1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Teaching profession is not a new area of research and different approaches have been used in order to explain it. Teaching profession is based on vocational and personal skills and competencies, involves professional and ethical standards and models, and entails a continuous process of professional development. In different countries, the recent implemented changes and reforms in educational field require teachers to demonstrate ongoing competences in their roles and adapt to new job requirements. Teachers are often pressed to do more work with fewer resources and are required to obtain high outcomes in their professional activities. Extensive quantitative and qualitative research was based on investigation of teachers’ beliefs and perceptions of their professional activity, job satisfaction, and motivation. Teachers make decisions in teaching activity based on their experiences, perceptions, values and beliefs about their roles, activities, and responsibilities in schools. Research has indicated that positive teachers’ attitudes and perceptions are fundamental for effective teaching, and teachers’ beliefs, perceptions and attitudes affect their practice and influence the students’ performance (Eggen & Kauchak, 2014). High teachers’ attitudes towards teaching profession have effects on their classroom performance and teaching practice, and are correlated with the burnout level (Ispir, 2010). In order to understand teachers’ attitudes, job satisfaction was used to assess teachers’ attitude towards work (Ahmad & Sahak, 2009). Teachers’ job satisfaction has been recognized as extremely important for implementing any type of education reform, for involving the teacher in life-long learning and for the quality of the teaching-learning process. As a process by which people attach meaning to experience (Eggen &Kauchak, 2014), the perception of teaching profession helps teachers’ to gain meanings and to understand the different aspects, experiences, roles, responsibilities and practices from their professional activity. Beginning teachers start their careers with more positive views of their work and work environment that most other professions. However, after only 8 months of service, when they confronted with the reality of teaching, their positive work perceptions significant declined associated with increasing levels of burnout. Teachers reported that they were required to exert more effort than their more experienced colleagues and this effort required to undertake teaching was greater than the rewards that resulted from being a teacher. This fact suggests a declining overall perception of teaching career during the first 8 months of professional practice (Goddard &O'Brien, 2012; Meerah et al., 2010). The teacher psychological experiences and their perceptions of their workplace can be sources of stress that have the potential to undermine teacher effectiveness (Ransford et. colab., 2009). Yates (2011) investigated the primary school teachers’ perceptions of professional learning activities starting from the principles of the effective teacher professional development.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
To all professionals, the way they perceive themselves and the value of their services tend to influence their efficiency and hence productivity. For teachers, such perception is influenced by the views of the public about teaching. A teacher tends to be psychologically handicapped by public perception of the value of his/her service. Teachers tend to be humbled by the psychological pressure put on them by the feeling that, despite their irreplaceable service, their career is not regarded as a profession by the public. According to Nenty (2010), pressure emanating from negative views from the public of teaching as a career by the society tends to reduce the amount of affective and cognitive investments on teaching and learning by teachers and teacher trainees. Such views tend to kill the aspiration and inspirational stamina of teachers. A situational analysis of Nigeria education system has noted that there is a challenge of poor quality teachers, as practicing teachers do not get equitable treatment when it comes to teacher training and professional development (Kgalemang, 2015). The situation needs urgent attention. The report indicates that the issue is compounded by inadequate provision of teacher training related to the new curriculum resulting in teachers often not being in a good position to implement the curriculum properly. This is an immense challenge which reflects that teaching profession in Nigeria within the context of the teacher developments. As an attempt to address the challenge, it is important to investigate into teaching as a profession as perceived by primary school teachers.
1.3AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine perception of teaching profession among primary school teachers. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the extent primary school teachers perceived teaching as a profession.
2. To examine the extent how primary school teacher perception of teaching as a profession influences their attitude towards teaching.
3. To examine the effect of teacher’s perception of their profession, job satisfaction and mentality towards work.
4. To examine the factors that influence the development of the perceptions of teaching profession and the attitudes towards work in primary school teachers.
5. To examine the relationship between teachers’ perceptions of their profession, job satisfaction and mentality towards work.
6. To examine the ways of enhancing teachers professionalism in primary schools.
1.2 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the extent primary school teacher’s perceived teaching as a profession?
2. What is the extent to how primary school teacher perception of teaching as a profession influences their attitude towards teaching?
3. What are the effect of teacher’s perception of their profession, job satisfaction and mentality towards work?
4. What are the factors that influence the development of the perceptions of teaching profession and the attitudes towards work in primary school teachers?
5. What is the relationship between teachers’ perceptions of their profession, job satisfaction and mentality towards work?
6. What are the ways of enhancing teacher’s professionalism in primary schools?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant effect of teacher’s perception towards teaching profession on their level of job satisfaction.
H1: There is no significant relationship between teacher’s perception towards teaching and their level of job satisfaction
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The result of the study will be of significance to the State Ministry of Education, State Universal Basic Education Board and Local Government Education Authorities across the state, primary school administrators, Parents-Teachers' Associations, teachers and pupils. First, to the government agencies (Ministry of Education, State Universal Basic Education Board and Local Government Education Authorities), the result of the study would help them to appreciate the need to adopt more serious measures and take concrete steps in providing the needed services, enabling environment and facilities towards meeting the laid down standards. This could be through seminar and workshops organised to brainstorm on the findings and recommendations of the study. Through this, it would also make them to appreciate the need to provide more intensive and regular checks on primary schools to ensure that they conform to the stipulated standards.
1.7SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on perception of teaching profession among primary school teachers.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Perception: The ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.
Teaching: Teaching is a form of interpersonal influence aimed at changing the behaviour potential of another person and it’s a social process.
Profession: Occupation, practice, or vocation requiring mastery of a complex set of knowledge and skills through formal education and/or practical experience. Every organized profession (accounting, law, teaching, etc.) is governed by its respective professional body.