The teaching profession is getting a lot of attention in today’s society primarily because teachers educate and raise the future generations who will observe and co-create change in the world. In both Europe and Slovenia, the demand for highly educated and skilled people is increasing, and this is where teachers and schools play an important role. Therefore, there exists a great need for quality teachers who will be aware of the importance of their own professional development. Various studies have been conducted in recent decades on which competencies are essential for good teachers, what their professional development should be like, and which factors contribute to teachers’ professional fulfilment. The role of teachers is becoming increasingly more demanding, and the expectations put on their profession are also getting higher. This is precisely why it is paramount for teachers to constantly keep educating themselves, follow changes in their profession both at home and internationally, and gain new knowledge, skills, and competencies.
The aim of this thesis was to discover why teachers employed in Slovene primary schools decided to pursue this vocation, who and how influences their professional development, how they themselves understand professional development, and which factors influence their vocational satisfaction and to what extent. We were also interested in observing the differences in answers given by male and female teachers.
The results have shown that the majority of teachers decide upon their profession on completion of their secondary education and that the most prominent deciding factor is the joy of working with children. It has also been discovered that the decision is most dependent upon internal factors. For the advancement of their professional development, teachers claim that cooperation with co-workers is essential and they most often engage in activities involving their co-workers. The results have shown that teachers will more likely take part in activities beneficial for their professional development and will attribute the most value to such activities. Conversely, the biggest hindrance to their professional development comes in the form of the headteacher and school board’s unwillingness to invest in additional professional education and care for the professional development of teachers. Consulted teachers marked their work satisfaction and care for the professional development of pedagogical workers at the school of their employment as satisfactory. Additionally, it has also been observed that there are several statistical differences regarding the teachers’ satisfaction. The most influential factor is the relationship with co-workers and the school’s governing body. It has been observed that the greatest causes of stress in the workplace come in the form of exhaustion, establishing discipline within the classroom, and working with parents. Teachers generally assess their vocation as stressful. Still, nearly all teachers involved in the survey would, if given the chance to go back, still opt for the same vocation.
The aim of the research was to uncover and critically evaluate the factors influencing people’s choice of profession, teachers’ professional development, their satisfaction, and stress brought about by the teaching profession, as well as to assess the influence of the aforementioned factors on teachers’ performance.
The additional goal of this thesis was also to inform primary school teachers and the general public about the importance of these factors, which contribute to the establishment and reputation of teaching as a profession.