Drawing from our own and others' research over the past decade and a half, we present four “readings,” each illuminating a different dimension of women educators' career development, particularly their movement into work beyond the classroom. The majority of the participants in our studies are women who work for change in their classrooms, schools, and district organizations, using the opportunities, vehicles, and channels available—or apparent—to them. They do this work in professional and personal contexts that are continually changing, sometimes as a result of their own choices and actions and sometimes not. While there is a growing body of literature on women's movement into, and their lives in, educational administration, we are concerned here with the broader and more varied manifestations of leadership beyond the classroom. In the four readings, we bring together several strands in the literature on women educators' lives and careers. We first lay out the taken‐for‐granted oppositional contrasts in the educational discourses that have tended to obscure more complex understandings of work lives and careers. Next, we explore how the particular kinds of work available to women actually encourage some to move beyond narrow conceptions of the distinctions between classroom and nonclassroom work. Third, we discuss the developmental nature of individual career paths. Fourth, we note the spatial and temporal nature of leadership work by showing how it is influenced and changed by greater economic, social, and political forces. We believe that these multiple interpretations are required to understand the range and combination of influences that propel and compel women educators to take up various forms of leadership work beyond the classroom.
Curriculum Inquiry – Wiley
Published: Jul 1, 2001
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