“I never feel like I’m doing my job properly, I never feel like I’m doing my job”: The remote school, the market, and the early-career teacher

Year: 2016

Author: Stacey, Meghan

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This presentation draws on data from a larger research project investigating the relationship between marketization of schooling and the experiences of early-career teachers in their places of work. In this paper, one case out of nine will be explored: a very particular case, that of a teacher working in a remote school with an almost entirely Indigenous student cohort and an ICSEA below 700. This teacher was working on a temporary contract, was the only teacher of their subject in the school, was relatively new to teaching and had been working in a range of schools on short-term contracts – or in a casual capacity – since graduating. While the difficulties in staffing schools across our vast country are not new, this case explores how processes of marketization, including devolved approaches to teacher employment, can interact with the development of early-career teachers and have impacts even beyond these individuals for schools and communities more broadly. To further unpack this, Bourdieu’s concepts of field and habitus (Bourdieu, 1981; Wacquant, 1989), and the theory of capitals (Bourdieu, 2002), are drawn upon, and Ball’s (1993) notion of second-order policy effects is invoked in an attempt to contribute to the field of ‘policy sociology’. Through this it is argued that competition between schools and between teachers for schools can lead to inexperienced teachers working in unstable employment capacities and in contexts which, simultaneously, make significant emotional, intellectual and socio-cultural demands of their teachers and, as a corollary of this, have limited scope to provide their staff with the kind of support that they need. This in-depth examination of the experiences of one such teacher – working beyond their habitus, often feeling unsuccessful in doing so, and unable to access the support required to improve their situation – is used to highlight such issues. ReferencesBall, S. J. (1993). What is policy? Texts, trajectories and toolboxes. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 13(2), 10-17. doi: 10.1080/0159630930130203Bourdieu, P. (1981). Men and machines. In K. Knorr-Cetina & A. V. Cicourel (Eds.), Advances in social theory and methodology: Toward an integration of micro- and macro-sociologies (pp. 304-317). MA: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Bourdieu, P. (2002). The forms of capital. In N. W. Biggart (Ed.), Readings in economic sociology. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers Ltd.Wacquant, L. J. D. (1989). Towards a reflexive sociology: A workshop with Pierre Bourdieu. Sociological Theory, 7(1), 26-63.