Characteristics and Career Decisions of Secondary Dual Language Teachers in the United States



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The shortage of middle and high school Dual Language teachers is a major barrier to program sustainability. This study explores the demographic characteristics and factors in the career decisions of secondary Dual Language teachers. A national survey included items on teacher characteristics, factors in the initial decision to become a Dual Language teacher, and factors in ongoing career commitment. Results indicate that altruistic factors and a passion for the language they would teach are especially important for teachers choosing to join the field, and that positive and supportive work environments are key factors in career commitment. Four teacher typologies emerged based on social identity factors. Findings suggest teacher recruitment can be more effective by appealing to the desire to help students, improve society, and share a passion for the language they will teach. Similarly, teacher retention can be more effective by creating work environments supportive of teachers’ values and by regularly reinforcing and celebrating the program elements and outcomes that teachers say are most important.