THE INTERCONNECTION BETWEEN UNIVERSITY GRADUATES’ VALUES AND CURRENT PROCESSES IN THE SOCIETY ON CHOOSING TEACHING PROFESSION

P. Jurs , M. Ročāne, I. Kulberga 

Liepaja University (LATVIA)
The number of teaching job vacancies in Latvia is growing significantly every year and about half of the teachers have already reached the age of 50, which can lead to the inability to staff vacancies in future. One of reasons for the lack of teaching personnel is the fact that not all university graduates with a degree in pedagogy choose the job of a teacher. The article provides a theoretical insight into the concept of values that guide university graduates with a degree in pedagogy to work at educational institutions after graduation. Theoretical findings highlight the differences and at the same time interconnections between intrinsic and instrumental values and the impact of personal values, social values, societal values and human values on decision making process. The article emphasizes the different challenges of rapidly changing world and influences of these challenges on university graduates’ willingness to work at school as well. Examples of these challenges are: the environmental challenge (e.g. effects of global warming); the economic challenge (e.g. human competition with the possibilities created by modern technologies); the social challenge (e.g. migration, urbanization, increasing social and cultural diversity); the epidemiological challenge (e.g.COVID-19 pandemic). In order to reach the aim of the publication: to find out the influence of current processes/challenges in the society on the value formation process and the willingness of university graduates to choose the job of a teacher, a face-to-face interview with university students who study pedagogy was carried out. There were closed and open-ended questions included in the interview. Interviewees were asked about the reasons of choosing study program in the field of pedagogy, importance of becoming a teacher, benefits of study process, personal importance to study pedagogy to become a teacher, priorities in their study process, etc. Theoretical and empirical studies show that an attitude of society towards education is an important aspect in the value formation process and an important precondition for choosing teaching as a profession. One of the empirical findings is respondents' opinion that the biggest future challenge in teaching is digital challenge and the fact that their digital skills should be regularly updated. Therefore, to be successful in the career field, the development of new competences becomes essential, e.g. transformative competencies, which can be characterized by readiness for innovation.