Time for change? The emotions of teacher collaboration and reform

Amanda Datnow (Department of Education Studies, University of California, San Diego, California, USA)

Journal of Professional Capital and Community

ISSN: 2056-9548

Publication date: 9 July 2018



The purpose of this paper is to examine the intersection of teacher emotions, teacher collaboration and educational reform, particularly with respect to time, a key teacher resource that is often impacted in school change.


This paper draws upon data gathered in an in-depth, two-year qualitative case study of teacher teams in two US elementary schools. A total of 57 interviews and 102 hours of teacher team meeting observations were conducted across the two schools. The data analysis process involved several rounds of content coding of interview transcripts and teacher team meeting observation notes using MAXQDA software.


Teachers at the two schools benefitted from collaborative school structures that allowed time and space to innovate and brought joy to their professional lives. Strong professional communities served as sources of support as teachers experienced stress and frustration with reforms that created demands on their time and shifts in their teaching. Leadership played an important role in providing emotional support and autonomy to teachers, allowing teachers to flourish collectively.


This study has important implications for how researchers, policymakers and practitioners conceptualize the emotional dimension of teachers’ time in educational reform efforts. It is critical to consider whether expectations for what teachers can accomplish in collaboration are realistic in light of current working conditions. Given that emotions are at the core of teaching and the process of change, it is important to continue to explore the connections between teacher emotions and the professional capital they build in collaboration with each other.



Datnow, A. (2018), "Time for change? The emotions of teacher collaboration and reform", Journal of Professional Capital and Community, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 157-172. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPCC-12-2017-0028

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