In Search of Motives More Pure

In 1990, John Goodlad described one of the reasons that many people decide to join the teaching profession:

We have been inclined, many of us, to think of a profession as a calling, conjuring up images of idealistic young men and women preparing themselves to serve God or humankind or both. At times, teaching is so envisioned and depicted, as in the movie Stand and Deliver or Sylvia Ashton Warner's book Teacher. Our admiration usually is for a specific, humane, selfless teacher... (p. 15)
While I've often considered the moral dimensions of teaching, I now wonder if our motives for teaching have changed since 1990, possibly with the advent of the read/write web.

One demonstration of how our motives may have changed lies within this video describing the current state of the Internet as well as some of our motives in participation.

Consider the following, as taken from the above video:
And why are people drawn to these communities? Not to get rich... They want to socialise and get recognition for the work they do (hyperlink and emphasis added by me).
Is this really why we do what we do, write what we write, and teach what we teach? If this quest for recognition were limited merely to those of other fields, I suppose I wouldn't be so concerned. The sad truth is, however, that we as teachers are not immune from many of the frailties suffered by those of other professions.

Indeed, the unfortunate quest for fame is definitely among us. It's quantified by rankings, qualified by a plethora of pointless posts of blather, and lusted after by far too many that most certainly should know better.

Fame. Rankings. Give me a break.

My hopes are for a brighter future - or one that better resembles the purer aspects of the past.

  • Goodlad, J.I. (1990). "The occupation of teaching in schools", in Goodlad, J.I., Soder, R., Sirotnik, K.A. (Eds), The Moral Dimensions of Teaching, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA, pp. 3-31.
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