This essay seeks to serve as both commentary and plea to elementary teacher educators and gatekeepers. It first asks us to consider that the culture of elementary teacher education, while characteristically an honorable and moral vocation, can indeed function as an oppressive and marginalizing force in the development, humanization, and growth of aspiring new teachers. Second, it entreats those who work in teacher education to foster, seek out, and support those individuals who find themselves at the diverse, intellectual, creative, and aesthetic margins of traditional elementary teacher preparation norms. To its detriment, the cultural disenfranchisement of these seemingly unconventional new teachers limits the richness of curriculum possibilities, pedagogy, and identity development towards humanization (Freire, 2000). As Danielewicz (2001) suggests and this essay endeavors to make a central thesis, “Teaching is a moral act. A teacher education program should recognize, celebrate, and honor the intentions of prospective teachers who so often feel committed to improving the lives of others, alleviating social inequalities, and eradicating discrimination” (p. 194).
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