Who Is This Person We Call Teacher? (1969)


Authors George E. Dickson and Samuel L. Creighton argue in the February 1969 issue of Educational Leadership that teachers are increasingly in the contradictory state of being more “militant” for social change, yet still overly conservative.

In “Who Is This Person We Call Teacher?” the authors lay out society’s traditional view of teachers (“appreciators of excellence” and “enemies of shoddiness,” among other traits) and issue a call for the profession to reconcile these two competing states.

Read the article: “Who Is This Person We Call Teacher?” (PDF)

Dickson and Creighton state that militancy is the “dominant characteristic that differentiates the contemporary teacher from his predecessor” and that this militancy is justified. In the wake of the social change of the 1950s and ’60s, teachers were increasingly demanding better working conditions, more responsibility, and higher pay. Yet, the authors also express concern with what they see as a deep resistance to change among those in the profession and fear that teachers will be too reluctant to make necessary adjustments in areas such as thinking skills, vocational education, multicultural education, and teacher evaluation.

Although the profession has evolved and words like “militant” aren’t employed as often to describe teachers, it’s interesting to compare this call to action with the debates on teachers and teaching raging today on op-ed pages, movie screens, and blogs.