“Being A Teacher In The Midst Of Managerialist Reforms: histories and representations of secondary school teachers”
ESA 11th Conference: Crisis, Critique and Change
In line with the tendency of reforms occurring in European education systems at the end of the XXth century and beginning of the XXIst, Portuguese national education policies lead to a restructuring of teachers' work in accordance with the “new public management”. We take off from a conception of professions as a dynamic and social construction, and therefore consider that it is important to understand how these reforms have provided the stage for conflict and negotiation and have been projected into teachers' professional consciousness, by drawing an updated picture of the profession from the inside. To this end, this research worked up the Life Histories of a group of 47 secondary school teachers from different regions of Portugal. It takes off from a theoretical model which involves the influence of the various agents (namely, the state and the collective professional actors, whose function is to disseminate discourses and representations) upon biographical dimensions shaped by professional experience and participation in professional associations and unions in order to unravel the meanings attributed by teachers to the profession. We portray professional paths marked by frustration with expectations and situations of vulnerability that erode professional commitment, especially in case of veteran teachers and those who actively participation in unions. We conclude that a common identity of collective resistance does not exist within this professional group and that pragmatism - as teachers seek to adapt to new working conditions, can forge a new profile for teachers’ identity, that of teacher-employees who are willing to give up professional prerogatives.
managerialism, educational reforms, teaching profession