A study of the ideal teacher : heroic metaphors of teacher in popular literature

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Steven Forrest Underwood (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
David E. Purpel

Abstract: One of the important problems teachers face today is an alienation that has developed from a loss of mythic grounding of the ideal. The dissertation focuses on the question of what is meant by the ideal teacher. The paper delineates three realms of the ideal teacher, a spiritual realm, a cultural realm, and a professional realm. These powerful images are examined against a backdrop of an ever expanding fourth realm, the bureaucratic or technocratic ideal which the author states can never be heroic. Archetypes are examined for each realm and a category system is developed that envisions the three realms as linked by heroic purpose or activity. The effect of bureaucracy on those realms is then assessed. The author posits the belief that the bureaucratic mode and behaviorist evaluations of teachers have denied the possibility of teachers engaging in heroic action. Images of heroic teacher are expressed in popular culture which also reflect Images of the ideal. This Idea is examined in three recent reflections of the teacher as hero. They are Pat Conroy's autobiography The Water is Wide: the film Stand and Deliver, Which centers on Jaime Escalante; and John Updike's The Centaur, the story of George Caldwell, a teacher whose persona is mythologically represented by Chiron, the wisest of the Centaurs.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1992
Teachers $x Attitudes
Teachers in literature

Email this document to