ABSTRACT

Introduction Why do we want to be teachers? What is the peculiar fascination with educating children, conducting relationships with those who are not yet adults? Where can the satisfaction be, the lay person sometimes puzzles, in spending your time with people who are (as yet) your intellectual inferiors? It is intriguing also that the wisdom we have gathered, for ourselves, is something we actively wish to pass on. But it can seem at times, can it not, to be something wonderful that we can teach anything to anyone? The dawn of recognition on a human face, their stimulation by our thoughts, by how we make sense of life for ourselves - all this is fascinating and powerfully attractive. There is surely some narcissistic satisfaction here, someone might say, or some unsavoury enjoyment of power, perhaps simply comfort from the fact that our ability to elicit a response from the other helps us to feel that we are not alone. Yet in the context of schooling, at least, where the relationship of teacher to pupils is clearly more one-sided, the puzzlement remains, and the explanation may not be as tidy or comfortable as we might wish.