What about me?
The experience of being a junior campus teacher at a multi-campus college

Year: 2017

Author: Freeborn, Amanda

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The multi-campus model of secondary schooling has existed for close to 20 years in NSW and represents a distinct shift from the traditional years 7-12 high school structure. Despite this considerable reorganisation of public education, which occurred in the early 2000s and the fact that multi-campus colleges make up around 9% of all NSW public high schools, it is an area in which limited research has been conducted. Whilst there has been a focus on the value of senior campuses for students (Chadbourne, 2001; Kivunja, 2006; Polesel, Tesse, & O'Brien, 2001), research concentrating exclusively on junior campuses and more specifically their staff, has been mostly absent from the literature. Hence, this paper focuses on better understanding teachers' perspectives on the value of junior campuses for staff.

For this investigation, a NSW multi-campus college was selected and information was gathered through teacher questionnaires, followed by interviews with 12 junior campus teachers. Teachers, who ranged in experience from recent graduates to senior executive staff, shared their opinions regarding the value of junior campuses for their own professional careers. Interviewed teachers discussed the benefits and challenges of teaching exclusively junior high school students and provided an insight into working within the multi-campus college model.

The research findings indicate that whilst teachers at this college can see merit in junior campuses for themselves and their careers, they feel that in the long-term teaching at a junior campus may be a disadvantage professionally. Whilst beginning one's career at a junior campus was seen as advantageous, staff indicated that junior campuses had a limiting nature for future career development with one of the key implications from this study being the need for further research to ensure that junior campuses of multi-campus colleges do not become undesirable destinations for teachers who wish to advance their careers.