Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format



Master of Arts




Martino, Wayne

2nd Supervisor

Ingrey, Jennifer C.

Joint Supervisor


This autoethnographic study entails using my own situated knowledge and experience as a white bisexual secondary school teacher from a low socioeconomic background as a basis for data generation and analysis. Attention is given to examining the current enforcement of specific norms governing behavioural and physical conduct, and the role these norms play in constructing and reinforcing hierarchical structures of identity related to race, gender, socioeconomic status and sexuality. The main question the study explores is: How does the performativity and performance of educator “professionalism” contribute to constructing/reinforcing hierarchies of identity with respect to gender, sexuality, social class and race? This study explores the idea that “professionalism” as a concept within educational institutions serves as a regulatory regime that is dictated and informed by a cisgender, white, heterosexual, male perspective, and it further examines my own experiences of such regulatory conditions.

Summary for Lay Audience

In this study I provide a reflective account and analysis of my own experiences and how I understand the concept of “professionalism” in teaching and its impact in my own life as a teacher. Specifically, I am focused on how this idea of being “professional” reflects ‘values’ of white supremacy, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, classism, and so on, in our culture. I highlight how professionalism enforces particular codes of conduct and expectations which impact in significant ways on how teachers perform their identities with significant equity implications. As such, in this thesis I reflect on some of my critical experiences in education as a teacher, and as a white, bisexual person from a low-income background to provide insight into the impact of professional codes of conduct impact on my life as a teacher in school. The main question this study is interested in exploring is: How does the teacher performing “professionalism,” as expected, further contribute to reinforcing ideas about people and their identities? (i.e., race, gender/gender identity, sexuality, class…). Further, another important question is: how does this teacher performance affect the visibility or expression of one’s own identity? This study will show that this concept can be used to reinforce particular identities and people as more ‘acceptable’ than others.