Lilly grant on calling and vocation in 2009. A way of keeping up with graduates in there first year. It is what we all would like to do….it takes time and funding. This is one third of the actual interview Questions about how their education prepared them for teaching. (to make changes in existing program)Questions about how they see their future in education.Then this part…..
Teachers desire that life have meaning within community and it seems like using the terms “calling” or “Vocation end up communicating an overwhelming need to serve students.I love the John Trent’s view of “blessing” and after doing this work am even more convinced that teachers bless others in their service.
Set up in-person interviews….often buying coffee. The more personal the connection the more open former students were to share.Several interviewers with the same form for 10 years. Tried to get supervisors to interview former students.
Students are not required to sign a “statement of faith” to attend SPU…so no assumptions are made on the spiritual life of the students.Lots of data…hired a grad assistant to help with Lilly Funding
“Vocation is the kind of job you do. I think that anyone can have a vocation. I think that anyone can have a calling. I think very few people have both in one. I always said that, unless I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning, I didn’t want that job. Teaching makes me excited to go to work in the morning. I can’t wait to get there and see my kids. I can’t wait to learn with them. I can’t wait to get to know these little people better. For me, calling is teaching. I am just fortunate I am able to fulfill my calling within my vocation”
Former colleagues Hartnett and Kline explored the idea that a “call to teach” may be short sighted because a person’s first and primary calling is to God himself.
For the most part participant defined vocation as a specific career or something you do to earn a living or something you earn money at.One defined vocation where you “served yourself” and calling where you “served others”
Answers first question “Do first year teachers define “call” and “vocation” in different terms?”Do first year teachers see teaching as a “call or vocation” and do they feel “called” to teach?The majority feel called to teachOne of the biggest fears of first year teachers is the idea of “burnout”…they don’t’ want to teach if the sense of calling is gone.For some of the MAT and Alternative Routes folks….teaching is that calling…they have tried other things and made $$ and served themselves but teaching is fulfilling the greater need to serve others.
I made an assumption that was incorrect….I thought that the majority of people are influenced by family to teach. Not so…. The majority were influenced by teachers…so we self-perpetuate our field. An it was both Good and Bad teachers……for those of us who have had bad teachers….we can understand wanting to do better for future generations.It is interesting to note that only %5 had prior experience working “hands on” with children….I expected a larger percentage.It makes you wonder if there is a self selection where people “try out” teaching and choose not to teach …. We never see them.The second career folks had some different comments….They said they were tired of having a job with no meaning or value. One with a doctorate in Biology was asked to come to talk to a first grade class….she fell in love with the kids.Summary: Existing teachers are highly influential on the next generation.
So what’s next?Faculty research grant to explore calling in freshmen who choose to serve in teaching, social work or nursing. Want to tease out why they choose one over the other. Questions I don’t know the answer to: When a student say’s they are called….what do we do to their faith when they cannot do the job?How can we help students who want to “Make a Difference” find the right place to do that work?
Called to Teach
Called to TeachTeacher Candidates Sense ofCalling to Become Educators Debby Espinor George Fox School of Education 2012 Grant Funded by Lilly Endowment ICCTE Conference Azusa 2012
Meant to teach?“ There are some days when I feel like I am “meant to teach” and like I am good at it – but many days I doubt whether I can do the kind of job that I know my students deserve. It is the most challenging experience I’ve ever had and I’m honestly just trying to take things one day at a time. Maybe after my first year is done I’l be able to see past the day-to-day and reflect on whether I feel like teaching is a calling.” Matt ICCTE Conference Azusa 2012
Research Questions• Do first year teachers define “call” and “vocation” in different terms?• Do first year teachers see teaching as a “call or vocation” and do they feel “called” to teach?• Did first year teachers have a defining moment (or moments) that led to a teaching career? ICCTE Conference Azusa 2012
The Method• Timeframe 1999-2009• Semi-standardized interview structure• NVIVO and hand coded with a qualitative descriptive analysis• 1 hour personal interviews – later transcribed. ICCTE Conference Azusa 2012
The Participants• N= 149 Interviews• Response rate 17% of recent graduates from 1999-2009• Male = 24 Female = 125• Seattle Pacific University Programs – Traditional UG 90 – Masters of Arts in Teaching 21 – Post Baccalaureate 12 – Alternative Routes to Certification 26 ICCTE Conference Azusa 2012
Findings• Definite difference between understanding of calling and vocation.• 93% of first year teachers see teaching as a “calling”• 59% are influenced by other teachers (both good and bad) as a reason to choose the profession. ICCTE Conference Azusa 2012
Define “Calling” Other 5% Same as Vocation 3% Service "I want to serve children" 9% Something I was meant to do 28%Specific Gift or Talent 12% Spiritual "God Called Me" Heart/Dream "always 27% dreamed of…" 16% ICCTE Conference Azusa 2012
Define Vocation Other 6% Making MoneySpiritual 7% 7% Job Skill 45% 7% Call 5% Career 23% ICCTE Conference Azusa 2012
Is Teaching a Calling or Vocation? Other 7% Vocation 11% Calling 64% Both 18% ICCTE Conference Azusa 2012
Who influenced decision? Family members 16% Advice from others 20% Teachers (Both good and poor) 59%Tutoring or working with students 5% ICCTE Conference Azusa 2012