• Hard work / workload: discursive constructions of teacher work in policy and practice

      Spicksley, Kathryn (Informa UK Limited, 2022-04-12)
      This paper explores contradictory constructions of teacher work across policy discourse and professional practice. It draws from a corpus-assisted critical discourse analysis of 363 political speeches published on England’s Department for Education website between 2010 and 2018, and qualitative interviews with two executive leaders working in English primary academy schools. Findings indicate a contradiction in the way that teacher work was constructed by government ministers, with hard work constructed positively as leading to improved educational outcomes, but workload negatively constructed as a problem which needed to be solved. This contradiction was echoed in school leaders’ discursive constructions of teacher work. Extending previous research on teacher workload, I raise the possibility that it is not only workload, but the requirement to navigate contradictory discursive constructions of teacher work which may cause damage to teachers’ professional identities.