This chapter looks at classroom life through the teacher’s eyes. You may be thinking:
I have spent years in a classroom, watching teachers and what they do. If there is one
thing I know, it is teachers and teaching! But during your years in the classroom, you
have looked at teaching through “student-colored glasses,” a unique but somewhat
distorted view, like looking through a telescope from the lens that makes everything
tiny instead of large. This chapter offers you a teacher’s perspective. We give you an
opportunity to consider both the pros and cons of a teaching career. Then we turn to
another question: Will you and teaching be a good match?
We love teaching, but not everything about teaching is wonderful. In the past,
teachers were often considered second-class citizens, pressured to conform to strict
moral and social codes while being paid meager wages. Today, teaching is now cen-
ter stage, a common topic in the media and in political debates. Your study of educa-
tion comes at a propitious time, a period of ferment and change as teachers strive for
a more professional, more inﬂ
uential role in U.S. society. What role might you play in
The chapter is also about “us.” Yes, us. We are now a team, this textbook, the
authors, and you. When your authors were students, we did not much like our text-
books. They were far from exciting to read. By extension, we feared that we might
not like teaching. In the end, we loved teaching—but still hated our textbooks. We
want this textbook to be different—to be not only informative, but also enjoyable.
rst chapter offers us the opportunity to introduce the textbook, and in a sense,
to introduce ourselves.
Welcome to our classroom.
Do Teachers Like Teaching?
In a “Peanuts” cartoon, Linus comments that “no problem is so big or compli-
cated that it can’t be run away from.” Charles Schulz succinctly highlighted a
human frailty shared by most of us—the tendency to put aside our problems
or critical questions in favor of day-to-day routine. In fact, it is amazing how
little care and consideration many of us give to choosing a career. It is always
easier to catch a movie, surf the Net, or even study for the next exam than it
is to reﬂ
ect on and plan for the future. This may be one reason why questions