Occasional teachers' work engagement : professional identity, work-related learning and access to the profession and to daily work
This study explores how occasional teachers engage in their work. In particular, it considers how the hierarchical organizational arrangements that organize their work shape the ways in which they view themselves and learn about and access their work. For the purposes of this study, occasional teachers are considered those teachers who are employed in non-permanent teaching positions and substitute for full-time, permanent teachers when the latter are absent from their classrooms. Many differences exist between occasional and permanent teaching, but little is known about these differences and about contingent work of this sort in the field of education. This study addresses this knowledge gap.The study employed a qualitative research methodology. Eighteen hour-long, semi-structured interviews with occasional teachers (15) and others (3) familiar with their situation were conducted, and sixteen local collective agreements were analyzed. The data were organized around occasional teachers' work engagement within the context of an internal teacher workforce hierarchy that shapes their professional identity, work-related learning, and access to the profession and to daily work. Findings indicated that changes in work arrangement encouraged by post-Fordist practices contributed to a hierarchical workforce differentiation. This played out in the way occasional teachers and others perceived them, in the way in which they engaged in work-related learning and in the manner in which they were able to access daily work. Occasional teachers took on an identity that was less valued than that of full-time, permanent teachers; not all occasional teachers in the study had the same access to work; and much of the occasional teachers' work-related learning concentrated on strategies to gain access to work and for successful teaching in the classroom. Findings also indicate that understanding occasional teachers' work engagement requires attention to the social context of their work, that is, the structure and culture of the institutions in which they work.
Citation of this paper:
Pollock, K. (2008). Occasional teachers' work engagement : professional identity, work-related learning and access to the profession and to daily work. [Doctoral Dissertation, University of Toronto]. https://search.library.utoronto.ca/details?6846131