The image of the teacher profession

Nana Maanu

Student thesis: Master thesis


The focal point of the master thesis at hand is to understand and look into the ongoing sensemaking process and construction of meaning about the Danish municipal primary and lower secondary school in the general public. The teacher profession (an overall concept for both the teacher training and the teacher job) is much debated in the media and school teachers are often criticized for not being sufficiently qualified to educate our next generations. The university colleges are having difficulties in attracting competent students to the teacher training, and the ratio between the number of applicants to the municipal school teacher education and the full number of applications to all higher education institutes has decreased 32% from 2005-2010, whereas the universities experience a 12% increase. I am interpreting these deselections of the teacher profession as deliberate actions resulting primarily from profession’s image. Hence, the fundamental foundation and basic assumption that the teacher profession has a poor image emerge. This naturally leads to the hypothesis that there exists a proportional coherence between the poor image of the teacher profession and the negative publicity that creates a negative self-reinforcing process and the majority of the deselection of the teacher training and the MPLS in general from which the problem statement is formulated. Based on empirical collected data, such as desk research, interviews and a comprehensive newspaper and tabloids articles research (402 articles in total), I have conducted an investigation of the macro-environmental factors and identified how political, economical, societal and technological factors have an impact on the teacher profession and how this is further related to the construction of image in the general public. Moreover, the analysis is complemented by Weick’s sensemaking perspective as theoretical frame and actor network theory. To this end, it is intriguing that the MSTs and the young education seekers consider the teacher act a rewarding job. There is a match between what the teacher profession represents and what they seek in a future job, when they characterize the profession. However, the young still do not want to become MSTs as a result of what they hear and read in the media. Consequently, I define the media with their news dissemination as primary actors in the social construction of the teacher profession’s image.

EducationsMSc in Strategy, Organization and Leadership, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages158