Burnout, Demoralization, and Racialized Failures to Recognize Teachers as Moral Subjects

Authored by: Doris A. Santoro

Handbook of Philosophy of Education

Print publication date:  October  2022
Online publication date:  October  2022

Print ISBN: 9781032000053
eBook ISBN: 9781003172246
Adobe ISBN:


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Demoralization has been described as teachers’ inability to access the moral rewards of their work. Demoralization has also been characterized as a form of job dissatisfaction. This chapter argues that using the term “dissatisfaction” to describe demoralization might perpetuate demoralization by diminishing the moral significance of teachers’ work. It builds a case that characterizing the normative concerns of teachers merely as a form of dissatisfaction, even when modified by the term moral, could contribute to the trivialization of substantive troubles in accessing the moral rewards of their work. It also argues that the language of dissatisfaction fails to capture the depth of experience that occurs when educators fail to be recognized as moral subjects, especially for racialized reasons.

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