The Urban Review

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 269–280 | Cite as

Why bright college students won't teach

  • Barnett Berry


A case study of the career expectations of noneducation college seniors (primarily in high demand fields) reveals that present policies, such as career ladders, merit pay, and traditional college loan programs, may have little positive impact on their consideration of teaching as a career alternative. For the brightest of the students, the most significant reasons why they won't teach relatenot to the lack of financial reward in teaching, but to frustrating working conditions, bureaucratic requirements, the lack of professional control, and few opportunities for intellectual growth, as well as their intolerance for diversity in the workplace and their perception of teaching as a “boring job.” In most cases, these negative “lessons” about teaching were learned while they were public school students. The recent movement to professionalize teaching would appear to be an important step in luring these bright students into teaching. However, professionalism alone will not ensure a school district's ability to attract and retain bright college students as teachers.


School District Education Research Financial Reward Recent Movement Significant Reason 
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Copyright information

© Agathon Press, Inc. 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barnett Berry
    • 1
  1. 1.College of EducationUniversity of South CarolinaColumbia

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