In the introduction to her recent work entitled Why We Teach, multicultural theorist and educator, Dr. Sonia Nieto raises important issues about what drives individuals toward a career in teaching and the related challenges that face those entering the teaching profession. Reflecting on your pre-practicum and other field-based experiences, readings and activities from your coursework, and other related learning opportunities, respond to the issues Dr. Nieto raises, explaining why you have chosen to pursue a career in education. Responses should be approximately two to three double-spaced typed pages in length.
“Why do people choose teaching as a career? What it is that entices them to spend their days engaged in learning with other people’s children? Why do they decide to go into what are frequently demanding situations, sometimes in poorly funded and rundown schools? Why do they choose teaching rather than other professions that would give them better compensation, higher status and more respect?
Today, these questions take on greater urgency than ever. The rapid turnover of new teachers, the changing demographics in U.S. classrooms, the widely touted “achievement gap” between White students and students of color, and the national insistence on “highly qualified teachers” all contribute to a situation where retaining the best teachers and encouraging others to enter the profession are essential. In the end, the answers to these questions say a lot about who we are as a nation, what we value and believe in, and how we educate our young people.” (Nieto, 2005, p.1)