In this chapter of Those Who Can, Teach by Ryan/Cooper we learn that a great variety of motivation can lead people to select teaching as a career. This chapter discusses how to use reflective thinking as a tool to evaluate one’s own motives for teaching.
The reader learns the difference between extrinsic rewards and intrinsic rewards. “Extrinsic rewards are the public, external attractions of an occupation” (pg. 5). “Intrinsic rewards are the internal psychic or spiritual satisfactions one receives from one’s work” (pg. 5).
Although the extrinsic rewards, such as a teacher’s salary may not be that great, recent surveys show that the public views the status of a teacher four to one over physicians. Power is also observed as an extrinsic reward for teachers. The public sees the quality of teachers as the greatest influence on student learning.
One of the greatest extrinsic rewards maybe the work schedule. Especially for men and women who value their family life. As a teacher, one almost, with exception of professional development days has every holiday and summer vacation off with their family.
The intrinsic rewards a teacher gains can be considered priceless. Many teachers are drawn to the occupation solely for the students. Watching a child learn, grow and develop over a year can be rewarding in itself.
Some teachers view themselves as fulfilling a service to the community or to God. It can be self fulfilling to know that one is putting something good back into a world that is full of corrupt and sin. Teaching is a selfless act that allows one to be a good role model to so many children in need of a single role model.
Chapter one goes on to discuss different options in the field of education. The authors discuss how a student should explore their options and get hands on experience before entering the field of teaching. The authors also suggest that one receives advice openly, but follow it cautiously.
The authors reflect on two particular case studies. The first case study being of a teacher who desired to teach a particular subject. They go on to tell how her love for a particular subject was a good asset but, at the same time, was keeping her from being a good teacher (pg. 15). This particular teacher had forgotten how fun learning can be. She basically filled her students with information overflow.
The last case study was on a particular teacher’s commitment to social renewal. The teacher the authors mention had an open minded, constructivist, non prejudice way of thinking. This way of thinking is crucial to the success of our future. It is no longer acceptable for even one student to slip through the cracks.
Ryan and Cooper. 2007. Those Who Can, Teach 11 Edition. Ch. 1 “Why Teach” (p. 1-22). Houghton Mifflin Company. Boston, MA.