Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2013


This paper discusses the distinct nature of friendship between teachers. Using literature on both the philosophical study of friendship and that of professional development, I present data from a qualitative study with two elementary school teachers in New York City in order to explore how the benefits of friendship might deepen an understanding of one's work with students. While literature on professional development tends to focus on effectively designed and structured activity, this article highlights the importance of teacher amity in (a) staving off negative judgments about teacher work, (b) harnessing the freedom to create and err, and (c) cultivating the necessary trust to be vulnerable and seek counsel. Given the complexities of contemporary classrooms and the current spectacle of crisis in American education, I hope to offer a unique alternative to discussions on teacher identity and professional growth by seeing friendship as a vital form of education itself. In doing so, I argue for a re-centralization of teachers in educational discourse, recognizing the personal and private ways that teachers create and think of in-school relationships and how such relationships play influentially and uniquely in their lives as both human beings and professionals.


This article originally appeared in Teaching & Learning: The Journal of Natural Inquiry & Reflective Practice.

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