Teaching is demanding work. Teachers—particularly those working in under-resourced schools—often feel pressure to do more than they feel they have the capacity to do to meet the demands of their students, their administrators, state and local policies, their curriculum, and many other stakeholders. To remain in the profession, teachers must navigate these pressures and make instructional choices accordingly.
What or who do secondary mathematics teachers feel morally and ethically beholden to as they make pedagogical decisions?
How are we addressing the Research Question?
Thus far we have analyzed a transcript of an emotionally-intense conversation in which watching a documentary about a nearby alternative school prompts a large group of teachers to wonder what they’re trying to accomplish, as mathematics teachers, and why. In this conversation, teachers raise numerous obligations that they experience as being in tension with one another.
Additionally, based off of a different conversation during a VFF debrief, we are also exploring the role of teacher emotions in their sensemaking process.
We hope that by tracing what or who secondary mathematics teachers feel beholden to, we can better understand what influences the instructional decisions they make, what motivates them to do the work they do, and how they see their work.