Precarious Employment, Supply Teaching and Mental Health

Nearly 15% of the Welsh teaching workforce in Wales work in schools as ‘casual workers’ in precarious employment.  What is the impact of precarious employment on the mental health of these supply teachers?  And what further ‘knock on’ effects does precarious employment have on the school and its children?

I searched via my university’s academic library and easily found several articles that linked mental health problems with precarious employment.  I have cut a few quotes from 9 studies and put the excerpts and article references in the PDF document below.

School children learn emotional self-regulation skills in the classroom in the presence of a healthy, emotionally self-regulated adult.   If a member of staff is dysregulated and stressed-out through the demands of the role and the anxieties caused by precarious employment this makes the classroom an unhealthy place to be.

School children need consistent care from healthy teaching staff to create a secure base for learning.  Low paid teaching staff employed on a casual basis in conditions of precarious employment do not themselves have a secure base… therefore they are not in a position to offer it to learners.   It seems to be so obvious, but it is worth stating that we need joined up thinking from the Welsh Assembly.    In the National Assembly’s Children, Young People and Education Committee’s Mind over Matter reportit was argued a ‘step change’ was needed in the provision of emotional and mental health support for young people.   An educational system in Wales that employs an increasing number of teaching staff in precarious employment undermines that vision for the future.

Comments appreciated.  

precarious-employment-document-1

 

Autoethnography as Pot Noodle

Trying to avoid writing autoethnography as the academic equivalent of a Pot Noodle.  I want something intellectually nutritious, filling and fulfilling.  

I am also mindful of the risks of autoethnography becoming part of a narcissistic navel-gazing ‘selfie’ culture, becoming ‘mesearch’ instead of research,   and self-aggrandizement.

Autoethnography as Pot Noodle

 

Researcher as a Zombie

Zombie

I am haunted by the image of the half-dead, Zombie researcher, regurgitating  conventional, humanist research methodology.  Going through the motions of efficacy but not showing any emotions.  Or voice.

Over the years I’ve been socialized into a positivist research practice that suffocates me.  I recently re-read some academic writing I’d completed and it felt like I was reading the work of another writer.  It was dissociative and disembodied, the vain clunking steps of a dancing marionette.

Making good use of the things that we find

I can’t help thinking of Elisabeth Beresford‘s Wombles and the Wombling Song when considering bricolage as a research methodology, in particular these two lyrics fragments : 

Making good use of the things that we find [1]

Pick up the pieces and make them into something new [2]

[1] Theme of creating, recycling, serendipity

[2] Theme of creating, repurposing, tinkering, assemblage

Lyrics for The Wombling Song (1973) by The Wombles 

Underground, overground, Wombling free
The Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we
Making good use of the things that we find
Things that the everyday folks leave behind

Uncle Bulgaria, he can remember the days
When he wasn’t behind the times
With his map of the world
Pick up the papers and take them to Tobermory

Wombles are organised, work as a team
Wombles are tidy and Wombles are clean
Underground, overground, Wombling free
The Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we

People don’t notice us, they never see
Under their noses a Womble may be
Womble by night and we Womble by day
Looking for litter to trundle away

We’re so incredibly utterly devious
Making the most of everything
Even bottles and tins
Pick up the pieces and make them into something new
Is what we do

Underground, overground, Wombling free
The Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we
Making good use of the things that we find
Things that the everyday folks leave behind

Written By – Mike Batt & Chris Spedding

Autoethnography in Qualitative Inquiry – Ellis & Bochner 2010

Carolyn Ellis and Arthur Bochner on Autoethnography.    “We Can Tell You Stories: Politics, Pleasure and Pain in Qualitative Inquiry” The Fourth Israeli Interdisciplinary Conference of Qualitative Research February 17-18, 2010 Ben-Gurion University of the Negev