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Management of the Work-Family Interface. Why Are the Practices of French and Spanish Teachers Different?

Julie Jarty

This paper proposes a reflection on the differentiation of how the linkage between work and life is experienced among French and Spanish secondary school teachers, through the analysis of the occupational group structure and its professional ethos. Enriched with life narratives, this paper focuses on two ways of being a teacher, with very different consequences in terms of time management and gender relations. In France, temporal autonomy is based on a “professional culture » that favours quality-based individual career paths. This is a standard that promotes a limited presence of teachers within educational establishments, for women in particular, thus facilitating (female) family-centred time management. In Spain, the boosting of the multipurpose teacher, whose roles include that of a vector of knowledge and culture, an educator and an administrator, promotes team work and longer schedules within the workplace. The consequence of such demands is often the working out of innovative gender and family arrangements, more specifically if one is looking for career advancement.