Who Will Teach?: Historical Perspectives on the Changing Appeal of Teaching as a Profession

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This report examines, from a historical perspective, the desirability of teaching as a career. It focuses first on the reward structure in teaching, and second on the social origins and composition of the teaching force. The goals of the study are to lay out the rough chronological boundaries of several notable long-term trends and to isolate vital information and apparent major historical transition points to guide future case-study research. Section I introduces and provides an overview of key issues raised in the study. Section II examines the evolution of financial incentives for teachers, from approximately 1910 to the present, focusing particularly on the appeal of economic rewards to different constituencies. Section III analyzes changes in the social origins and composition of the teaching force, focusing on gender, social class, and academic preparation and qualifications. Finally, section IV selectively reviews recent developments and elaborates on some of their policy implications for raising professional standards and overcoming the developing teacher shortage. The report concludes that the women's movement appears to have opened up new prospects for the professionalization of teaching. Eight pages of references are appended. (MLF)

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