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Miech, Richard A. & Elder, Glen H., Jr. (1996). The Service Ethic and Teaching. Sociology of Education, 69, 237-253.


The values that shape individuals' career decisions are not necessarily reinforced by subsequent work experience. Those who value service to society, for example, are most likely to enter teaching, but qualitative research suggests that service-oriented teachers encounter much frustration and are prime candidates for leaving teaching. This study investigated the effect of motivation for service on persistence in teaching among two cohorts of American teachers: a 1960s cohort in an era that highlighted the call to public service and a 1970s cohort in a more egocentric era. The authors found that strong service values increased the likelihood that men in both cohorts and women in the 1970s cohort would leave the profession, but not women in the 1960s cohort, when few alternative careers were open to women.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Sociology of Education


Miech, Richard A.
Elder, Glen H., Jr.