Given the perennial challenge of attracting and retaining high-quality teachers, especially in large cities, there is a need to understand why preservice teachers in urban districts choose a teaching career, their perceptions of the profession, and how these relate to their initial career commitments and aspirations. Using latent profile analysis, we examined patterns of motivational perceptions with variables from the Factors Influencing Teacher Choice model alongside perceived task effort cost, opportunity cost, and emotional cost of teaching within a diverse sample of 630 preservice teachers. We identified four distinct profiles that differentially related to theorized antecedents (prior teaching and learning experiences, social encouragement, fallback career) and outcomes (satisfaction, planned persistence, planned professional development, leadership aspirations). Race, gender and certification-level were distributed in unique patterns across profiles. Results provide a holistic perspective of preservice teacher motivations and indicate that perceived costs in relation to FIT Choice variables were a defining characteristic of motivational patterns.
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