The experiences of casual relief teachers in Australian primary schools
When classroom teachers are absent for any reason, casual relief teachers (CRTs) replace them. These CRTs play a significant role in the education system to ensure that schools are adequately staffed by qualified professionals. In this thesis, I examined the experiences of CRTs in Australian primary schools using various theoretical lenses and methods of data collection. Surveys, semistructured interviews, and journal entries were used to collect data from CRTs to gain an holistic insight into their perspectives and identities. In addition, semistructured interviews were conducted with 10 executive staff to explore their role in facilitating CRTs’ professional practice. Practice architecture theory and tripartite model of self were used as theoretical frameworks to drive the data collection and analysis. A major finding from this study was that CRTs are not an homogeneous group. They have a wide variety of backgrounds and motivations for teaching on a casual basis. Some CRTs also chose casual teaching over full-time roles because of its flexibility. The findings from this study have implications for policies related to induction, accreditation, and professional learning of CRTs. The findings also suggest future research directions about how executive staff can support CRTs at their schools.