Problematic policy constructions of the purpose of education implicate professional identities and working conditions of professionals working with the youngest children. This paper builds on our earlier writing, to contest teacher professional identities in Australia, Ireland, Denmark and the United States of America, to illustrate the crucial importance of contextualised policy landscapes in early childhood education and care. It uses prevailing policy constructions, power imbalances and tensions in defining teacher identities, to ask crucial questions, such as what has become of the professional ‘self’. It questions the fundamental ethics of care and encounter, and of worthy wage and other campaigns focused on the well-being of teachers when faced with a world-wide crisis. The cross-national conversations culminate in a contemporary confrontation of teacher identity and imperatives in increasingly uncertain times as evolving in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Early childhood teachers
- early childhood education
- teacher professional identity
- transnational policy
- policy futures in early childhood education and care