Middle managers in secondary schools : rhetoric and reality
This thesis is concerned with contrasting the rhetoric and the reality experienced by teacher middle managers. A significant number of teachers interviewed in the study see this rhetoric as being generated at and promulgated from the 'centre. The thesis considers how this centrally devised rhetoric influences teacher middle managers in secondary schools. The thesis utilized a 'grounded theoryapproach. Class teachers, teacher middle managers and senior managers in two secondary schools were interviewed using semi-structured interviews. These teachers were also observed as they interacted with colleagues in both formal and informal situations. Those teacher middle managers interviewed and observed were concerned about the need to give considerable amounts of time in order to carry out the many tasks they were expected to undertake. The findings suggest that teacher middle managers perceive the public nature of teaching and consequently value the cknowledgement and approval of colleagues and pupils. The findings also suggest that teacher middle managers were keen to develop a balance between the demands made of them at home and school. Interview responses also suggest that class teachers and teacher middle managers seek certainty and control in their working lives but understand the need to compromise and develop coping strategies. Most significantly the findings suggest that teachers were seeking to hide (by using 'camouflage') from their senior managers and class teacher colleagues, the reality of their day-to-day teaching experiences. There is also some evidence that teacher middle managers are engaging in 'collusion' with class teacher colleagues and senior managers to expedite the meeting of bureaucratic 'targets' and rhetorical 'standards'.