Trajectories and Experiences of Teaching Socialization in the Perspective of Gender

Alfrancio Ferreira Dias, Maria Helena Santana Cruz, Simone Silveira Amorim

American Journal of Educational Research

Trajectories and Experiences of Teaching Socialization in the Perspective of Gender

Alfrancio Ferreira Dias1, Maria Helena Santana Cruz1, Simone Silveira Amorim2,

1Federal University of Sergipe, Avenida Marechal Rondon, S/n - Jardim Rosa Elze, São Cristóvão - SE, 49100-000 - Brazil

2Tiradentes University, Av. Murilo Dantas, 300 - Farolândia, Aracaju - SE


The aim of this article is to show that the trajectories and experiences of teachers’ socialization are important to reflect about the senses and meanings assigned to the teaching practice. The methodological choice fell on qualitative approach, using Case Study to the collection of data, through the application of questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. It was concluded that the trajectories and the diversity of socialization experiences of teachers are relevant to the analysis of social gender relations in the teaching field. The fact is that it is in life trajectories that are configured senses and meanings of the teaching practice, highlighting its forms of production/reproduction in socialization spaces and in the relationship between training/work/family contexts.

Cite this article:

  • Alfrancio Ferreira Dias, Maria Helena Santana Cruz, Simone Silveira Amorim. Trajectories and Experiences of Teaching Socialization in the Perspective of Gender. American Journal of Educational Research. Vol. 4, No. 17, 2016, pp 1205-1212.
  • Dias, Alfrancio Ferreira, Maria Helena Santana Cruz, and Simone Silveira Amorim. "Trajectories and Experiences of Teaching Socialization in the Perspective of Gender." American Journal of Educational Research 4.17 (2016): 1205-1212.
  • Dias, A. F. , Cruz, M. H. S. , & Amorim, S. S. (2016). Trajectories and Experiences of Teaching Socialization in the Perspective of Gender. American Journal of Educational Research, 4(17), 1205-1212.
  • Dias, Alfrancio Ferreira, Maria Helena Santana Cruz, and Simone Silveira Amorim. "Trajectories and Experiences of Teaching Socialization in the Perspective of Gender." American Journal of Educational Research 4, no. 17 (2016): 1205-1212.

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1. Introduction

The trajectories and diversity of experiences of socialization among teachers are relevant to the analysis of social relations of gender in the work field, as workers experience several socialization places, according to the dimensions of production/reproduction, paid work/housework, work/family, work/labor union. Such dimensions provide teachers with new ways of reflecting on teaching knowledge and practice, by recognizing its specificities, identifications, individualities, subjectivities and differences, in the scope of the process of building their identities and, mainly, on the attempt of expanding their rights and citizenship.

Socialization is meant as a “[…] construction, destruction and reconstruction of identities related to several spheres of activity (mainly the professional one) that each individual finds along his or her lifetime and from which he or she must learn how to become actors and actresses” ([14], 2005, p. 18). Moreover, the assumption is that on the socialization space there is a dynamic and inseparable relation among identities and subjectivities of teachers, which contributes to their think over both objective and subjective conditions to the construction of a teaching identity.

It is important to consider such process as a place where life trajectories of men and women who act as teachers are designated by the “[…] social constructions shared with all of those who have subjective trajectories and homologous definitions of actors and actresses” ([15], p. 87). In other words, in socialization places, school, family and working trajectories of teachers influence identification processes, as their social experiences and practice modify and reconfigure the relations themselves, as these are not stable ones. Instead, identifications change and restructure themselves from their interactions [15].

The concept of identity depends on the “life trajectory of the individual and on the social configuration of each moment of their life, allowing the existence of subsequent socializations to that previous familiar one” ([9], p. 21). As noted, the senses of knowledge and teaching practice are intrinsically related to their subjectivities and identifications as well as comprehended in a singular relationship with life trajectories together with different kinds of experiences and socialization. According to Cruz [9], such diversity of experiences and socialization places teachers go through during their trajectories have been considered important in order to justify certain behaviors and possible adaptations to working situations, as well as their demonstrations in the working relations [5, 6, 13].

