Teachers Living with HIV&AIDS:

Underplaying the Role of Emotions in the Implementation of HIV/AIDS Policy in Zimbabwean Primary Schools

In: From microscope to kaleidoscope

In most of the governmental policies on HIV&AIDS in Southern Africa, teachers are viewed not as a target group but as facilitators of the learning process. As a result, the dominant images of teachers in most of the literature is that of teachers as vehicles for delivering the curriculum to pupils, teachers as mentors and counsellors, teachers as role-models for young people, and teachers as guardians of children’s rights (Coombe & Kelly, 2001; Gachuhi 1999; Government of Netherlands, 1998). But do these policy images of teachers resonate with how HIV-positive teachers see themselves in the context of HIV&AIDS? Is it reasonable to assume that HIV-positive teachers will continue to play their expected roles in the fight against AIDS when their own realities and identities do not reflect how they are framed in policy? What do we know about the emotional experiences of teachers living with HIV/AIDS? How do their emotions affect the way they experience, understand and respond to government policy on HIV&AIDS education in schools?

In this chapter I argue that it is not enough to merely articulate a policy – it needs to be communicated in such a way that it gains acceptance and even approval from those who have to take responsibility for the realisation of outcomes. I follow a stream of thought that suggests that this identity conflict might lie at the heart of the implementation dilemma in the school-based HIV&AIDS curricula in Zimbabwe. The emerging results from my study suggest that the ‘policy images’ of teachers make demands that conflict with their ‘emotional identities’ as practitioners.