University of Oulu

Erkki T. Lassila, Minna Uitto & Eila Estola (2018) You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t: the tension-filled relationships between Japanese beginning and senior teachers, Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 26:3, 417-433, DOI: 10.1080/14681366.2017.1412341

You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t : the tension-filled relationships between Japanese beginning and senior teachers

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Author: Lassila, Erkki T.1,2; Uitto, Minna1; Estola, Eila1
Organizations: 1Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, Finland
2Institute for the Advancement of Higher Education, Hokkaido University, Japan
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2018
Publish Date: 2019-07-11


This article contributes to theoretical discussions about beginning teachers’ work being both relational and emotional. Specifically, we have examined the tensions that frequently characterise the relationships between beginning and senior teachers. Our research material consisted of narrative interviews with seven beginning teachers and seven senior teachers working at the same junior high school in Japan. Through thematic analysis, we have identified three categories of tensions: (1) tension between dependence and independence, (2) tension between obedience and assertiveness and (3) tension between loyalty to one’s students and loyalty to one’s colleagues. These tensions are meaningful for both beginning and senior teachers, but they view them in different ways and connect them to different expectations regarding appropriate actions and attitudes. These tensions are also related to wider cultural expectations and general principles that are often concretely realised through different practices within the micropolitical environment of a school.

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Series: Pedagogy, culture & society
ISSN: 1468-1366
ISSN-E: 1747-5104
ISSN-L: 1468-1366
Volume: 26
Issue: 3
Pages: 417 - 433
DOI: 10.1080/14681366.2017.1412341
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Funding: This work was supported by the Academy of Finland (Grant no. 265974: Disentangling the emotional dimension in beginning teachers’ work); by a Japanese government scholarship (Monbukagakusho: MEXT); and by the Finnish Cultural Foundation (Grant no. 00130492 and Grant no. 00160538).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 265974
Detailed Information: 265974 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2017 Pedagogy, Culture & Society. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Pedagogy, culture and society on 6 Dec 2017, available online: