Hanna de Jong-Markus

Chapter 4 72 OPPS, there was a focus on transmitting and deepening the Christian faith and lifestyle, whereas, in the mainline Protestant schools, the emphasis was on introducing pupils to the Christian faith and lifestyle and enabling them to make their own religious choices (De Wolff, 2000). Regarding why people became teachers, a qualitative study of OPPS teachers in the Netherlands (N = 20) showed six motives behind becoming a teacher: ensuring security, (teaching children) to know God, providing care, bringing about an awareness of God, prompting inquisitiveness, and wanting to help children in their development (De Muynck, 2008). This study also very briefly refers to the specific school choice of teachers: Essentially, it is important for teachers “to feel at home” at their school (De Muynck, 2008, p. 197), and so they do not really consider working at a nonorthodox Protestant school (De Muynck, 2008). Looking more broadly at studies about teachers’ school choices in other countries, most studies are concerned with the normally espoused preferences of teachers, such as salary, principal support, and student characteristics (Cannata, 2010). These are often discussed in the context of research into the attrition and retention of teachers in order to improve working conditions and to promote an equal distribution of highly qualified teachers across schools (Guarino et al., 2006). However, Cannata (2010) highlights that, instead of what is expressed in the espoused preferences, teachers’ feelings of comfort and familiarity play a decisive role in their actual decisions: teachers prefer to teach in schools where they have shared social and cultural experiences with pupils and staff. 4.5 Methods Research design and participants This study is part of a research project on religious tolerance as an educational goal in OPPSs. A total of 16 4th and 5th grade36 teachers from 15 different OPPSs were interviewed from April 22, 2015 to February 18, 2016. Seven female and nine male participants were included. Their ages varied from 23 to 59 years (average: 34.5). Their years of experience as a teacher varied from 1.5 to 35 years (average: 11.3), and half still worked at their first place of employment. They were all trained in orthodox Protestant teacher training institutes. 36 In the Netherlands the 5th grade is the penultimate year of primary school.