Based on this reflection, trajectories and socialization experiences of family, school professional, as well as through participation in social movements and other social groups have been thought herein as lived experiences, which extend qualification/education and have been configured as determinant to the insertion/permanence of teachers in their jobs. Therefore, the intention with this article is to demonstrate that in teachers’ life trajectories influence senses and the meaning given to their work, their ways of production on the socialization places and the relation among education/work/family context.

The adoption of the concept of gender in the scope of women and feminist studies has changed the gender into a scientific field. That concept has been comprehended as a turning point to another phase different from the first wave of feminism, and an announcer, someway, of a meaningful valorization of the different, of the political affirmation of differences, identity and equality processes; that is, the concept calls the attention to the diversity or differences inside the difference [13].

Identity is a process of building meanings and senses based on a cultural attribute or on a group of interrelated cultural attributes [20]. The identity of gender, however, is much more ambiguous than the feminist theories have been exploiting, as it has been crossed by values, positions, ways and beliefs. Discussions referring to the gender relations aim at developing a process of criticism and reformulation on the theoretical approaches, as well as the knowledge production through investigative practices [4, 12, 27].

Considering this line of reflection, gender is defended as a category of historic-cultural analysis [26], established by experience [35]. The cultural building of “[…] sex in gender and the asymmetry that characterizes all gender systems through different cultures (although each one of them in its way) have been understood as systematically related to the organization of social inequality” ([20], p. 232).

Joan Scott ([26], p. 97) also contributes to the grounding of this perspective, as he considers gender as “[…] a constitutive element of social relations grounded on the differences noticed between genders”. Thus, gender has been seen as an explicative category to the historic-cultural analysis, due to the fact that its elaboration has been inserted in the group of social relations, in the construction of such relations and in the cultural processes experienced by society. Therefore, identifications of men and women are product of social relations. It is believed that gender is established by the “experiences”, because it is in everyday moments that people tend to express their culture.

In the context of Brazilian research, we can mention the work of Louro [21], post-structural work on the gender perspective as a category of analysis made from the feminist movement studies. The author proposes a “plural thought” linking the concept of gender to social representations and not to the biological arguments anymore. Thus, the reasons for inequalities need to be “[...] sought not in the biological differences (if even these can be understood outside their social constitution), but in social arrangements, in history, in terms of access to resources of society, in the forms of representation” ([21], p. 22).

The discussion of the gender, in this case, is thought through the characterization of what is masculine and what is feminine in society, the ways in which the individuals understand and represent their identifications in social practices that take on new contours in the historical process. The concept of gender “[...] becomes then used as a strong relational appeal - as it is in the social relationships that genders are built” ([21], p. 22). In this perspective, to review the male and female characteristics in the social context, as proposed by the author, it is necessary to think about the social relationships built by men and women and not only prioritize women in their analyzes. The understanding of “relational appeal” is centered on the contextualization (in which it is stated or implied) on gender.

In this line of thought, Cruz and França [10] point out that to think about the definition of gender, as a social construct, is an “organizing principle” that influences peoples’ experiences, the ways to analyze and reflect about the social phenomena. Thus, the individuals construct their subjectivities through a broaden participation in social relations in a process of “internalization/externalization” of constructed actions and understood by the “I” or the “other” within the socialization process [10].

If, in society, the concept of gender as a social construct was understood through a slow process, strongly influenced by feminist debates in the educational environment, sex, as one of the elements to understand the new situations of the teaching profession, was recently incorporated in the discussion. Some female researchers have been devoted to expose the fragility of research concerning the relationship gender-education, as outlined in the work of Rosemberg and Pinto [25], and further discussed by Teixeira [34] and Louro [21].

Some key issues of educational practices - such as the production of differences and sexual inequalities of gender, as well as connections with other social markers (race, ethnicity, class) - are in the midst of the academic debate. The school is a privileged socializing space, paying particular attention to how the individuals - in social relations crossed by different discourses, symbols, representations and practices - are building their identifications, (re)building their social places, their willingness, their ways of being in the world, impacting directly on the socialization trajectories of teachers [21]. This happens mainly in labor relations, as in the process of interactions and social representations of workers, partnerships are built, tested and reformulated from human interrelationships.

