Recent education reform efforts, such as school closings, have encouraged teachers to mobilize in protest. Various emotions will motivate activism, accompany activism, and evolve during the activism itself. Michalinos Zembylas' (2006) theory on the politics of emotions describes how emotions influence the "power relations, resistance, and transformation" of education. Zembylas' (2010) theory of spaces for coping aimed to "identify the spatiality and politics of emotional relations and understanding of teachers' responses to educational reform." This qualitative study seeks to examine the emotional influences that shape how teachers from the Chicago Public School (CPS) district define, become involved in, and respond to activist efforts. The sample consists of four teachers, ranging in age from 28-54 years old, who participated in voluntary in-depth interviews. The interview questions focused on their personal definitions of activism, their involvement with activism efforts in Chicago, and the emotions that motivated and changed their activism in response to the CPS teachers’ union’s strike and school closings. Preliminary results support Zembylas' theories on the politics of emotions and spaces for coping, further indicating that emotions are not only essential to the evolution of activism among teachers but they are socially and politically charged. Three main themes emerged from the collected data: (1) Anger & Fear, (2) Joy & Unity, (3) Hopelessness & Resignation. This study is not generalizable to all CPS teachers; however, it identifies some emotional motivators that may be key to understanding the mobilization of and educational reform efforts of teacher activists.
Emotions, Teacher Activism, Teachers Unions, School Closings
Mitchell, Darriellé S., "Darriellé S. Mitchell - Emotional Motivators that Influence Teacher Activism: Chicago Public School System Strike and School Closings" (2013). Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program 2013. 5.