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Wearing a cloak of invisibility: an exploration into the working experiences of female part-time teachers

Skarratt, Julie Patricia (2014) Wearing a cloak of invisibility: an exploration into the working experiences of female part-time teachers. Doctoral thesis (EdD), Manchester Metropolitan University.


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This is a multi-method (auto) ethnographical study, grounded in feminist theory which seeks to explore the working experiences of female part-time teachers in secondary education. Carried out over twelve months, it uses interviews, observations, conversations and self-exploration to document types of working experiences that six female part-time teachers have in everyday school life. It considers these experiences at three levels: structurally at a social level, at the level of the organisation of the school and on a personal level. The study shows that the everyday working experiences of the research participants were not restricted to in the moment situations, but were created in a framework that was predefined by sociocultural norms and existed beyond their control in organisational policy. Noticeably their working experiences were predominantly negative and the participants felt a sense of injustice in how they were treated when compared to their full-time counterparts. Throughout the interviews the participants vocalised the injustice they experienced personally in their work but continued to sympathise with the difficulties facing employers in managing part-time teaching staff. My findings suggest that, in their everyday working life these women experience inequalities that they take for granted as a result of common sense attitudes towards part-time workers and teaching as a profession. This thesis adds to under-researched debates on teaching and part-time employment and calls for school management to work to ensure part-time teaching staff are fully integrated into the profession, in order to bring about long term changes in practice.

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