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  Chapter 1
  Chapter 2
  Chapter 3
  Chapter 4
  Chapter 5
  Chapter 6
  Chapter 7
  Chapter 8
  Chapter 9
  Chapter 10
  Chapter 11
  Chapter 12
CCVLC Teachers/ Paolo Freire Posters
Digging Deeper: Chapter 12
Teaching to Change the World: A Profession and a Hopeful Struggle

Further Reading

  • William Ayers is Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (retired). He has written numerous books about teaching and social justice. One of his best-known books is To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher (New York: Teachers College Press, 2001). More of his writing, as well as videos and other information can be found online.
  • Paulo Freire’s book Teachers as Cultural Workers: Letters to Those Who Dare Teach (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1998), the last book written before his death, focuses on the issues that teachers face in their classrooms, between colleagues, with parents, and in relation to their administration. The book touches on most of the themes in Freire’s lifetime of work on education as the practice of freedom.
  • Ann Lieberman, an emeritus professor from Teachers College, Columbia University, is now a senior scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. She studies and writes about the importance of teacher networks for teacher learning and school change. Teachers might be especially interested in reading Teachers, Their World and Their Work: Implications for School Improvement (New York: Teachers College Press, 1992) and How Teachers Become Leaders (New York: Teachers College Press, 2010), written with Linda Friedrich.
  • Why We Teach (New York: Teachers College Press, 2005), edited by Sonia Nieto, is a collection of essays written by teachers at varying stages in their careers. The teachers share their thoughts about why they teach and what keeps them inspired, despite some teachers’ frustrations with the current state of public education policy. AND What keeps teachers going?
  • Mike Rose, a UCLA education professor, has written two very readable and compelling books about the problems and possibilities of schools for low-income children. His first book, Lives on the Boundary: The Struggles and Achievements of America’s Underprepared (New York: Penguin, 1990), detailed how low-achieving and minority students have been disregarded and mistreated in schools. In Possible Lives: The Promise of Public Education in America (Penguin, 1999), Rose visits classrooms across the United States and reports on his findings. He takes readers to a one-room schoolhouse in Montana, a bilingual elementary classroom on the California-Mexico border, and a large urban high school, among others. The stories Rose tells are those of ordinary but excellent teachers working in classrooms throughout the country.

Websites to Peruse

  • Democracy and Educationis a quarterly journal for teachers that promotes educational practices that help students develop democratic attitudes and values. The journal provides teachers committed to democratic education with a forum for sharing ideas with a support network of people holding similar values, and with opportunities for professional development.
  • The Occasional Papers Series published by Bank Street College of Education covers a range of current topics in education and are written primarily by progressive teachers and teacher educators. Two editions of the series that may be of interest are titled Teacher Leaders: Transforming Schools from the Inside and Classroom Life in the Age of Accountability. They can be accessed online.
  • In his Living in Dialogue blog, Anthony Cody writes about a variety of education reform issues. Cody, who worked in Oakland public schools for 24 years, primarily as a middle-school science teacher, is a strong advocate of school reform that starts with teachers.
  • Rethinking Schools, found at, is a nonprofit organization committed to equity and social justice. Rethinking Schools publishes educational materials, including a quarterly journal and numerous books.
  • Teaching for Change is a not-for-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., that provides teachers and parents with the tools to transform schools into more equitable and social just centers of learning. Its website includes many unique resources, including an online catalog of books, videos, and posters for the classroom, as well as links to other justice-oriented organizations and teaching resources.
  • The PBS documentary The First Year follows the emotional journey of five beginning teachers in the Los Angeles public school system. The documentary’s accompanying website provides the story of the documentary as well as information about the five teachers. Two of the teachers are graduates of the UCLA program featured in this book; in fact, we quote one of those teachers, Georgene Acosta, in this chapter.

Resources for Teaching

  • Many teachers find fellow teacher Linda Christiansen’s book Reading, Writing, and Rising Up: Teaching About Social Justice and the Power of the Written Word (Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, 2000) to be both practical and inspirational. The book offers essays, lesson plans, and a remarkable collection of student writing focused on language arts teaching for justice.
  • Search your local area for groups of progressive educators committed to social justice. Local organizations frequently provide resources for teachers as well as sponsor a variety of events. Some such organizations include the New York Collective of Radical Educators in New York City, and Teachers 4 Social Justice in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • While there are a plethora of resources available to educators, taking the time to talk to colleagues and observe in colleagues’ classrooms can provide valuable wisdom and support, as well as tangible ideas that you can implement in your own classroom. Teaching can be isolating work, especially when educators remain cloistered in their own classrooms. Most accomplished teachers enjoy the opportunity to have a new teacher take the initiative and seek their advice on particular areas of expertise.
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