Skip to main content

Teacher Under Construction: For My Fellow Future Teachers

Recently, NPR has released a number of articles regarding the drop of students enrolling in teacher education programs. In Eric Westervelt’s article, “Where Have All The Teachers Gone?” he discusses the various reasons young people may be deterred from the profession:

  • teachers having less control over professional lives
  • “an increasingly bitter, politicized environment”
  • low pay
  • a profession that is increasingly forced to be “obsessed with testing and standards”

Similarly, another NPR author asked teachers to share why they stay, which I find important and refreshing especially in contrast to public resignation letters. But, there is something missing from these articles–the future teachers themselves who continue to enter the field. Is it because they perceive future teachers as ignorant to the world around them? Is it because they are so convinced that we are apathetic (those darn me-me-me millenials!)?


There needs to be a radical shift of perceptions of the next generation of teachers. I won’t go into my explanation of why current teachers should stop discouraging us from entering the field again (if you’d like to hear my reasons, you can find that here). I will, however, re-highlight that there are a number of future teachers who are aware of what’s happening. I will stand up for my peers and remind others that there are many future teachers who are aware of the oppressive reforms, de facto school segregation, school to prison pipeline, pressure of high-stakes testing, etc.

Yet, regardless of this awareness, we still choose to go into teaching. 

We choose to still go into teaching because we understand that historically, the greatest triumphs against oppression was never won by just giving up and giving up hope. We choose to move onward because we see current teachers in the field who still fight everyday in and outside their classroom for better.


Jose Vilson, author of “This is Not A Test,” NY teacher. Follow: @TheJLV


Gregory Michie, Chicago Teacher, author of “Holler if You Hear Me.” Follow: @GregoryMichie


Michelle Gunderson, Chicago Teacher

Xian Barrett, Chicago Teacher. Follow: @xianb8

We choose to still go into a constantly attacked profession because we believe there is something worth fighting for.

Understanding this, a group of future teachers from across the country and I have launched a new project: The Young Teachers Collective.


I am lucky to get to work with future educators who have testified at their state house against harmful education bills, organized protests and workshops on their campuses, and so much more. Through this project, we hope to:

  • Develop political consciousness among our peers that will be entering the education profession
  • Develop the tools/skills necessary for young people to organize themselves
  • Create a network of support while in college and during the first years of teaching
  • Provide young teachers with both a sense of hope and tools on how to fight for a better education system
  • Advocate and work towards a common vision for the future of education
  • Strengthen our presence in discussions about education
  • Create a space to share\suggest resources to build consciousness as well as materials to use in the classroom

We are no longer going to allow our voices be ignored in conversations about the future of education–no more conversations about us, without us. Our voices, our perceptions, and our experiences matter.

If you are a future/new teacher who is interested in learning more about YTC, please fill out our interest form and we’ll get in touch as soon as possible. We hope that those who stand with us and agree with us will help us spread the word to other future/new teachers to help us build our network.

You can visit our website, follow us on Twitter (@YTCollective), like us on Facebook, and/or fill out our interest form here.

For my fellow future teachers, I love you, and continue struggling on.

This blog post has been shared by permission from the author.
Readers wishing to comment on the content are encouraged to do so via the link to the original post.
Find the original post here:

The views expressed by the blogger are not necessarily those of NEPC.

Stephanie Rivera

Stephanie Rivera is a student at Rutgers University. She is a future teacher and educational equity activist. ...