chapter  12
39 Pages

Teaching to Change the World

A Profession and a Hopeful Struggle
ByJeannie Oakes, Martin Lipton, Lauren Anderson, Jamy Stillman

This chapter, a kind of culmination and invitation, looks toward a more socially just future. It reviews history and the status quo in teaching—what teachers for social justice struggle against and explores what teachers struggle for—a truly honorable profession, anchored by a commitment to equity and capable of catalyzing social change. The chapter deals with five philosophical, practical, and personal strategies that teachers use to change the world. They include becoming a part of a learning community, becoming a social justice activist, expanding one's professional influence, making a commitment to a hopeful critique, and finding satisfaction in the everyday. Teacher turnover and attrition are at least as much to blame for shortages as schools' failure to attract qualified candidates. Although low salaries deter prospective teachers, research findings show that salaries are actually less important than other reasons. Teachers have joined unions to advance the profession and to mount a collective voice in education policy.