Nowadays, professional and social identities can be interpreted based on ways of articulation between objective and subjective transactions, because of “internal” commitments between inherited and desired identity, as well as “external” negotiations between identities assigned by others and the internalized ones. Teachers’ identities are built based on “continuity” and “break” of the objective/subjective and also external/internal transactions. The teaching identity is constructed in “[...] the ‘internal’ space of work, employment and company and the ‘external’ space out of the work, unemployment or training” ([14], p. 18).

In recent decades, many researchers have looked more attentive to the teaching practice, showing a critical overview of the academic production in Latin America. Particularly with regard to studies on teaching practice in Brazilian educational institutions, it can be said that there are many studies and they reveal how a productive restructuring reached this job.

Having searched on the theses database of The Higher Education Personnel Training Coordination (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - Capes) on topics related to the themes “teaching”, “gender and teaching”, “the situation of the teaching work”, it was possible to organize the researches and the Brazilian publications in the following areas: a) the situation of teaching practice and educational reforms: job insecurity, lack of labor contracts, workload of teachers, number of working hours, new school organization, workers’ health; b) teacher training: new skills for the job, teaching qualification, initial and continuing education; c) teaching profession and new technologies: professionalization of teaching, changes in production of goods, services and knowledge; d) teachers’ identity: new role of interaction to the contemporary world, new dimensions of citizenship, new teacher profile; e) gender relations and teaching work: gender division of labor, gender relations in elementary school, the teaching feminization, the male in the hard sciences and the female in the human sciences [2, 16, 29].

The development of research and its main results are important for the object of this study, as it shows the theoretical and methodological options applied in Brazilian research on teaching profession. Despite the thematic diversity exposed in this exploratory survey, there is a need to analyze the representations of gender in the teaching profession relations in order to bring to the academic debate new analysis of theoretical and practical perspectives.

It is necessary to highlight that this process of research in national and international journals and theses databases, combined with the search conducted at Capes database, was relevant in order to connect the macro/micro aspects related to the object of this investigation. After the analysis of the Brazilian research, it was revealed a process of building new identifications of education professionals, as well as find a large number of texts that address gender relations in teaching - as reflected in the (e) topic above [7, 23, 28, 30]. However, one of the findings is also the lack of studies that reflect the trajectories and socialization experiences of teachers, justifying the development of this research, whose aim is to analyze the trajectories and socialization experiences of teachers in order to show the importance of reflecting on the meanings attributed to work.

In order to guide the initial research process as well as further analysis here, the following questions were elaborated: How were family, training and professional trajectories of teachers at Atheneu Sergipense (a public school) built? How did those professionals start working in their careers and how do they experience the changes in daily life, from the new paradigms of work and training? To what extent are gender attributes barriers in teacher socialization processes and career paths? How do they redirect and rebuild their professional projects/upgrading and structure representations of gender in socialization experiences in the areas of work and family life?

While preparing the questions, it was considered that the professionals live in a process of human interactions, in a privileged space with temporalities that structure or disrupt their social relations. The time/space relation happens to be built through the settings of broader identities, more significant [18]. Their construction is from internal and external relations on, in which teachers participate actively when they build their professional identities as a qualification/requalification plan, which implies a professional recognition process.

2. Materials and Methods

In Social Sciences, a research object is built according to a theoretical sample of analysis, which is taken to maturation with the approximation of empiric aspects. The research is broadly built in the process of elaboration and application of theoretical concepts in a certain reality. The construction of empiric observations is also supported in the theoretical field, that is, in a direct relation between theory and practice. Thus, a sociological investigation has been herein defined as a dialogue between theory and practice [3].

The methodological option has laid on the qualitative approach, as it has been considered the necessity of a group of interpretative techniques to express the sense of social phenomena and the comprehension of meanings of human actions and relations. The qualitative research has become notable to Sociology from the Chicago School, when it has been verified the importance of qualitative investigation to the study of life of human groups, better than that, as a group of interpretative activities [11].

To analyse the meanings of social relations of teachers, they must be considered as agents in a determined social condition, who compose a certain social class or group [22]. It must be taken into account that workers have been inserted in a site of multiple meanings, in which sociocultural beliefs and values are directly affected from the elements of human interactions in the teaching work.

To this end, the case study has demonstrated to be relevant to the knowledge of concrete work situations of teachers, so that, in accordance with the plot of social relations observed, it is possible to point out elements capable of informing analyses which contribute to a better comprehension of changes in social relations of gender. The approximation of the kind of “case study” has been considered relevant to search, in representational relation, cognitive and affective mechanisms of the elaboration of social representations of male and female teaching workers. It is necessary to reflect on the importance of the research matters to the analysis of its object as the author’s arguments are important in order to make understand the “how” and “why” problems of the asymmetries of gender on everyday work and family context, as well as the placement of men and women in certain job positions [36].

The field research has been held at Atheneu Sergipense State School, located on Graccho Cardoso square, no number, São José District, Aracaju, Capital of the State of Sergipe. The choice has been made due to the fact that Atheneu School has been the first public educational establishment with regulation of secondary teaching in Sergipe, and because it demonstrates a significant male and female teaching quantitative who work on a full-time teaching activity basis. The specificities of such school – such as exclusive dedication, insertion selective process, high qualification of teachers, leading-edge technology and new competences to the teaching work – entitle the Institution as a good research site to reply to the questions herein pre-established. Moreover, the choice for that field had as a determinant criteria the heterogeneity of the group as well as the complexity of information and interactions.

Different sources of information have been consulted, aiming at producing relative knowledge to the object from the collection of data, such as: a) Questionnaires applied to the teachers at Atheneu Sergipense State School, to expand information not recorded on the School Census; data, aiming at expanding the characterization of the group profile with its general aspects (gender, age, marital status, number of children, activities executed, educational level etc.), way of insertion of those teachers in the labor market, working trajectories and education [17]. To this phase of the analysis 22 closed questionnaires have been applied (13 women and 9 men) and 16 open questionnaires (10 women and 8 men) out of 32 teachers of the Institution, as it has not been possible to reach the totality of teachers. b) Interviews: Teachers, pedagogical coordinators, Assistant Secretary, Principal at Atheneu Sergipense State School; SINTESE (teachers union) President, Director of the Education Directory of Aracaju.

The access to the respondents occurred through semi structured interviews, held with 16 teachers (eight women and eight men) in order to analyze the dialectics of the working process, through its representations. During the interviews, trajectories and representations of men and women have been approached, the objective/subjective aspects, individual and collective movement expressions, signs of a social organization historically constituted in which class divisions compose the backdrop of a plot in which differences are generated, in a dialectical complicity that benefit the construction of gender identities.

The method of content analysis is necessary and useful, as it provides elements to the qualitative analysis (organization of topics to interview analysis) and also to the quantitative analysis [1]. The fundamental aspect is to understand social relations and representation, by integrating teacher’s work and education, in a combining view in which structural matters of the capitalist society intersect, such as dimensions of culture, politics, daily life, experience, ordinary men and women stories – all inseparable dimensions.

The content analysis has the function of verifying hypothesis and/or matters. On this perspective, the following aspects have been adopted in the interviews to analyze the research problem: thematic analysis, characteristics related to the main topic, sequential analysis, opposition analysis, enunciation analysis and interview scripts.

The Ethics Committee of The Federal University of Sergipe - UFS, approved this study with Protocol nº 23113.014440/2012, taking into account the legal procedures that determine the principles of the National Health Council Resolution 196/96 on human research ethics. Also all participants signed the Free Will and Informed Consent, according to Resolution nº. 466, of December 12, 2012, from the National Health Council.

3. Results and Discussion

Concerning the schooling trajectories, it is stated that the organizational diversification of working relations demand a multifunctional professional and even more qualified due to changes in the working world, professional qualifications are factors of achievement and career mobility. The role school takes in this process is also relevant in comparison with the new requirements to the work, generating more and more expectations/pressure in the formative process of such professional, aiming at reaching a wide guarantee of insertion and permanence in working positions. Specifically for women, formal schooling configures as a determinant in the process of insertion in working positions and professional careers, as their inclusion in several sectors of labor market took place in a late stage compared with that for men, but it is also useful to expand the labor market mobility and flexibilization that ensure wider participation and professional satisfaction.

Schooling has been used by men and women as a tool of insertion, permanencies and stabilization of exclusion rights and reduction. The sense attributed to education is related to the process of socialization lived taking into account their experiences, course options, and educational time and place. Based on their declarations, it is possible to conclude that for men and women the ways covered in the primary, secondary, college and graduate schooling process are very different, observing that coincidence occurs only in female choices of educational courses and their influences [8].

