The Status and Prestige of Teachers and Teaching

  • Linda Hargreaves
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 21)

Teachers are entrusted with the task of ensuring children's intellectual growth and preparing each new generation to meet the challenge of the future. One might expect that such important work would enjoy high status and considerable respect and reward within any society, but as we shall see this is not always the case: while teachers in some countries enjoy high salaries and comfortable working conditions, elsewhere they may have to do two jobs in order to survive, or they may not have been paid for months. Fortunately, as Lortie (1975) pointed out, teachers tend to seek the ‘psychic’ rewards — the desire to give children a good start in life and the pleasure of seeing them learn — rather than material rewards for their work. Unfortunately, Hoyle (2001), noting the British Labour government's determination to raise the image, morale and status of teachers [e.g., DfES (Department for Education and Skills), 1998] sees this vital relationship with children as ‘an intractable barrier’ to improved prestige for teachers. In this chapter we shall explore these matters further, beginning with definitions of status and prestige, moving on to consider the current status of teachers, the hypothetical determinants of teachers' status, the impact of various policies and, finally, the consequences of the status of teaching for the profession.


Teaching Profession Occupational Prestige International Standard Classification Teacher Status International Labour Office 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda Hargreaves
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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