Publication Date: June 15, 1996
In The Call to Teach, author David Hansen employs the idea of teaching as a vocation or calling to analyze and interpret case studies drawn from fieldwork. Based on a 3-year study of the everyday working lives of four teachers in a large urban setting—two work in a public high school, one in a Catholic high school for boys, and one in an independent middle school—this book provides a wealth of detail and insight. Hansen combines his findings with sources outside the standard education literature to develop an original conception of the meaning of a “calling,” one that is helpful in understanding both how and why these four teachers—and, by extension, others like them—are able to teach with conviction and success despite the difficulties and challenges presented by today’s schools. This artful marriage of philosophical and qualitative analysis will appeal to scholars and practitioners alike.
This book will serve as a supplemental text in graduate and undergraduate courses in teacher education, philosophy of education, foundations, curriculum theory, and qualitative research methods, and will be of particular interest to faculty and researchers in those fields and to all practitioners.
David T. Hansen is an assistant professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“Occasionally, I have come across a book that rediscovers in straightforward, clear prose an essential about teaching that I had either forgotten or so submerged in my experience and awareness that I no longer considered it—(a book, for example, like) Jim Herndon’s The Way It Spozed to Be and Herbert Kohl’s 36 Children. David Hansen has written such a book, . . . a researcher’s beautifully written, clear description and analysis of four teachers working with big city minority and poor children in public and private settings. . . . The four teachers’ spirit of vocation and how they voice it, enhanced by Hansen’s graceful and vivid elaboration of their ‘calling,’ begins to offer us a language and a point of view that can make of teaching more than a ‘job,’ more than an ‘occupation,’ and even more than a ‘profession.’”
—From the Foreword by Larry Cuban
“What is it that draws us into teaching and provides those who are successful in it with a sense of identity and accomplishment? David Hansen’s answer is a sense of vocation, which he describes as enabling teachers to unite personal fulfillment with public service. His book is a remarkable study of how teaching as a vocation appears in actual practice in today’s schools.”
—James Garrison, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University