The Work and Lives of Teachers


WOOCS 2.1.9


Rosetta Marantz Cohen

A Global Perspective

The Work and Lives of Teachers offers a simple but original argument: that the cultural attitudes toward the teaching profession measurably influence how students perform. Cohen uses both ethnographic portraits and personal accounts from thirteen teachers – from Finland, Taiwan, Greece, Azerbaijan, France, Chile, South Africa, Siberia, Brazil, Romania, Philippines, Norway and the United States – to explore the meaning and value of teaching worldwide. This study includes the ways in which teachers in these countries are educated, recruited, compensated, and perceived by parents, students, administrators, and the culture at large. Teachers’ voices, so rarely heard in international educational studies, are front and center here, highlighting the daily work in the classroom and the pleasures and struggles of engaging in the teaching profession in 2016. The lesson, briefly stated, is that societies are only as good as the people who teach in them.

  • Features the voices of real teachers, across thirteen countries
  • Provides a qualitative resource for understanding international comparisons in education
  • Proposes a new theory that links cultural attitudes toward teachers to student achievement

Additional information




Cambridge University Press

Publication date

January 2017