Philanthropic emotional work: Papering over the cracks of unprecedented public education reform

Matías Sanfuentes, Matías Garretón, Juan Pablo Valenzuela, Rocío Díaz, Claudio Montoya

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

1 Cita (Scopus)


Chile is undertaking an ambitious public education reform, re-centralising the administration of municipal schools in larger territories. This reform is unprecedented, both for the size of the new intermediate-level services (Servicios Locales de Educación Pública) and the escalation of their bureaucratic complexity, facing widespread organisational problems that cause high stress and labour suffering. We argue that improving emotional working conditions is necessary to accomplish pedagogical goals, but this dimension has received little attention. This article presents a follow-up study focused on school principals and professionals’ emotional and occupational experiences that have worked in the initial two-and-half years of one of the first Servicios Locales de Educación Pública created in the country. The qualitative analysis of interviews reveals how they make sense of organisational dilemmas while crafting solutions for facing structural shortcomings of new institutions. We understand their extraordinary commitment as ‘philanthropic emotional work’, driven by genuine care for children and the nation's future. However, in this effort, they also experience labour suffering and work overload, which may compromise their well-being and the long-term accomplishment of this reform's goals. These observations highlight the need for a reflexive improvement of this reform, recognising emotional work as a valuable resource but unsustainable without appropriate institutional support.

Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)230-252
Número de páginas23
PublicaciónEducational Management Administration and Leadership
EstadoPublicada - ene. 2024


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