I am a Mercenary Now’: International Teachers as a Global Educational Precariat?


International teachers still remain an under-researched group in the field of international education (Bailey, 2015; Bunnell, 2016). They have typically been defined from a personal perspective (Garton, 2000) or in terms of fixed character types (Hardman, 2001). However, recent studies (Baily, 2015; Burke, 2015; Savva, 2015, 2017) have started to reclaim the international teacher experience by exploring the complexity of international teachers' lives. Rather than focusing on seemingly fixed characteristics, these studies show how teachers' experiences play a significant role in the construction of their professional identities in cross-cultural contexts. As part of this turn to the international teacher, Bunnell (2016) has proposed the notion that international teachers should be understood as part of an international educational precariat, a term proposed by Guy Standing (2011). The purpose of this study then is to substantiate Bunnell's thesis that international teachers are emerging as an educational precariat. It draws upon interview data from a larger study which explored the construction of international teacher identity in a Chinese bilingual school in Shanghai. In so doing, I build on Bunnell's work by offering empirical data to substantiate his claim, but also extend it by questioning the extent to which all international teachers can be said to be a part of a global educational precariat.

Author Information
Adam Poole, University of Nottingham Ningbo China, China

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2018
Stream: International Education

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon