ERIC Number: ED433125
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-Jun
Why Teach? Prospective Teachers' Reasons for Entering the Profession.
Phillips, Marian B.; Hatch, J. Amos
This paper details an analysis of prospective early childhood teachers' responses on a university application to the question "Why are you interested in becoming a teacher?" The paper identifies potential sources of strength and vulnerability in students' written responses and offers tentative interpretations that critique prospective early childhood teachers' understandings of the complexity and intensity of teachers' work. The paper also speculates on the impact their perspectives may have on their approaches to teacher preparation experiences and teaching, and offers implications for teacher educators framed around building on strengths and reducing vulnerabilities. Major themes identified in prospective teachers' responses were: (1) having influential experiences; (2) fulfilling a dream; (3) loving children; (4) seeing children learn; (5) enjoying challenges and responsibilities; (6) teaching to learn; (7) making a difference; and (8) overcoming deficits in children's lives. The paper asserts that while the deep commitment to making a difference in the lives of young children and society in general is a major strength of prospective teachers' motivations, it can also be a weakness if it leaves students open to disappointment, disillusionment, and potential disengagement. Contains 11 references. (EV)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Education Conference (8th, Columbus, OH, June 27, 1999).