'All things to all people': Indigenous teachers in the Australian teaching profession.

Ninetta Santoro, Jo-Anne Reid

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    35 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper reports on the findings of a four-year study that seeks to understand the experiences and career pathways of Indigenous teachers in Australia. We present data obtained from in-depth interviews with current and former teachers in order to provide a qualitative account of what lies behind demographic trends in Indigenous teacher recruitment and retention in Australia. The paper highlights the expectations of school and wider communities that Indigenous teachers will be 'all things to all people' and will fill a number of complex and sometimes conflicting roles within and beyond classrooms. We speculate that these expectations contribute to their decisions to resign from the school system to work elsewhere. We also introduce and problematise the notion of 'The Indigenous Teacher' as a category in the consciousness of teachers, administrators and other participants in the discourses of Australian schooling.We conclude by arguing the need for non-Indigenous student-teachers to be better prepared to work alongside Indigenous colleagues and to take more active roles in the implementation of policy and initiatives around Indigenous education. The paper also raises implications for the recruitment and retention of Indigenous teachers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)287-303
    Number of pages17
    JournalEuropean Journal of Teacher Education
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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