The social status assigned to the occupation of “schoolteacher” in the United States is fraught with ambiguities and contradictions. On the one hand, teachers are considered to serve a special mission within society motivated by a desire to help others; on the other, teaching is degraded as easy work. In studies of occupational prestige, teachers are ranked below other professionals and have historically held a “special but shadowed” social standing. This standing may be related to unique characteristics of the job, including the relatively low requirements for occupational entry and the compulsory nature of schooling. Because the structural characteristics of teachers' work and cultural understandings of schooling vary across contexts, differences in the social status of teachers are observed both locally and internationally.

Teachers as Pseudo-Professionals

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