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Teachers as Mothers

  • By: Sharon M. Abbey
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Mothers are normally their children's first teachers, and education begins long before formal schooling. Sara Lightfoot highlights the complex, multidimensional interaction between home and school by placing mothers and female elementary teachers at the center of the socialization process. However, there is an ambiguity about who has the right to govern certain areas of a child's life as well as a struggle for clarity of boundary lines.

These women often encounter an uneasy relationship as they compete with each other in a struggle for power and status. Teachers want to be respected as professional experts with a measure of autonomy. They also want to develop rich, nurturing relationships with children that are separate and distinct from home. Mothers want their children's teachers to be accountable ...

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