To read this content please select one of the options below:

Professional capital after the pandemic: revisiting and revising classic understandings of teachers' work

Andy Hargreaves (Lynch School of Education, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA)
Michael Fullan (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Toronto, Canada)

Journal of Professional Capital and Community

ISSN: 2056-9548

Article publication date: 27 July 2020

Issue publication date: 25 November 2020




This article revisits three classic findings from Dan Lortie's 1975 book Schoolteacher, in the context of the coronavirus pandemic and its possible aftermaths. These findings are that teachers and others base their ideas about teaching on the long apprenticeship of observation as students; they derive their satisfaction from the psychic rewards of teaching – the emotional satisfaction and feedback that teachers got from students; and they work in conservative cultures of individualism.


The article appraises Lortie's foundational text in relation to contemporary public domain surveys and op-ed articles about the impact of the pandemic on teaching and learning.


COVID-19 created conditions that undermined traditional psychic rewards, weakened the tenuous student–teacher relationship as more students found schooling less engaging, began to give parents distorted observations of teaching online and made teacher collaboration more difficult.

Research limitations/implications

Due to the current nature of the pandemic and the shortage of just-in-time original data, the research relies on rapid responses and op-ed perceptions rather than on an established body of literature and database.

Practical implications

The postpandemic agenda holds out three ways to modernize Lortie's agenda in ways that advance the presence and impact of professional capital. These ways comprise new psychic rewards for students and not just teachers, a more open professionalism that is actively inclusive of parents and collaborative professionalism that has greater strength and depth.

Social implications

Educational reform in the postpandemic age must be transformational and not seek to return to normal.


The paper gives new meaning to Lortie's original ideas on COVID-19 circumstances



Hargreaves, A. and Fullan, M. (2020), "Professional capital after the pandemic: revisiting and revising classic understandings of teachers' work", Journal of Professional Capital and Community, Vol. 5 No. 3/4, pp. 327-336.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles