This article examines challenges experienced by teachers of asylum-seeking pupils in Sweden, where the right to education is part of a policy of promoting “normal life” during the asylum process. A theoretical framework contributed a deepened understanding of the teachers’ experiences as street-level bureaucrats. Interviews indicated that institutional factors, lack of training, and insufficient support within the educational system constrained the teachers’ work. They developed strategies for dealing with the dilemma of being impeded in providing education equivalent to that of resident pupils but still struggled with how the asylum process affected classroom work. They were sidelined by a lack of control over the asylum decision, processed outside school. This was a source of moral distress and an additional workload, as catering to asylum-seekers’ needs was left to their discretion. Conflicting goals of educational and immigration policy thus conditioned their work and risked undermining the compensatory pedagogical task.

DOI: 10.1080/00313831.2017.1324900
ISSN: 0031-3831