The Realities of Teachers' Work: Never a Dull Moment follows the fortunes of the teachers at Hillview Primary School over ten years. It explores what it is like to be a primary or elementary school teacher in an urban school with about 200 children, and suggests what we may learn from them for the future. Sandra Acker links her research with other literature on teachers' work, and describes the school as a workplace, focusing on four key features: the characteristics of the children, the school's physical setting, the available resources, and the ethos of the school. She successfully places us in the classroom, giving vivid images of daily interactions with the children, and shows too how teaching extends far beyond the classroom door. The book explores the caring culture that has developed among teachers and helps them to cope with the difficulties they encounter. It also considers the school as located in the wider community by looking at changes in teachers' careers ovre time and the effects on Hillview of recent educational reform. This book shows us how and why we need to revise our assumptions about schools and teachers and see them not as isolated individuals in closed classrooms and self-contained schools, but as an integral part of a much broader community. Above all, it shows that teaching is hard, demanding work that is influenced by workplace cultures and the gendered expectations society holds about teachers. Sandra Acker is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto in Canada.
"Acker succeeded...in her valiant attempt to make the familiar strange by embroidering theoretical discourse throughout the case descriptions." Curriculum Inquiry