Hiring the ‘quality’ teacher: Analysing advertisements for teachers across sectors

Year: 2019

Author: Stacey, Meghan

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The figure of the teacher has taken on particular significance in recent years, across both academic and policy platforms. The relatively recent requirement for all teachers to be accredited according to the national teaching standards is just one example of what seems to be a growing concern with who teachers are, and what they do. At the same time as this focus on the role and significance of the teacher has evolved, debates around the inclusion of different populations – both students and teachers – within separate school sectors have taken place, for instance in the 2018 controversy regarding discrimination in religiously-affiliated schools. Questions of inclusion within schools and school systems are particularly significant in Australia given its wide and complex quasi-market structure. In this presentation, I consider how the market-oriented system of schooling in NSW may be reflecting and (re)shaping understandings of who teachers are and should be. To do this, I present emerging data from a study of advertisements for teachers across the public, Catholic and independent school sectors in NSW. Multi-modal discourse analysis is used to bring analytic attention not only to the written word but also other aspects such as visual and sonic elements. Through this methodological approach I explore how schools and school systems construct, intentionally or otherwise, images of the ‘good’ or ‘quality’ teacher for their site or system. This approach enables the exploration of how different schools help to build understandings and images of teachers and teaching in relation to that school’s placement within, and active creation and maintenance of, distinction within the market.