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Choosing to Teach: Reflections on Gender and Social Change


by Lisa Smulyan — 2004

This study uses data from a 10-year longitudinal study to explore how women graduates of a liberal arts college experience the gendered construction of teachers and teaching as they make life and career choices. These women respond to the expectations and pressures of families and teachers, renegotiate their own definitions of success and achievement, and reconstruct definitions of teaching and themselves as teachers. Despite their understanding of the status of other possible career choices, and their resistance of gendered frameworks of career and success, the women in this study ignore the rhetoric of teacher professionalization that might provide them with an alternative definition of teaching. Instead, they reframe teaching as a political act, one through which they can address issues of social inequality and social injustice.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 106 Number 3, 2004, p. 513-543
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11526, Date Accessed: 6/25/2017 9:57:14 AM

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About the Author
  • Lisa Smulyan
    Swarthmore College
    E-mail Author
    LISA SMULYAN is professor of education and chair of the Department of Educational Studies at Swarthmore College where she teaches courses in educational foundations, gender and education, and social and cultural perspectives in education. Her research interests include classroom-based research with teachers, case history as a basis for understanding school practice, and investigations into the role of gender in students’, teachers’, and administrators’ school and work experience. Recent publications include Redefining Self and Success: Becoming Teachers and Doctors, Gender and Education (in publication) and Balancing Acts: Women Principals at Work (2000, SUNY Press).
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