By using semistructured interview in the process of collecting data, it has been possible to make the relation between interviewer and teachers more colloquial, fact that allowed to notice the narratives of their memories related to their schooling process, experienced places, through perceptions that only memories allow to express their own representations built along school trajectories of each teacher. Thus, most teachers interviewed remember that they have experienced several socialization processes, but with persons very close to their family nucleus, being influenced by patterns to school or direction to the teaching career practice, as exposed by one of the interviewed women when questioned about her initial experiences:

I got influenced by my grandmother, who used to have some education booklets, so I learned to read, I knew the alphabet, answered the other students’ textbooks, and that influenced me to study as an assistant even not being at the appropriate age to go to a public school, because at that time it was only permitted children from seven years old on. (Single teacher, 47 years old, two children, PhD, 15 years in the State Education Network).

The teacher’s declaration pictures a time in which public schools only registered in primary school from seven years old. Children who did not comply with that were obliged to wait until they got to that age or they were accepted as assistants when they had a previous alphabetical learning. The declaration also demonstrates how, at that time, the teacher had family experiences which awakened her to her educational qualification or even to her schooling ways, as some teachers argued that their families could not afford to offer an educational process of better quality, making them in some cases protagonists of their own schooling process: “[...] as I come from a humble family and my parents used to work really hard, I ended up being didactic, I learned how to read on my own. At the age of six I started my student life as an assistant, because I already knew how to read and write” (Teacher, 39 years old, Specialist, 12 years in the State Network). These testimonies lead to think that the knowledge construction of each teacher is related to the plural, temporal and spatial educational process of their living paths [12].

Some male and female narratives about schooling process pointed out several representations related to the family influence. Influences exercised by parents have been highlighted among the factors that have influenced their choice to be teachers, such as: influences of parents in the neighborhood they used to live in, as some of them were also teachers, the absence of other educational courses options, making their locomotion to other cities difficult; family interferences to guide them to a certain professional career as a possibility of local employability; and influences in the classroom from their first teachers, in the process of primary education. It has been noticed that the schooling process has been initially characterized by influences of those agents who were closer, specifically family members and their first teachers who acted in the teachers’ primary socialization places [13]. However, it is necessary to highlight the testimony of the only teacher who had socialization experiences out of the nuclear family, in the very beginning of their schooling process:

As I have been very eclectic I ended up being outstanding in the classroom, I used to read in the classroom, used to write on the blackboard and that started to motivate me. In the final grades of primary teaching, I have studied as an assistant in a boarding school in. It was a catholic school, of nuns, full of rules, and I had difficulties adapting to it because I was very extroverted, but that school granted me with a huge intellectual background. The institution was philanthropic and very required at that time, and it was reason of great happiness to be approved in the admission exams. Then, I went back to Sergipe and became the cute teacher. That is the way how I started teaching, that gave me support in order to make me define my profession, because when I was away, I have studied Industrial Chemistry, Accountancy, which granted me with background, but not professional references, nor intellectual information. (Teacher, single, 47 years old, two kids, PhD, 15 years in the State Network).

The teacher pictures a time in which there was an effervescent migration movement from the countryside to great Brazilian cities. It has been verified the importance of this migratory process to the construction of the teacher’s identifications, of the socialization sites lived in this context, mainly, her distinctive school experiences, as she has taken two technical courses before going back to the countryside in Sergipe.

The diversification of socialization sites lived by the teacher was determinant to her insertion in the teaching career, as she points out “I have changed into the cute teacher”. The “change into” of the teacher’s narrative brings a symbolism and aims at the teaching representation as a female identification. About this aspect, the public image of “the mother at that time used to place women in a valorized place in the social imagination” and that has influenced the way teachers have been connected to the role of mothers-educators.

However, it is necessary to go further, and not only highlight the identity of traditional gender as an influencing agent to the women start at teaching, but also to the educational process and activities developed by women, that expanded their horizons, in a more active discussion on their emancipation. It has been indicated that the speeches lead to the beginning of the relation recognition/valorization of the developed work, full of symbolic power, as the valorization of the developed work is an important element to the construction of professional identities and, therefore, determinants to the representations of gender inequality [8, 13].

