Systemic vulnerability of schoolteachers: a scoping review to compare the systemic pressures faced by teachers in countries with and without a totalitarian past
Introduction. The systemic vulnerability that teachers experience is influenced from pressures arising from ecological environments originally described by Bronfenbrenner (1979). The pressure on teachers has its peculiarities in countries with a totalitarian past and without it. Regardless of cultural context, pressure effects many teachers’ ability to be comfortable with the demands of their daily tasks, and their willingness to feel proud of their profession. Therefore, identifying factors of systemic vulnerability of teachers in different contexts and levels of social environment is relevant.
The aim of the study is to evaluate publications that reveal systemic factors of schoolteachers’ vulnerability with the help of Scoping review.
Methodology. Initially, 4,810 publications from four databases (Scopus, ERIC EBSCO, PsycINFO, and Web of Science) were involved. At the stage of full texts’ analysis 22 articles were considered. The research presents a wide range of geographical regions, which indicates the degree of generalization in conclusions about the sources of systemic pressure on teachers in different countries.
Results. In this article, for the first time, the factors of systemic vulnerability of teachers at the micro-, meso- and macro-levels of social environment are highlighted. Societal and cultural expectations are the biggest sources of pressure on the macro-level. Pressures on the macro-level may affect the micro-level, that is, for the psychological well-being of teachers, since they themselves are a part of the cultural and societal systems. This can contribute to “self-imposed” pressure by teachers that has not been the focus of research until now. Parents and the school environment are the biggest sources of pressure on teachers at the meso-level. Much of the conflict between parents and teachers is stimulated by opposing views of what a ‘good education’ means. Government overregulation of work conditions, requirement to maintain responsibilities other than teaching, pressure from administrators, insufficient levels of wages and resources of the education system, heavy school workload, insufficiently developed curriculum are sources of systemic pressure on teachers. Lack of public control over school administration’ decision-making and lack of autonomy of educational institutions correlates with political and governmental pressures. Burdensome governmental pressure whether due to reform, policy change, or cultural expectations related to political past forms the social representation of the teacher as having a low professional status, as well as social ideas about mismatch between teacher actions and the expectations of society. The great consensus of research on the sources of systemic vulnerability extends to the countries of Eastern Europe and China that were associated with totalitarianism, as well as to the countries of Western Europe with a strong democratic tradition. Since pay is a determinant of social status, the substantially lower salaries of teachers in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe may be a driving factor behind the prevailing negative perception of their status among Eastern European teachers. The lack of clear differences between factors that cause vulnerability of teachers beyond pay may be explained by the international decline of the status of the teaching profession.
The limitations of this study are the lack of publications on systemic pressure on teachers at the micro-level and on pressure relief factors.
Social consequences and practical significance. The policies to mitigate systemic vulnerability will need to be highly contextualized. Research questions that reveal meso- and macro-level factors can be used for re-Scoping Review, as they point to teachers' systemic vulnerability.
Future work. Future research should focus on ways that parent teacher relationships can be strengthened to a point of healthy co-addiction