Teaching as a spiritual profession; Primary School teachers' understanding of their vocation as a spiritual act.

Aidan Gillespie, Catherine Meehan

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The term ‘Vocation’ has been traditionally used within a Christian understanding of being called to serve others, be that through Pastoral Work, Health Care or Education. Examining this concept with current teachers working within a variety of primary school settings (Faith and Maintained schools) has challenged this understanding. Some teachers do place their professional practice in the framework of living out their faith whilst others understand their teaching as public service, not affiliated to or driven by religious observance. Individual responses from teachers has brought to the surface a reassessment of what it means to be ‘called to teach’ from an individualised 30 Spirituality. Teaching, it would seem, has given rise to a sense of vocation after many years of practice and this has allowed teachers in this study to reassess the ways in which they understand self, spirituality and profession. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used by the researchers to examine the responses taken from five primary school teachers currently practising in Kent. Issues arising out of this study mainly focussed on the sensitivity of the material which teachers were asked to discuss which called them to examine their beliefs and values alongside questioning aspects of their teaching practice. Professional context as well as deeply held beliefs provided fertile ground for a examining how they conceptualised their role as educators with a vocation.


ConferenceFourth International Conference of the British Association of the Study of Spirituality
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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