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access