ABSTRACT

If we look back at the stories from Highlander and Rancho,' and particularly from Oak Valley, where moving teachers between subjects is vividly recalled as a punitive device, we can begin to understand why a chemistry teacher might take on 200 students rather than a course in math. What the teachers there know is that such moves have had profound consequences, not only for individual teachers but for the department, and the profession, as a whole. They cut teachers off from their dosest and most valued colleagues, and weaken the ability of the group to form a cohesive whole; they undermine the department's (and the faculty's) right to make decisions and ability to command resources; they confront teachers with new texts and unfamiliar ways of thinking, threatening their professional competence. What reverberates most dearly in the chemistry teacher's statements is that they violate teachers' subject-specific sense of who they are and what they do.