ERIC Number: ED215964
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Autonomy in the Lives of Women Elementary Schoolteachers.
Biklen, Sari Knopp
A qualitative study of women elementary school teachers focused on the teachers' values, attitudes towards teaching, and how they negotiated their work interest with sex role and family expectations. Formal and informal interviews with teachers, administrators, and parents were conducted over a seven month period. Three perspectives provided the basis for the research: (1) sociology of occupations, which recognizes the importance of work to self-identity; 2) symbolic interaction, a phenomenological construct that assumes that behavior is significantly affected by its setting; and (3) feminism, which, in the research context, attempts to remove men as a measure of behavior. The teachers perceived a high degree of autonomy in their work, especially as compared with practices in other schools in their district. They felt that their principal respected and trusted them. However, two limitations caused frustration and anger. Frequently, bureaucratic problems forced teachers to contrast their ideals of service and professionalism with their treatment in the school district system. The second major limitation was the behavior of parents and their image of the teachers' role, both of which, the teachers felt, threatened the teachers' authority. Two important issues in teacher behavior and attitudes that must be considered as a result of these findings are how the structure of schools affect teachers' career patterns and the hostile feelings of women teachers toward mothers of their students. (FG)
Descriptors: Elementary Education, Elementary School Teachers, Females, Human Dignity, Individual Power, Locus of Control, Mothers, Parent Teacher Cooperation, Teacher Administrator Relationship, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Background, Teacher Behavior, Teacher Persistence, Teacher Role, Teacher Stereotypes, Teaching Conditions, Women Faculty
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, March 19-23, 1982).