Article i 'Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv' no. 2 2007, page 55-66.
English resume

Modernization and Stress in the Upper Secondary Schoolteachers’ Profession

Åse Lading


The article is based on a study of upper secondary school teachers’ experience of working in a time of transition. Demands that teachers work in cross-curricular teams are introduced as part of an overall modernization of the school system. This has generally increased the level of stress among teachers. Although it is normally assumed to be otherwise, the teams seem to limit the de-stressing aspects of collegial relations. What is surprising, however, is that teachers don’t see this as seriously interfering with their feelings of community in the professional group as a whole. Almost all teachers indicate that they see the psychological climate in the common room as “quite good” or “very good”.
The paradoxes and seeming contradictions in these experiences are analyzed and discussed in the light of Alex Honneth’s concepts of recognition and violation of the rights to recognition as well as psychodynamically inspired group relations theories.
These lead to an interpretation that lay open teachers’ feelings of devaluation in the modernization process, a process that leads to anxiety and stress. This becomes the basis of an idealization of the fellowship of the common room, and the mutual recognition that the teachers hope to find there. Conflicts and differences are thus subconsciously denied in this context. The perspective is not that teaching teams should be counteracted, but the work with and in them ought to be qualified. This reinforces the need for supporting an open culture in the school system where differences are seen as departures for recognition, learning end development. This is taken as an important precondition for the reduction of stress among the teachers.



Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv

(Journal for Working Life)


 

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in Danish frontpage Nyt om arbejdsliv
editor Jørgen Burchardt