As neoliberal education reforms spread globally, including the development of school choice pathways that create different types of schools, a reexamination of teacher professionalism may be in order. Current literature about teacher experiences with neoliberal reforms often focuses on negative aspects of organizational professionalism and managerialism, describing shifts in professionalism as stifling teacher autonomy and diminishing satisfaction through increased accountability, standardization, and supervision. However, studies often only examine single school sites and the views and experiences of veteran teachers. This study considers two novice teachers' experiences as they transition between schools, one with more traditional professional cultures and the other within the hyper-neoliberal professional contexts of 'no-excuses’ charter schools, contrasting how they interpreted aspects of professionalism, development, and satisfaction in different environments. Compared to more traditionally professional school environments, novices’ experiences with managerial approaches to teacher professionalism served to accelerate their development while having drawbacks in terms of workload and turnover. The collaboration and collegiality, bounded autonomy, and shared accountability to mutual goals at these “no-excuses” charter schools seemed to create occupational professional subcultures where novice teachers feel simultaneously challenged and supported. The paper discusses implications for reexamining neoliberal approaches to teacher professionalism, mobility, and school organization.
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