This constructivist grounded theory study interrogates the role of the second level teacher in contemporary Ireland. This role emerges as a problematic navigation between: a passive pedagogy, an ambivalent professionalism and a frequently silenced vocational domain. The study highlights an intensified pedagogy dominated by: terminal exams, competitive accountability, limited autonomy, and a fractured relational domain in typically non - reflective learning spaces. The study also celebrates however, a deeply rooted yearning by teachers, to re-discover their vocational mission. The author argues for a more radically integrated vocational practice. He challenges teacher educators, policy makers, teachers and educational leaders to ‘attend to' the human development mission at the heart of teaching and learning. In so doing, he proposes a visionary framework to guide the realignment of educational practice in Ireland.