Philippine Standard time

At the Forefront of Reforms: Teacher Emotion and Agency in the Appropriation of Recent Education Initiatives in the Philippines

The interpretation and implementation of education reforms are mediated by the teachers who enact them in multiple and complex ways as local conditions intersect with teacher emotions and identities. This study explores Filipino literacy teachers’ emotions vis-à-vis a series of educational reforms and the various articulations of teacher agency amid the constellation of resources and constraints in their local contexts. Teachers’ narratives suggest that they see themselves primarily as part of the system, feel grateful to be part of it, and feel responsible for the successful implementation of these reforms. Since the reforms are cascaded on a top-down model, teachers engage in “emotion management,” which are deliberate attempts to navigate through their subjective experiences to align their emotions with “normative requirements.” They employ “hidden scripts,” e.g., venting their emotions among themselves as a therapeutic social practice. Driven by their commitment to teaching as a caring profession, a sense of accountability grounded on their spirituality, and deep gratitude to the government’s initiative to improve the socio-economic status of public school teachers through the legislation of a salary standardization scheme, teachers creatively comply with mandates of the Department of Education resulting in various articulations of the reforms. Thus, although the teachers may be viewed from the surface as technicians who are uncritical of the system, a closer examination revealed teachers owning the reform through their creative appropriations of the program informed by their personal and professional experiences, a constant appraisal of the resources at their disposal, and their beliefs and aspirations.


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