Not a Factor in CHOOSING

Not a Factor in CHOOSING

A High Calling: Christian and Secular Perspectives of Teaching A Research Study Ralph G. Leverett, Ph.D. Thomas R. Rosebrough, Ph.D. St. Paul reminds the members of the Corinthian church to lead the lifeto which God has called you. Profile of the Schools Union University Private University dating to 1823, TN Baptist Convention. Liberal Arts & the Professions. Nearly 2500 students of which

about 500 are graduate. 500 Education Majors (300-UG and 200 Grad). 73% UU faculty terminal degrees (86% in Ed. Dept.). Residential Campus. Admission is selective (ACT mean 24.8, Freshmen 01). Missouri Southern Public college dating from the late 1930s. Liberal Arts & the Professions. Approximately 6000 UG students. Non-residential campus. Nearly 700 Education majors. About 30% non-traditional

students. Admission is moderately selective. Vocation* n. 1. A regular occupation, especially one for which a person is particularly suited or qualified. 2. An inclination, as if in response to a summons, to undertake a certain kind of work, esp. a religious career; a calling. Lat. vocatio, a calling. *(American Heritage Dictionary) INTRODUCTION Wadsworth (2000) in a Public Agenda study explored a similar topic: the sense of call among young teachers. She found them to be an enthusiastic group with a commitment to the field despite low salaries and behavior problems among students.

Comparing the Wadsworth Study findings Although our study differed somewhat in focus from the Public Agenda study, there were remarkably similar findings. Wadsworth had 3 conclusions: (1) teachers enjoy teaching (2) salary is not a primary motivator (3) reduced class size and better student behavior are preferable to salary Other Related Studies Cruickshank (1990) and Walling (1994) looked at reasons teachers selected the profession: 90% said helping children grow and learn, 63% chose seems to be a

challenging field. Other high percentage choices were like work conditions, inspired by favorite teachers, sense of vocation and honor of teaching. More Related Research Snyder and Hoffman (1994) found encouraging responses from teachers when they were asked whether possible problems were serious. Large majorities reported these problems as not serious: physical abuse of teachers, student disrespect for teachers, student absenteeism, student apathy, lack of parental involvement. Ornstein and Levine (1997) conclude that most teachers are motivated by a desire to work with young people and to enter a challenging and honorable field. And, while there is some dissatisfaction, burnout, stress and time pressures, most teachers are satisfied with their jobs.

Purpose and Design of the Study Purpose: to operationally define a sense of calling among young teachers who were graduated from a Christian university (Union) and a state college (Missouri Southern). Specifically, young teachers were asked: 1. Why did you enter the field? 2. Why have you remained? 3. Did you have a sense of calling. And, if so, what does that mean to you? Design: young teachers (5 years experience or less) were surveyed. 11 of 25 Union and 13 of 30 Missouri Southern surveys were returned (44% return rate).

Union and Missouri So. Motivators in Choosing Teaching Weakest Influences Salary. Benefits Package. Appeal of other jobs. Convenience of the school calendar. Opinions of family and friends. Not knowing what else to do. Strongest Influences Interaction with students. Helping others.

Being called. Sharing their knowledge. Doing what God wants me to do. Being committed to teaching. Strongest Influences for Entering the Field Union MSSC Called 100 90 80 70

60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Help Interest in Children: Union: 11/11 MSSC: 8/13 Desire to Help: Union: 11/11 MSSC: 6/13 Called to Teach: Union: 10/11 MSSC: 9/13

Int in Ch Weakest Influences for Entering the Field 100 98 96 94 92 Union Missouri 90

88 Benefits Salary Else to do 86 Didnt know what else to do: Union: 11/11 MSSC: 12/13 Salary: Union: 11/11 MSSC: 12/13 Benefits Package:

