The figure of the teacher in Estonian school discourse


  • Ott Puumeister University of Tartu, Estonia
  • Mirjam Puumeister Publishing House Maurus, Estonia



The article concerns itself with the figure of the teacher in Estonian society. We do not concentrate on the educational system as a whole, but on one specific and crucial element in this apparatus – the teacher. We begin by offering a brief historical overview of the conditions of pedagogues in the 20th century before moving on to describe the adoption of neo-liberal free market policies since the 1990s and the effects these policies had and still have on education. Our main concern is to understand the teacher as an actor in power relations; to achieve this understanding we have selected as our examples 1) surveillance techniques in school environment that have direct relations to the state and the market; and 2) the 2012 educational workers’ strike that made it quite clear that the teachers have been fixed to a position of wage workers. The overall and more abstract aim of the paper is to think about the social role of the teacher in Estonia.


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