In the arguments of the interviewed individuals, the representation of female and male roles configure from the relation between what it is pointed as traditional and what has been noticed as modern; it is possible to highlight in the narratives elements or terms considered as traditional on the narratives:

[...] what gave me legitimacy was entering the teaching as a cute teacher (highlighted) and the possibility of being the cute teacher (highlighted), I went through a teaching high school education through the Logus II Project, which was a project of public policies of teaching education. (Teacher, 39 years old, specialist, 12 years in the Teaching State Network).

Other testimonies indicate changes: “a semi present project, through modules, would attend to some classes and then go back to the teaching practice attributing new senses to learning (we highlight that) and to my own education process (we highlight that)” (Professor, 39 years old, specialist, 12 years on the State Educational Network). Thus, we might state herein that concerning the relation between traditional/modern processes there have been changes in the representation of gender, that is, in this process female and male identities have been building the social relations experienced [14, 18, 19].

In the investigated universe, it has been possible to identify that some professors began their teaching practice as “no trained teachers” and have built their educational the same time they have worked on the several beginning grades of fundamental teaching, highlighting the public policies of incentive to the education of professor in practice.

When I started in the State Network I only had technical high school education, that it, it was not a teaching technical course. This one I only developed when I was already acting as a high school teacher through a course offered by the government. Even so, I believe there is a discrepancy in public policies of education and qualification, because in addition to provide education these policies must also provide qualification so that teachers meet new demands in public education. (Teacher, 49 years old, three kids, Specialista, 17 years in the State Network).

When I started in the State Network I only had technical high school education. Later, when I entered the network, I thought of investing in my qualification. Thus, there has been a unique opportunity to me, the TQP Project (Teaching Qualification Project) from the State Government with the Federal University of Sergipe. I took the college entrance examinations to compete with State and Local Network teachers to one vacancy to the BA in Language Teaching, being approved in fifth place (Teacher, married, 50 years old, two children, Specialist, 18 years in the State Network).

It is possible to identify, in the representation of male and female narratives, their horizons of education according to their introduction in the teaching career and their process of qualification/training to the developed work, taking advantage of the opportunity of public policies of education during practice, or even autonomous investment, to improve, through registration and approval in college entrance examinations in both public and private universities.

The teachers’ testimonies reveal that the educational levels achieved have been utilized/valorized on the performance of the teaching practice, so much so that in the working relations, those who do not have the appropriate educational level are pointed out/underestimated, in a symbolical way, in comparison with their workmates who hold higher educational levels, which turns difficult their participation and experiences of socialization. It is highlighted that, in the working context, these situation problems have been tools of motivation to the improvement and efforts to the educational update during teaching practice, as narratives show that, in the working relations, the education acquired has been valorized either professional or socially, as well as the increase of possibilities of accession/progression of their career.

Right after I graduated, I took a graduate course in Portuguese Literature in a private university here in the Capital. Two years later I took my second graduate course in Linguistics at the Federal University of Sergipe, and this contributed a lot to my work of textual production. (Teacher, married, 28 years old, one kid, Specialist, four years in the State Network).

I started teaching, then I went to college and after that I took a graduate course. Concerning kinds of qualification and education courses developed in a complementary way, I have always participated in pedagogical journeys, training in the area of developed work, trainings related to the school general aspects, to the use of technology, interpersonal relations training, use of PDDE in schools, among others trainings. (Teacher, single, 37 years old, Specialist, 12 years in the State Network).

By analysing the narratives of professor, it has been possible to verify the diversity of socialization experiences in the educational trajectories, pointing out their self-evaluations in this process, the knowledge and skills acquisition, and new attitudes performed, professional recognition/valorization and improvement in equity of gender relations. It can be said that school trajectories describe the educational path, in a positive view of agents’ identifications, in which school memories are the result to their experiences. Furthermore, the different times/places experienced by men and women in their professionalization are intimately connected to the sociability and internal and external influences of the educational and professional process. In other words, the elementary ways of professional and social identifications are built from the continuity/rupture patterns [14, 32].

The professional trajectories of teachers are important as they allow the rescue of memories and meanings of “being a teacher”, on a field demarcated by well-determined working relations, as far as the school configures itself as a site of organization of the teaching work. The senses of professional memories are important so that workers build the “self- identity” in the working process, through the working direct learning, that is, in the acquisition of practical knowledge by the direct experiences of the “know-how-to do” [14, 32].

Teachers’ narratives point out different professional paths, backgrounds and experiences among men and women in the teaching work. On one hand, men indicate that their professional experiences started through admission in the teaching career, building their professional identifications as far as they experienced working relations and their initial schooling, and during the exercise of work, as it may be identified in the argument of one of the interviewed men: “[...] listen, I entered the State Network through direct public contest, I did not have another experience as a contract” (Teacher, single, 47 years old, two kids, PhD, 15 years in the State Network). On the other hand, all women interviewed stated that they have experienced many situations as “hired teachers” in kids education and initial grades of primary school, some of them very young, influenced by their families and due to economical need.

When I started as a teacher, I did not know what was to be a teacher; I did not even know what was to work in a cultural, ethical perspective and nor how to step in a classroom; if I could or could not wear short pieces of clothing, because I have Always been very eclectic, jovial; as I used to find myself very pretty, I used to wear short outfits, calling students’ attention, being called by the coordination of the institution to be advertised about how to act as a teacher. It was a featureless way of calling my attention, but at that time that was important to my career. After that, I started my studies and, by being inserted in the teaching field, I was a lot more aware of the meaning of being a teacher to students, and I started to act more carefully concerning several aspects. But at that time, I have been very happy when I started working; I was very young, happy, used to work full-time, even used to serve students’ snacks. I felt as if I was the center of everything at that time because I was loved by everyone. (Teacher, single, 47 years old, two kids, PhD, 15 years in the State Network).

Teachers’ professional trajectories, although with different starting points, have their educational time associated to the working period, that is, mobilized, acquired and built knowledge in the schooling process and during their professional trajectories have been fundamental to the performance of school practice and to the conquest of new professional horizons. Specifically, women highlight the importance of first experiences of hiring to their professional insertion and to the beginning of construction of an identification with the teaching career, giving relevance to the approximation with school practices (classroom context, students, planning, activities) to attribute senses and meanings to the rhythm of teaching exercise [24, 33]. Therefore, female representations related to those experiences show redefinitions of their own teaching practices, according to a time/place relation demarcated by performance/education:

I also took part in another teaching qualification course (secondary level), and at that time it was considered a specialization to primary teaching, and that meant great status at that time, to take part in this course. When I was about to finish this course, they offered a contest for teachers to the state Network, and due to this diploma, to this education, to this life background, I have been approved in the public contest and nowadays I already know how difficult it is to pass the exams of a public contest, mainly because many people who graduated with me could not pass the exams, and I lost contact with them. (Teacher, married, 50 years old, two children, Specialist, 18 years in the State Network).

I had already had teaching experience in a private school, 4th grade. When I arrived at the State Network from the public contest, I have been questioned about my previous experience, and that is why they placed me as a 4th grade teacher, that is, I believe they valorized my skills and experience with this grade. (Teacher, single, 37 years old, Specialist, 12 years in the State Network).

As for the relation between acquired education and previous professional occupations and experiences, narratives highlight the importance of knowledge to the admission in the State Network, identifying in these trajectories skills and competences learning, as well as the sense of recognition/valorization. Previous professional experiences “guide and qualify women to their insertion in the labor market, where the transfer of learned skills and knowledge takes place together with their technical competences” [8]; however, besides, they represent the connection between interactions and experiences at work as determinants to professional choices and identifications.

Women reveal that initial experiences in kids and primary education are relevant to the practical and intellectual growth, as well as to the progression in their performances in secondary education, as far as they qualify during teaching exercise, some teachers have took over pedagogical coordination and direction positions in school units.

Men’s experiences, concerning performance/schooling process have also been verified, in a smaller extent, as their professional trajectories started through public contests, some of them with the minimum educational level for teaching exercise. Female trajectory reveals the beginning of a professionalization with more difficulties, such as the accumulation of working hours, excessive number of students in the classroom, low salaries, lack of autonomy, lack of pedagogical material, great number of subjects, lack of technical qualification, relationship with other teachers and staff, difficulties of harmonization between work/family.

