Teachers’ Workload: Evidence and Ambiguity on Professional Identity

Teachers’ Workload: Evidence and Ambiguity on Professional Identity

The Open Sports Sciences Journal 28 Nov 2014 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1875399X01407010172


Understanding changes in the teaching profession as means of State control implies the hypothesis of teachers’ identity reconfiguration. The use of time may be viewed as a powerful tool in rebuilding teachers’ identity as well as an important element in the process of developing professional identity. This study aims at describing and analyzing secondary level teachers’ actual workload, and it relies on the empirical data available concerning different national contexts, and on a description of the teachers’ work composition. This description was obtained through enquiries about the daily work of teachers from different subjects. The methodology used focused on multiple case studies, and the inquiries were conducted in two Portuguese secondary schools. The main results of these inquiries show the teachers’ overwork, and a significant dispersion through several types of tasks. Another important result shows that the available institutional data needs to be read along with the empirical studies conducted, for the latter reveal that teaching can no longer be considered a soft profession, particularly due to the workload and the need to develop very different but simultaneous skills. The increased control of the State over schools and teachers, and the increment of a wider set of tasks regarding school bureaucracy, organization and projects represent a significant percentage of the teachers’ work time.

Keywords: Professional identity, professionalization, state control, teachers’ identity, teachers’ workload, teachers’ control, teaching.