Union: 10/11 MSSC: 12/13 Union and Missouri Southern: Motivators to Remain in Teaching Weakest Motivators Salary. Benefit package. Convenience of the school calendar. Appeal of other jobs. Strongest Motivators Interaction with students. Helping others. Being called. Doing what God wants me

to do. Commitment to teaching. Feeling called keeps me from quitting. Strongest Influences to Remain in the Field Union MSSC Commit 100 90 80 70 60 50

40 30 20 10 0 Service What God Wants Me to Do: Union: 10/11 MSSC: 10/13 Service to Others: Union: 11/11 MSSC: 12/13 Commitment to teach: Union: 6/11 MSSC: 8/13

God & me Weakest Influences on Remaining in the Field 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Union MSSC

Disregard Desire to be Someone: Union: 6/11 MSSC: 12/13 What I want to do (disregarding call): Union: 10/11 MSSC: 6/13 Someone Considered Quitting 70

60 50 40 Union MSSC 30 20 10 0 Never Considered Quitting at Least One Time: Union: 7/11 MSSC: 7/13 Never Considered Quitting:

Union: 4/11 MSSC: 6/13 (One MSSC student wanted to quit 1000 times) Once Union and MSSC Motivators for Quitting Weakest Influences Salary. Paperwork. Preparation Time. Lack of Fulfillment. Cost of Graduate Degree. Lack of Respect from Admin/Community.

Influence of Friends and Family. Strongest Influences Discipline. Lack of Respect from Students. Lack of Respect from Parents. Reasons for Quitting Lack of Respect from Students: Union: 4/7 MSSC: 2/7

Lack of Respect from Parents: Union: 2/7 MSSC: 3/7 60 50 40 30 Union MSSC 20 10 0 Respect-

Student Discipline Union: 4/7 MSSC: 4/7 Discipline A Sense of Calling Defined by Union and Missouri Southern God wants me to do this. Need to help/serve others.

An inner drive A talent to be used A feeling that I was to teach The drive to overcome all obstacles to foster learning Gifted with talents, instinct and personality to succeed Delight in seeing children succeed . . . or become interested in learning Vocatio n. 1. A regular occupation, especially one for which a person is suited or qualified. 2. An inclination, as if in response to a summons, to undertake a certain kind of work, especially a religious career; a calling. (American Heritage Dictionary) Findings Entering Teaching Teachers from both schools chose their profession for two strong reasons: 1. They desired interaction with students and were keenly

interested in teaching them. 2. They felt a strong sense of call: -the call was defined more religiously by Christian university students -its definition by these 24 teachers was very consistent with the classical definition And, salary was not a primary motivator. Findings Remaining in Teaching Teachers from both schools have remained in teaching for three strong reasons: 1. Their call was a compelling influence. 2. They felt a need to continue to serve. 3. They felt a commitment to their students. Historical Contrast Teachers of the early 1900s were expected to commit fully to teacher preparation. John R. Kirk, President of what is now Truman State University, in 1907 addressed the rationale for summer programs for teachers: the prevailing notion of

summer vacations for teachers as a means of rest had nothing for its support but tradition. Able-bodied people did not need the summer time for rest. There was no reason for becoming worn out in the spring time since it was the season of the year when all nature is at its best. Teachers could attend the summer quarter and live as well and just as inexpensively as they would in a condition of idleness, perhaps better because they would live more regularly. (Shrenker, 2001) Conclusion Kirks seemingly insensitive appraisal of in-service teachers of his day would likely find a less than sympathetic audience among teachers today. Teachers of our own period often fill their summers with advanced training or summer employment to supplement the meager salaries of many school systems. In view of our own limited study, but consistent with that of Wadsworths, we would believe that the commitment of yesteryears teachers as idealized by John Kirk is no less than that of todays. We might suggest that todays teachers exhibit an even greater degree of commitment. While the early 1900s offered few professional choices for women other than teaching and nursing, todays young bright females (and males) have many options more lucrative and well respected than teaching. We believe

that the commitment stated by the young teachers of our study indicate that teaching is very much a choice among several possible vocations and those entering and remaining in the field are living out a call.

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