These characteristics of initial trajectories of female teachers have described a process characterized by a low value given to work and to female workers, and how they have elaborated strategies to overcome those barriers and have built their professional identification. Therefore, the teaching “knowledge” and the “do” are connected, based on the representations of professional trajectories of teachers, as their professional experiences have concretized, as far as their schooling processes developed during the teaching exercise[8, 13].

In the narratives about family trajectories, it has been noticed that teachers consider the articulation between public and private as places of playing male and female roles, intensely marked by dichotomies, such as fights/victories, tradition/modernity, resistance/advance, frustrations/achievements, still connected to patriarchal relations. However, new perspectives of these representations of male and female roles have been revealed through their own trajectories, particularly with female insertion and performance in the educational field, expanding their schooling process during teaching exercise, and questioning the ways male and female roles have been represented by society.

Some female teachers highlight the importance of first work opportunities and the schooling process during teaching exercise as determinants to the questioning of family relations, which reveals the attempt of demystifying female condition as favorable to pedagogical actions. The result of that, according to female narratives, was the attempt of stabilization between work/family, as far as they have been placed in the family and professional relations, and their identifications were in process of construction, through both influences.

The specificities of each teacher are determinant to understand their family trajectories. Half of eight women interviewed are single, do not have any kids and are younger than the married teachers, that is, it has been noticed a movement in delaying maternity and marriage. As for men, only two out of eight interviewed are single and do not have kids, the other six are married, have kids and are older than the single ones. Some statements show difficulties in articulate work and family, mainly regarding to their children:

Concerning my children, it was difficult when I started to work, as I had to leave them with my family, where my sisters and my mother would stay with them with a person in charge of domestic, hygiene and care duties. I had this help from my sisters, who were also teachers and cooperated to the care and education of my kids. As a justification to that, I say that I used to work three shifts (morning, afternoon and evening), being, at the same time, their mother and father. In this process, every time I could not I would ask my sisters to follow my children’s educational development, despite they have been very autonomous, responsible and dedicated to their studies since they were little kids, as if this concern was naturally part of them, do you understand! (Single teacher, 47 years old, two children, PhD, 15 years in the State Education Network).

The female teacher indicates to social relations in the family sphere, showing difficulties to the harmonization of the relation place/time to the development of activities held at work and in the family, as the female time is diversified to the accomplishment of duties inside the working place and inside the family context, hence the need of delegating duties to family members and other people [12, 31]. Therefore, it is inferred that the diversity of characteristics and attributes of teachers configure the family trajectories, contributing to the construction of professional identifications, as it is believed that socialization experiences, options, decisions, ruptures and continuities influence the representations of the meanings of work and family for both men and women in the teaching career.

4. Conclusion

It has been observed that the trajectories and diversity of socialization experiences of teachers are relevant to the analysis of social relations of gender on the teaching work field, as far as in the life trajectories of teachers the senses and meaning of work are configured, privileging its ways of production/reproduction in the socialization places and in the relation among education/work/family context.

Based on that, schooling trajectories have been used by both men and women as tools of insertions, permanencies, rights stabilization and reduction of exclusions. Nevertheless, it is relevant to mention that the process of construction of knowledge of each teacher occurs in a plural, temporal and spatial formation based on living paths, and they point out the representations of masculinities and femininities from the relation between what is indicated as traditional and what has been noticed as modern. In other words, it can be said that school trajectories describe the formative path of men and women in a positive/negative view of identifications, in which schooling memories are the result of their experiences and represent male and female speeches.

The professional trajectories describe the process of “becoming” a teacher in a field demarcated by social relations and configure the organization of the teaching work. Therefore, from the narratives, it can be inferred that the professional paths, background and experiences of men and women are different until they are seen inserted in the Atheneu Sergipense School, as men indicate that their professional experiences have started from admission in a public contest to the teaching career. On the other hand, women describe their experiences in several teaching phases/grades before entering the permanent teaching board in the State Teaching Network of Sergipe, as well as through experiences of relations of deregulated working contracts.

About family trajectories, it has been observed that although the articulation between public and private as sites of representation of male and female roles is still connected to patriarchal relations, new perspectives of such representations are emerging from both men and women trajectories, particularly through the female insertion and performance in the educational field. The diversity of characteristics of teachers have been demonstrated as relevant to the configuration of these family trajectories, as far as their socializations, decisions, ruptures and continuities influence the representations of working and family senses for both men and women.


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