Publication Date: January 25, 2019
A must-read for new teachers and seasoned practitioners, this unique book presents Sonia Nieto and Alicia López, mother and daughter writing about the trajectories, vision, and values that brought them to teaching, including the ups and downs they have experienced and the reasons why they have stubbornly remained in one of the oldest, most difficult, and most rewarding of professions. Drawing on their extensive experience as educators in school and university classrooms, they reflect on what it means to teach young people, prospective teachers, and future academics in our complex, dynamic, and multicultural society. Teaching, A Life’s Work is at once theoretical and practical, reflective and critical, personal, professional, and political. Nieto and López document their reasons for becoming teachers and share some of the most important lessons they have learned along the way. Using journals, blogs, current writings, and their research, they explore how their views on curriculum, pedagogy, and the field of education itself have evolved over the years.
Sonia Nieto is professor emerita at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her bestselling books include The Light in Their Eyes: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities, Why We Teach, Why We Teach Now , and What Keeps Teachers Going?. Alicia López is an ESL teacher and former assistant principal at Amherst Regional Middle School.
"Riveting and beautiful! Teaching, A Life’s Work offers a full basket of wisdom wrapped up in personal stories of learning to teach. Through loving and reflective dialogue, mother-daughter duo Sonia Nieto and Alicia López probe the heart of what it means to teach, as they challenge us to reflect on what we stand for as teachers and who we stand with."
— Christine Sleeter, professor emerita, California State University Monterey Bay
"In Teaching, A Life’s Work, Sonia Nieto and Alicia Lopez share with us a beautiful and powerful inter-generational conversation between a mother and daughter about education, identity, and teaching for social justice. Standing together in defense of public education and in defense of students and their communities, Nieto and Lopez give us the gift of two lifetimes of loving commitment to teaching children and changing the world."
—Wayne Au, professor, School of Educational Studies, University of Washington Bothell
“A genuine rarity! A mother and daughter—a seasoned pro and a young pro—talk about their educational lives. Their dialog allows us insight into the differences and similarities across generations in teacher education, curriculum, and classroom practices appropriate for the kinds of students faced today, and into the politics of education. To be able to share their thoughts about education in contemporary times is as delightful as it is informative.”
—David C. Berliner, Regents’ Professor of Education Emeritus, Arizona State University
Introduction: Teaching Across Generations
Who We Are
About This Book
Chapter 1. Becoming Teachers
Sonia: The Enthusiastic Beginner
Alicia: The Reluctant Beginner
Different Paths, Similar Insights
Chapter 2. Learning to Teach, Teaching to Learn
Alicia: The Che-Lumumba School
Sonia: Trying Things on for Size
Creating Our Teacher Identities
Teacher Identity and Student Learning
An Emerging Social Justice Consciousness
What Does It Take to Be a Teacher?
Chapter 3. Learning About Students and Their Communities
The Limits of Personal Experience and Professional Knowledge
Alicia: Getting to Know English Learners
Sonia: Learning with, About, and from Preservice and Practicing Teachers
Finally, On Love
Chapter 4. Curriculum Beyond the Textbook
Our Evolving Notions of Curriculum
Curriculum, Power, and Creativity
Mary Ginley: The Honors Assembly
Chapter 5. Pedagogy Beyond Methods
Pedagogy, K–12 and Beyond
Alicia: Pedagogy for Expanding Teaching Practices
Sonia: Pedagogy for Current and Future Teachers
Final Thoughts on Pedagogy
Chapter 6. The Power of Writing
What We've Learned from Writing
All Teachers Can Use Writing in Their Classes
Chapter 7. A Talking Chapter: On Hope, Resilience, and Creativity
What Keeps Us Going?
What Might You Have Done Differently?
Reflecting on the Hard Times
How Do You See the Future of Teaching?
Advice for a New Teacher on the First Day
What Would Your Students Say About You?
Chapter 8. Lessons Learned and the Way Forward
What We've Learned Along This Journey Called Teaching
Sonia: Teacher Anxiety Dreams, Even After Retirement
Alicia: Advice for Teachers Who Want to Keep Their Sanity and Love Their Job
A Few Reflections on the Current State of Education
The Way Forward
About the Authors
Sonia Nieto, Winner, 2019 LRA Distinguished Scholar Lifetime Achievement Award