TAM-arkiv mobilmeny

When did teachers become educators?

Posted on July 4, 2023 by Lars-Erik Hansen

The development of the professional role of teachers was discussed during Historikerdagarna (an academic venue aimed at professional historians) 2023.

On June 14, TAM-Arkiv participated in a seminar at Umeå University with several lectures on professional formation, identity and education. The Swedish Historikerdagar had taken the initiative. One question being: When was it that elementary school teachers began to perceive themselves as mere elementary school teachers? This was gradual change that took place sometime in the 1800s, according to Martin Andersson, a doctoral student at Umeå University. Occupational formation was the path towards increased specialization where different tasks were separated. For a long time, the elementary school teacher could be a teacher, an organist, and a bell-ringer all in one. During this time, their professional identity was fluid, for example, they could see themselves as organists and not as teachers. But in the mid-1800s, educators became teachers and nothing else. Even before the formation of Sveriges allmänna folkskollärarförening (SAF) in 1880 there were over 100 different associations throughout the country representing elementary school teachers. Sveriges Lärare who are now gathered in a federation have indeed laboured for a long time to form themselves. Isn’t it soon a 200th anniversary?

Text: Lars-Erik Hansen