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Two qualitative studies examined the effects of an expanding
work role on teachers’ working conditions. Relying on extensive ethnographic
data collected from two India high schools over a two-year period, Bartlett
(2004) investigated the increased work  demands
placed on teachers (including leadership and collaborative roles in curriculum development
and assessment systems) and the effects of those increased demands.  The author found that organizational support
was critical in determining teachers’ response to their expanded work role.
Teachers in the school demonstrating commitment to integrating additional
demands into the regular structure of the school (South High School) reported
being much more engaged and committed to their jobs than those teachers whose additional
work demands were simply piled onto their existing job requirements without an underlying
change in school structure (the East High School teachers). The East High School
teachers were therefore only able to satisfy the requirements of their expanded
work role by extending their workday, working on average a full 3 hours more
each day than their counterparts at South High School. Seven of the 12 East
High School teachers interviewed expressly reported experiencing WLC; all of
these 7 teachers identified the long hours spent in their work roles as causing
strain in their non-work relationships, loss of sleep and lost recreational
opportunities. Notwithstanding a lack of financial incentives for these
additional work hours, the East High School teachers continued to strive to
maintain their expanded work roles. Based on the interview data, Bartlett
identified three possible related motivations behind this: teachers came to
equate this expanded work role with good teaching practice; teachers felt a
moral obligation with respect to teaching; and teachers wanted to live up to their
own internal standards as well as those set by their colleagues. Given the
absence of monetary compensation for much of the work done by teachers and the
moral motivations for overwork identified in this study, Bartlett concluded
that teaching (and other types of care work such as social work) should be
examined using an alternative framework from that which has been applied in the
overwork literature to date.

Ballet and Kelchtermans (2009) used a multiple case studies
design to examine four elementary schools in Belgium. The authors sought to
refine the concept of “intensification” (Apple, 1986), the pressure felt by
teachers due to increasing demands of policy-makers and societal expectations
which are becoming more economically driven and result in greater emphasis
being placed on efficiency, heightened scrutiny and accountability for teachers
and less involvement in decision-making by teachers themselves. 

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One of the themes identified by the authors was the pressure
placed on teachers as a result of external calls for change (for example, by
policy-makers, school boards and parent groups). Teachers found these calls for
change undermined their self-confidence and forced them to prove their
competence. Another theme was the strong motivation to be a good teacher: teachers
found calls for change compelling precisely because it was important to them to
be seen to be fulfilling the requirements of their profession. However, because
policy decisions and other calls for change may not take into account the
practical realities of day-to-day teaching, teachers often incorporated the new
policies while preserving their own tried-and-true systems as a way of
regaining control over their working conditions. This strategy had the effect
of increasing their own workload and making it difficult to find a balance
between work and family life.

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