More Than a Teacher: Understanding the Teacher-Learner Relationship in a Public High-School in South Africa

  •  Leza J Soldaat    


Teaching is considered a caring occupation due to the nature of the interaction between teachers and learners (Hocschild, 1983). Care giving can be a demanding task, however, emotional labour invested in the occupation – with regards to their relationships with learners – contributes to job satisfaction, commitment and be emotionally rewarding. The proximity or distance of these relationships are dependent on five emotional geographies, namely socio-cultural, moral, professional, physical, and political relatability (Hargreaves, 2001). This paper draws on a case study of teachers at a former Model C high-school in South Africa to examine the formation and development of relationships formed between the teacher and learner. The article suggests that teachers adopt three additional roles outside that of teaching. These roles, the coach, counsellor, and parental figure, foster emotional understanding (Denzin, 1984) between the teacher and learners, which creates a positive classroom climate. These roles are deemed necessary for the fulfilment of successful relationships with learners. However, there are challenges which teachers face when attempting to develop these bonds with learners, which include a negative classroom climate, socio-cultural distance, and sexual harassment – faced by women teachers.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-0526
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-0534
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: semiannual

Journal Metrics

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1. Google-based Impact Factor (2021): 1.11
2. h-index (December 2021): 29
3. i10-index (December 2021): 87
4. h5-index (December 2021): N/A
5. h5-median (December 2021): N/A