PRIVATE METAPHORS AND PUBLIC WORLDS: Symbols of Domesticity and Women Teachers’ Work in Global Times Jo-Anne Dillabough (please do not cite this work without the permission of the author).
PRIVATE METAPHORS AND PUBLIC WORLDS: Symbols of Domesticity and Women Teachers’ Work in Global TimesJo-Anne Dillabough(please do not cite this work without the permission of the author)
I read the collection Fathers: Reflections by Daughters, or Ann Oakley’s Taking it Like a Women and feel the painful and familiar sense of exclusion from these autobiographies of middle class girlhood and womanhood, envy of those who belong, who can, like Ann Oakley, use the outlines of conventional romantic fiction to tell a life story. And women like this, friends say: but it was like that for me too, my childhood was like yours....What they cannot bear, I think, is that there exists a poverty and marginality of experience to which they have no access, ‘structures of feeling’ that they have not lived within (and would not want to because these are structures of deprivation).... They are caught then in a terrible exclusion, an exclusion from the experiences of others that measures out their own central relationship to culture. Carolyn Steadman, ‘Landscape of a Good Woman’
FOUR CONCEPTUAL FRAMES
1. WOMEN’S WORK AND PROFESSIONAL IDENTITY AS CENTRAL TO THE REPRODUCTION OF SYMBOLIC RITUAL
*assess cultural/symbolic elements of work organization and its manifestations in women’s narratives of working life. What are the symbolic codes which have, as Lois McNay argues, sedimented over time in teaching/teacher education? What are the discourses which continue to shape teacher education as a discipline and a field of work for women? What are the symbolic rituals and conventions which can be detected in the culture of work and which both undermine and shape women’s conceptions of professionalism?
2. WOMEN’S POSITION IN THE HISTORY OF DEMOCRACY AND CITIZENSHIP
* links two concepts: the rise of women’s work in education and the academy with women’s symbolic location in the private elements of democracy. What precisely did democracy or the private hold for women in the ‘service professions’? What does service or professionalism mean to women teachers in the state? What do these terms, particularly when they are linked with social welfare, mean when they are applied to the category of women’s work? How do we critique the category of women’s work keeping the metaphor of the private in mind? How does women’s work in the academy at times both resemble elements of change and continuity?
3. Interpretation and Subjectivity
*one’s interpretive registers of working life not only reflects working conditions but also the tensions and paradoxes in relation to the ‘self’. Who is the working self, who is the professional self, what is the history of the profession, what link does the working self have to this historical elements of female subjectivity as they have developed through time
4. Worker Narratives as Gendered Habitus
*one’s narrative of working life provides the epistemological and empirical tools for understanding the uneven and differentiated reproduction of a gendered habitus of working life as it is reflected in teaching and teacher education
Research Study 1: Retrenchment, Work Intensification and De-professionalization (8-12 context)
I took on the job not because I wanted it but because the head was leaving..it’s recently been scaled back from
Major headship to a minor headship because of cuts…I find that very frustrating..I’m overwhelmed with all the
Details, the meetings, the consumables….Nevertheless even with a only a very few personality problems I find it Overwhelming…I feel guilty about the fact that I go to my classes and shoot from the hip because I don’t have time Prep because I’ve been doing department stuff…so not having a prep period, which is cutbacks…now we have to be available to all elementary schools to help them improve their curriculum and that’s impossible.. I can barely keep up with responsibilities in this building..so teachers are asked to do more and more with less and less
We should all be ‘coming to a space where they[we] feel we own it.. That the students are comfortable, they are safe, and they want to be here…That’s what we should be trying to do and we can’t do because we are too overwelmed..so the best I can do is create that in space in the four walls of my classroom…Kids come in and they need to be safe and um welcome, and so I can you know, no pejorative putdowns, no racial slurs,,,,but they I go into the halls and I pass colleagues who are too tired to deal with…to deal with the challenges low inome kids face…The hallway is a big place. The kids spend a lot of time there and they abused there…and we are just walking by because we are too overwhelmed …[There is no teaching to assess]
ANALYTICAL CONCEPTIONS: SPATIAL DIVISION OF LABOUR, EMOTIONAL VS ACADEMIC LABOUR OF
TEACHERS, URBAN CONCENTRATION OF POVERTY AS SPACE WHERE DE-PROFESSIONALIZATION
IS INTENSIFIED, HABITUS OF ‘CARING’ AND ‘PROTECTION’
I’m pretty confident that 80% or more have part time jobs. Many of them work 20-40 hours a week..
Many go with their parents to work at night and they come to school tired…I appreciate that and I respect that and they know
It’s not that my expectations are lower. [.I come in early] and they do their homework then and I don’t mind as long as they do it..
They don’t boast about the fact that there is no milk in the house..they come very tough backgrounds..It’s an achievement
for them to get to school …[only we have no literacy training to teach many of them…but we are asked to do it].
The reason I’m at this school is because of the diversity..a lot of our kids come from different countries..refugee or
immigrant statusAnd the reason I need to stay at this school is because I need to be a mentor for this kids..I went through
tough times here, being a teenager…These kids are needy and I need to be here for them..They need understanding
Surveillance, Social Control and its Role in Reconfiguring Professional Identity
There’s a teacher assessment done but the administration they understand how difficult the new model is..
it was totally ridiculous in terms of expectations, the admin was rather desperate [having to prove our worth the
Board..so nobody did it basically you couldn’t do it and run a school…You’d spend the
whole time evaluating the teachers [so guess whose under the gun]…
So we’re supposed to evaluate a third of the staff over a three period, each
Staff member will have been evaluated by the administration, then you’ve had your pre-interview and your
Professional growth…[guess who has to look after it all]….
ANALYTIC CONCEPTIONS: REGULATION OF STATUS OF WORKER, GENDER AND
DE-PROFESSIONALIZATION, NOVEL FORMS OF GENDERED REPRODUCTION
Research Study 2: Gender, Retrenchment and Professional Legitimacy (Teacher Education)
Women as ‘Units of Production’ or ‘Objects of Marketizing’ Reforms
(Teacher Education, Canada, with S. Acker)
Women who are in the teacher ed. management positions are knocking themselves out. [They] are being completely destroyed by these kinds of economic measures. (Carin, TE, Canada)