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Collection Occupational Folklife Project

Teaching in Wisconsin Classrooms

A four-member research team consisting of folklorists Anne Pryor, Mary Hoefferle, Ruth Olson and Mark Wagler from the nonprofit organization Wisconsin Teachers of Local Culture (WTLC) received a 2013 Archie Green Fellowship to document the occupational folklore and work-related experiences of 32 classroom teachers in the state of Wisconsin. As the researchers note, teaching is possibly the largest single occupation in the United States yet it remains substantially under-documented, possibly because it has historically been a predominantly female profession,.

The researchers focused on interviewing several subgroups of Wisconsin teachers: elementary art teachers, fourth- and fifth-grade classroom teachers, and teachers whose work involves more community-facing orientations and activities. The fieldworkers point out that “many archives across the country have excellent collections of teachers’ work in the form of curricula, lesson plans and other types of teaching resources, but little on the daily working lives of those who created these resources.” This collection addresses that gap.

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