Introduction: When Teaching Matters
It has become commonplace lately to castigate that most honorable of professions-teaching. This is especially the case when we need to explain why our schools are in crisis and why our children are failing. We seem to want and need to make teachers bear far too much if not all of the responsibility for a society that cannot produce productive citizens united around a vibrant national vision or competent enough to meet the demands of an increasingly globalized economy. All of this seems to justify additional budget cuts and downsizing, making a most unlikely marriage with politically charged debates over multiculturalism and democratic values. Teachers are often defenseless against their attackers, powerless to act out their own sense of worth, their silence born of the fear that they cannot keep the promises they made to themselves when they began their careers.