Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Education




Dr. Katina Pollock


This mixed-methods study explored the volunteer work of newly-certified, unemployed teachers in Ontario by asking the research question: How do newly-certified, unemployed teachers understand their volunteer work in schools? Quantitative data pertaining to unemployed volunteers and their volunteer behaviour from the National Survey of Learning and Work was analyzed using descriptive statistics in order to provide context for qualitative interviews. Six newly-certified, unemployed teachers completed a semi-structured interview that asked about volunteer tasks, learning, and access to teaching. Findings demonstrated that volunteer-teachers perform a wide range of tasks, engage in informal learning that is both volunteer-related and job-related; and perceive that volunteer work helps them gain access to teaching through growing a professional network and providing insight into the hiring process. Furthermore, how teachers understand their volunteer work is differentiated, seemingly dependent on having previously paid teaching work and pre-existing relationships in a school community. Recognition of a distinct type of volunteer work in the contemporary Canadian volunteer landscape is also presented. Policy and practice implications include disseminating this information for aspiring and unemployed teachers in Ontario, as well as recognizing the adult learning that takes place at the site of volunteer work.