Teacher’s Work in Changing Educational Contexts

Balancing the Role and the Person

Auli Toom and Jukka Husu

This chapter elaborates the two central features that shape and cultivate the work of teachers. It highlights the importance of understanding teaching both as a role behavior and as an expression of an individual teacher’s abilities and personality. Teachers act within the borders of their role, and simultaneously, they need to find ways to express their subjectivity and personal qualities in their teaching. The chapter employs the concept of authenticity to reveal and elaborate the connections between role and personal demands in teaching, as authenticity always occurs within its social and institutional contexts. It presupposes that what teachers do should match not only to what they believe but should also be consistent with the institutional demands, structures, and constraints of their work. The chapter presents a model to analyze the spaces where teachers do their professional work as well as identify and understand multiple structures, tensions and resources related to it.

Finnish Teachers as ‘Makers of the many’

Balancing between Broad Pedagogical Freedom and Responsibility

Auli Toom and Jukka Husu

Finnish teachers have been the focus of interest of the international media, public decision makers and politicians as well as researchers into teaching. The results of Finnish pupils in PISA have encouraged many people to inquire about the characteristics and atmosphere of Finnish schools, especially the working conditions, as well as the enthusiastic, committed orientation of Finnish teachers. This chapter describes the work of Finnish teachers, their pedagogical responsibilities and freedom related to their role as well as their pedagogical thinking at the background of their everyday work in classrooms with pupils. Finnish teachers participate in the administrative and the pedagogical decision-making processes of their own schools as well as at the various levels of the Finnish school system; they are able to influence their work, and thus, they have broad pedagogical freedom and also broad responsibilities related to these role tasks. Finnish teachers manage their work as teachers and educators by negotiating, dialogue, a democratic way of pedagogical thinking and acting in challenging situations. These ways of working are based on a certain kind of ethos, which is mainly characterized by hope and trust among teachers, principals, and administrators. This kind of ethos provides additional support for successful teaching. Finnish teachers are committed to learning, participation and active agency in their pedagogy, in their collaborations with various people as well as active participation in questions related to schooling and education. Their academic, master’s level teacher education as well as their societal role encourage them to act according to this manner. Although Finnish teachers are committed to their work, recent research and reports of teacher’s trade organizations have shown that they also feel inadequate and exhausted by their work.

Jukka Husu and D. Jean Clandinin


Based on our editorial work on the Sage Handbook of Research on Teacher Education (2017), this chapter reviews current research that allows us to extend the scope of teacher educators and their learning. We developed a distinction between two kinds of scholarship, integration and disruption. A scholarship of integration allows us to bring ideas together while a scholarship of disruption allows us to both to contemplate Dewey’s (1929) idea of uncertainty and to take an inquiry stance. We use these two kinds of scholarship to discern different interpretations that guide understandings of teacher educator learning. By stretching the boundaries of teacher education outside of schools of education and classrooms, we review relevant research literature to offer insights that can help develop new ways of engaging in teacher education. We conclude that research on teacher education is not about clear answers, solutions, or theories but about understanding the complexities of how we are thinking about, and engaging in, the practices and policies of teacher education.

Jukka Husu, Sanna Patrikainen and Auli Toom