The teachers of the 1970s have an enduring influence on the students in classrooms across America, but the past may be returning to haunt them.
The students of today may not be able to see the past, but they will remember their teachers.
A new study from Northwestern University has found that teachers and students of that era had a profound impact on each other.
“Teachers had an impact on students who were going to school, in ways that students have not had in the past,” said Andrew Zimbalist, associate professor of education at Northwestern.
Zimbalism and his co-author, Matthew M. Smith, associate director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research, studied a group of students who came from a low-income neighborhood in Chicago, in the 1960s.
They were not from a rich or white background, but their socioeconomic status and their parents’ educational attainment had a big impact on their lives.
The students were also in some cases the first generation of students in a neighborhood where there was a strong sense of social injustice.
Many students from low-class backgrounds had been pushed out of the neighborhood and into the streets.
For many, their parents had to deal with the consequences of their parents not being able to afford to send them to school.
In the 1970’s, students from lower-class and middle-class families experienced more discrimination in school.
It was the first time in the history of the United States that racial discrimination was more common than it was in other countries, Zimbalsis said.
There were other social issues that were prevalent at the time, including racial and gender segregation, poor mental health, drug abuse and incarceration.
It’s important to remember, too, that teachers were not the only ones who had a direct impact on the lives of students.
Teachers also had the opportunity to be leaders.
Some teachers believed that they had a duty to their students, Zimbalsis told ABC News.
They had the freedom to make a difference, even if it was to their own students, he said.
“What that means is you have the right to do what you believe is right.
It may be right for the students or it may not, but you have a duty as a teacher to do it.”
In their book “The Education of the Teachers: An American History,” the authors said that the teachers who worked in schools in the early years of the 20th century believed that it was their job to educate students and provide an environment that was respectful and supportive.
Teachers also believed that their job was to help students succeed academically, but it was also to help them become better people, Zima told ABCNews.com.
He added, “Teachers were trained to give students the best possible education.
And that education was to prepare them for their jobs in the future.”
When students went to college, they were often given the option to pursue a career in education, but Zima said that was not always the case.
Many teachers were able to support themselves in their jobs by teaching in a community school or in other settings that they felt were supportive, he added.
Even though there was an increased awareness of the need to teach in the public school system in the 1970S, many students did not feel comfortable with the idea of a public school education, Smith said.
In fact, he noted, there was widespread dissatisfaction among students.
To some students, it felt like they were not being treated equally, Smith added.
They felt like their peers were not as good as they thought they were.
For many, teachers were viewed as having a duty, even though the teaching profession was a low status occupation that did not offer a career path, Smith told ABCnews.com The results of the study were published in the American Educational Research Journal.
Smith and Zima are both working to improve the education of the next generation of teachers and teachers of color.
They are working to find ways to get them into the profession in ways other than just taking them on as a student teacher, they said.
They also want to increase the diversity of the teaching force.
The National Association of Black Teachers (NABT) said that, based on the findings of the new study, the profession needs to focus on creating more diverse teachers.
“We have to do a better job of providing people who are diverse with opportunities for leadership and education,” NABT Executive Director Tanya Brown said in a statement.
“If we can do that, we can have more diversity and more positive impact on our children’s education.”